Hollywood stars were the pinup girls in WWII. For Korea in this day and age, the equivalent of the pinup girl would be the beautiful stars who appear in... soju commercials. Soju is Korea's main liquor, a distilled spirit made from rice, potatoes/sweet potatoes, or other grains. It's called the Korean vodka, and for some reason is linked to the image of being "clean and pure", thus making it a coveted product for stars to endorse, especially for the top soju companies.
Jinro's Chamisul ads before the invasion of the soju girls
Since men are the main target consumers for soju, the models endorsing the drink are inevitably young and beautiful women, although the occasional male star would make an appearance for the growing number of women who imbibe in the nation's drink. However, this trend of actresses and singers appearing in soju ads only started in the late '90s, when major soju company Jinro featured the actress Lee Young-ae (이영애, "JSA - Joint Security Area", "Dae Jang Geum:) in their Chamisul (참이슬) campaign. Lee Young-ae was an actress on the rise, and portrayed the image that Jinro wanted when they were promoting their new ambitious brand.
Lee Young-ae was the first ever soju girl
Kim Tae-hee before she became big
Kim Ah-joong and Kim Min-jung
Ha Ji-won is one of the biggest names to endorse soju
Lee Min-jung is the current face for Chamisul
Song Hye-kyo for "J"
Sin Min-ah hits stardom as a soju girl
The newest brand on the Jinro roster is Jeulgyeochahtgi (즐겨찾기), which literally means "to bookmark" or "favorite" in your internet browser. Fresh-faced actress Park Min-yeong (박민영, "High Kick!", "Sungkyunkwan Scandal") represents the brand:
Park Min-yeong for the newest brand from Jinro
Jinro isn't the only player in the soju market. Lotte Liquor also has several brands of soju.
Lee Hyo-lee for Cheoeumcheorum since 2007
Cheoeumcheorum (처음처럼, "Like the first time"), not only features singer/entertainer Lee Hyo-lee in their print ads, but also in their TV commercials. (Video from official site. From the 2011 S/S campaign.)
Koo Hye-seon and Kim Yu-na
Of course, there is a sister brand called Cheoeumcheorum Cool (처음처럼 쿨), with another singer/actress who flaunts the product. UEE (유이), a member of the K-pop group After School is their chosen one.
Uie, known for her excellent proportions, is Cool
Lee Da-hae and her charms promote Charm
Their current model is the singer Baek Ji-young (백지영).
Baek Ji-young for Yipseju
Probably the only group of soju girls, K-pop girl group Secret sing and dance for Joeunday (좋은데이) :
Secret and their Joeunday TV ad
And of course, there are tons of soju brands by region that have their own soju girls who might not be celebrities but are as beautiful, and there's not only soju but other alcoholic beverages that the beautiful girls are promoting, but this post will never end so I'll cut it here. As for the soju girls, you'll see them online, in print, on TV, you'll see them in bars and restaurants where soju is sold, and sometimes, even at the supermarket on the corner.
Soju girls smile at your neighborhood supermarket
Source : blog.korea.net/?p=519... ( English Korean )
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