+ A

Beauty brands seek Korean faces

Jan 20,2005
As the “Korean wave” continues to roll across Asia, the demand is rising for Korean stars to model for major foreign companies’ pan-Asian advertisements.
Yesterday, global luxury brand firm LVMH announced actress Choi Ji-woo as the model for its Christian Dior cosmetics line in Asia, at an event held at the W Hotel in Seoul.
Beginning in March on a one-year contract, Ms. Choi will be modeling for Dior Snow Pure, a skin-care brand. A spokesman for Dior said that the Asian market is growing and that Dior had chosen Ms. Choi because of Korean pop culture’s currently strong influence in the region. He declined to disclose Ms. Choi’s fee.
“The Asian market is rising as a major axis of the global economy. Therefore, international companies have to see the market ‘through Asian eyes’ and have different marketing strategies for this region,” said Kim Jae-mun, a researcher at LG Economics Research Institute.
“Companies are naturally selecting models Asians consider beautiful, and these days Korean actresses are gaining popularity,” he said.
LVMH is not the first foreign company to use a Korean model. Japanese cosmetics brand DHC employed actress Kim Hee-seon for its advertisements in Korea last year; beginning this year, those ads will run in both Shanghai and Taiwan.
“We decided to use Ms. Kim in our advertisements for other countries because she is so popular with our customers there. In fact, surveys showed that many people in China visited our Korean Web site just to see Ms. Kim’s picture,” the company said. Last year, Ms. Kim received 1.2 billion won ($1.2 million) in modeling fees.
Japanese digital camera maker Olympus is featuring actress Jun Ji-hyun for its advertisements in China, Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia.
“In Hong Kong, a lot of people think Olympus is a Korean company because Ms. Jun is Korean,” said Jung Gwang-mi, an official at Olympus Korea.
Biotherm, an affiliate of the French cosmetics group L’Oreal, is currently reviewing plans to use singer Lee Hyolee for its Asian marketing. Ms. Lee is currently modeling for Biotherm products in Korea. According to the company, sales of its “Hyolee Lip Gloss” were 100 times higher than those of other brands, which helped the company record double-digit growth last year.
Lancome, another brand under holding company L’Oreal, appointed actress Lee Mi-yeon as its Korean model earlier this month. Ms. Lee is the first case in which L’Oreal has used a model other than its global one. Ms. Lee will receive 500 million won for a one-year contract.

by Hong Joo-yun, Wohn Dong-hee