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Reality Vs. Kdrama - Are PPL Products Actually Popular in Korea?


(Yook Sung-jae as Yoo Deok-hwa in "Goblin")

We've all been there. The dashing main lead finally asks his love interest out for a date. We're expecting the Kdrama works: flowers, romantic dinner, a moonlit walk. But...they end up at Subway. Or Papa John's. Or driving a sponsored vehicle or trying sponsored makeup products. Whatever it is, the product placement, commonly known in dramaland as "PPL", rears its head at awkward times, enducing laughter, cringes, or scratches of the head.

Yes, PPL is necessary. It funds our beloved Kdramas and keeps them replete with dazzling actors, excellent sets, and talented production staff and crew. But are these products actually common on the streets of Korea and on the shelves on brick-and-mortar stores? Or, does Kdrama make them seem much more common than they actually are?

The answer, as far as I can tell, is "Yes, they are popular", especially when it comes to things that we in Seoul and the greater Seoul area can shove in our mouths! Although it is a little disconcerting to witness the Lonely Goblin Kim Sin (Gong Yoo) and Ji Eun-tak (Kim Go-eun) develop their romance time and time again at Subway, it is not unheard of for couples, friends, and families to dine at the sub shop. We as seasoned Kdrama viewers understand the high frequency of Subway dates is owed to the global chain's sponsorship, but there are plenty of Subways to be found throughout the nation's capital and surrounding areas behind the camera. I have eaten at many locations and they're always always packed!

(Ha Ji-won as Gil Ra-im and Hyun Bin as Kim Joo-won in "Secret Garden")

Same holds true for the coffee shops frequented by couples. Coffee shop culture is live and rampant. Everyone here stops by for a cuppa somethin' or other, especially when meeting up with a friend or lover. Although the infamous foam kiss of "Secret Garden" may not be a commonplace occurance in Korea, the meeting of Gil Ra-im and Kim Joo-won at Caffee Bene is quite common. It is difficult to go a block in the hustle and bustle of Seoul without finding a coffee shop. In fact, when I went back to the USA to visit my family, I was shocked by the lack of coffee shops in comparison to the scores of coffee offerings of Seoul and the metro area!

(Ji Chang-wook as No Ji-wook and Nam Ji-hyun as Eun Bong-hee in "Suspicious Partner")

Other sponsoring businesses like Papa John's in "Suspicious Partner" are around and it's used, especially for delivery. As for makeup, these products are very easily found in many neighborhood stores or in the huge department stores that are mostly found near large subway stations. Sponsoring makeup brands are readily available for purchase. Whether or not people actually buy them is a fact unknown by this writer, but she has certainly seen (and used much of) the Hera, Lancome, Iope, Laneige, Benefit and other products that grace the faces of Kdrama's talent all over.

Thanks to Kdrama and Kpop inspired fiction author Jennie Bennett for providing the awesome idea for this week's edition of Reality Vs. Kdrama.

What would you like to see me take on next in Reality Vs. Kdrama? Let me know in the comments!

Written by: Lisa Espinosa AKA Raine from 'Raine's Dichotomy'

#Goblin #kdrama With #GongYoo #LeeDongWook #KimGoEun #YooInNa #YookSungJae #LeeEl #쓸쓸하고찬란하神도깨비 #공유 #이동욱 #김고은 #유인나 #육성재 #이엘

#SecretGarden #kdrama With #HaJiWon #HyunBin #YoonSangHyun #KimSaRang #LeePhilip #LeeJongSuk #시크릿가든 #시크릿가든 #하지원 #현빈 #윤상현 #김사랑 #이필립 #이종석

#SuspiciousPartner #kdrama With #JiChangWook #NamJiHyun #ChoiTaeJoon #KwonNara #LeeDukHwa #NamGiAe #수상한파트너 #지창욱 #남지현 #최태준 #권나라 #이덕화 #남기애

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