'We see benefits even if the vehicle appears only briefly during a TV drama'.
It's quite common to see high-end vehicles getting smashed up or riddled with bullets during car chases in James Bond flicks.
Luxury cars are now appearing more frequently in Korean dramas as well, though they don't take quite the beating they do in the popular spy films.
As the Korean economy rises up from the ashes of the economic meltdown, foreign and domestic car companies are clamoring to get their vehicles on popular TV shows in an attempt to boost sales. These firms are also trying to take advantage of a Korean court's conditional ruling on Oct. 29 that eases regulations on the indirect commercialization of products, including product placement in TV programs, which was heavily restricted in the past.
The German automaker Audi announced last month that it will be introducing its latest Audi S4 on the SBS television drama "You're Beautiful"
. In an upcoming episode, the vehicle is driven by actor Jang Geun-seok
, who plays a pop star named Taekyong.
The announcement surprised the auto industry, as car manufacturers typically launch new vehicles separately before they appear on TV shows.
Nissan has been one of the most aggressive car firms on this end, targeting the SBS dramas "Brilliant Legacy" ("Shining Inheritance
") and "My Fair Lady
" - which starred former K-pop singer Yoon Eun-hye
- for its high-end Infinity lines.
Mitsubishi and Peugeot are exploring this realm as well.
Mitsubishi is currently showing its Eclipse and SUV Outlander on SBS programs, while Peugeot is featuring its 308 cc HDi vehicle on a KBS drama.
At the same time, GM Korea is showing one of its luxury SUVs and its DTS sedan on an MBC drama.
"We see benefits even if the vehicle appears only briefly on television during a TV drama", said an official in the imported vehicle market who requested anonymity. "If the vehicle is seen with the right actor or actress, it creates a positive image and our vehicle receives more recognition".
Korean automakers are dipping their toes into product placement as well. Kia Motors, for instance, recently unveiled its high-end K7 sedan on the hit television series "IRIS"
By Lee Ho-jeong
Actor Jang Geun-seok
next to an Audi S4 on "You're Beautiful"
Provided by the companies