Advertisements looking to banish economic blues

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Advertisements looking to banish economic blues

On television these days, many advertisements feature songs or copy that deliver messages of “hope” to the public, especially “depressed fathers,” reflecting the seriousness of the faltering economy.
A brother and sister sing, “Daddy, cheer up! We are here for you,” in an advertisement for BC Card. A wife sings a song to her tired husband, “Come sadness or loneliness, I won’t cry,” in a Kyobo Life Insurance commercial.
In an ad for Bek Se Ju, an alcoholic beverage, a man says to his friends, “This year was tough for you guys, but next year will be better.” At the end of the commercial, a woman cheerfully says, “Stand up straight.”
In a GM Daewoo promotional spot, celebrities talk about how they endured difficulties in their lives. Popular teenage singer BoA says, “When I was 12, I learned that crying makes me weak.” Model Kim Min-cheol comments, “Everyone thought I was crazy (to try to become a model), but I believed in myself,” while Park Chan-uk says, “You don’t fail as long as you don’t give up.” The ad almost sounds like a human drama.
“As the nation’s economy gets worse, more advertisements tend to deliver hopeful messages,” noted Hong Jong-pil, a media studies professor at Ewha Womans University. “Rather than just advertising their products, the companies are trying to warm up consumer sentiment as well.”
There are more examples: Copy for a Samsung Life Insurance ad reads, “Bravo your life,” whereas SK Telecom promotes “power that renews the nation.”
There were similar trends among advertisements during the country’s financial crisis in 1997-98. At that time, in a commercial for “Oxy-clean,” a brand of laundry detergent, a housewife said, “We don’t have to have new clothes in times like this.” She went on to say, “Honey, cheer up!”
“In other countries, people tend to prefer funny commercials in a bad economy. But, in Korea, humanistic commercials are more appealing to the public,” said Kim Seong-ho, a member of the Korea Federation of Advertising Associations.
Carrying on the trend, even television shows are trying to carry messages of hope. “Coach,” a variety show on Seoul Broadcasting Service (SBS), shows poor people who realize their dreams, sponsored by the station.
“Haeshin,” an epic drama on Korea Broadcasting System 2 (KBS2), was planned with the intention of giving people hope by illustrating the tough adventures of an ancient hero, “Jangbogo.”
“Yeongung Shidae (Time of Heroes)” on Munhwa Broadcasting Co. (MBC), and “Bulmyeolui Yi Sun Shin” (Admiral Yi Sun Shin, the Invincible) on KBS1, also are epic stories, which are favored by a depressed public.
“Stories in which heroes show endurance and strength are popular during a bad economy,” said Kim Gi-tae, a journalism professor at Honam University. Jeong Hong-bo, head of the planning department at MBC, said, “We are planning human dramas and other shows to cheer up the public.”


by Lee Ji-young
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