[FOUNTAIN]Marketing can be fun, but life is life

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[FOUNTAIN]Marketing can be fun, but life is life

The drama “My Name is Kim Sam-soon” has become a national hit. The first drama to break the 40-percent mark for television ratings this year, its success is due to non-stop fun. Producer Lee Byeong-hun, who directed “Daejanggeum,” a popular TV drama about a female cook at the Joseon royal court, defined the requirements for a popular drama as the one with enjoyment, humor and brightness. According to Mr. Lee, “My Name is Kim Sam-soon” meets those conditions. Also, actress Kim Sun-ah, who put on seven kilograms (16 pounds) for the part, displays great talent.
The Press Grand Prix in last year’s Cannes International Advertising Festival went to the “Cops” ad for Volkswagen’s compact vehicle “Polo.” It has an entertaining theme where 10 large policemen reject bigger vehicles at the site of an accident and hide behind the smaller and more durable Polo.
Recently there have been some domestic companies that have introduced “fun management,” but the origin comes from Southwest Airlines. Chief Executive Herb Kelleher occasionally appears at official events on a motorcycle dressed like Elvis Presley. Employees hide in the baggage compartments and then suddenly greet the passenger, saying “Surprise!” Even its in-flight broadcast jokes, “While smoking is not allowed aboard the aircraft, there is one place where you can smoke. Outside on the wings.”
Through adapting fun in its everyday operations, Southwest Airlines has never recorded a deficit since its establishment in 1971. In his 1999 book “Doing it Different,” English business management specialist David Clutterbuck chooses “fun management” as the topic of tomorrow with the example of Southwest.
Back in 2002, an “Ohno toilet paper” won popularity in Korea with “fun marketing.” The idea of printing the face of Apolo Anton Ohno, who some thought unfairly took gold at the Salt Lake Winter Olympics, on toilet paper and to use it after taking care of business in the restroom reached customers.
With the popularity of “fun” continuing to rise, IF Network, a trend-consulting firm, chose “funology” as the trend to lead next year. “Funology” is a compound word of fun and technology.
Sushi-shaped USB memory sticks and fork-shaped back scratchers are just the type of products that fit the term. “The demand for fun increases as competition becomes fiercer and the negative side of society becomes stronger,” according to Cho Eun-jeong of Samsung Electronics’ Global Marketing Department.
It seems that all the fun in marketing, advertisements and dramas doesn’t mean that the world we live in is fun.

by Yi Jung-jae

The writer is a deputy business news editor of the JoongAng Ilbo.
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