Jeon Ji-hyun Cedes Advertising Power to Jang Dong-gun

Consumers no longer feel that Jeon Ji-hyun is the most bankable advertising model and instead name Jang Dong-gun. The finding is the result of a survey of 1,465 people in Seoul and Gyeonggi Province by brand consultancy Brand38 from March 5 until 15.

The interviewees were asked to choose three stars they think are most appealing as commercial models. Jeon, who had always ranked top or second from the top in the biannual survey that started in 2003, fell to fifth place.

Jeon Ji-hyun (left) and Jang Dong-gun Jeon Ji-hyun (left) and Jang Dong-gun

◆ Jeon Ji-hyun Out, Jang Dong-gun In

Jeon took the top spot five times and second place three times in a total of eight surveys by Brand38, beating out superstars like Lee Young-ae, Lee Hyo-ri, Kim Tae-hee, Song Hye-kyo and Lee Na-young. But in the latest survey Jeon surrendered her place to Jang Dong-gun, the last survey's runner-up, and ended up in the fifth place.

From left, Lee Young-ae, Lee Hyo-ri, Kim Tae-hee, Song Hye-kyo and Lee Na-young From left, Lee Young-ae, Lee Hyo-ri, Kim Tae-hee, Song Hye-kyo and Lee Na-young

What the two stars have in common is that they have done nothing but appear in commercials for quite some time. So why is one falling and the other rising? "Jeon still has name value as the most bankable commercial model, but it seems consumers are getting tired of her eternal sexy image and so-called 'mystery' which has meant she appears on hardly any TV programs except commercials," Brand 38 says. "By contrast, Jang has successfully changed his image through commercials from unapproachable aristocrat to guy next door."

◆ Where Have All the Pretty Boys Gone?

Comedian and TV presenter Yoo Jae-suk rose to second place from 15th in the previous survey. Other comedians like Park Myung-soo (17th) and No Hong-chul (31st) also rose. The three saw their popularity grow on MBC's popular TV show "Infinite Challenge."

From left, Yoo Jae-suk, Park Myung-soo, Lee Jun-ki, Daniel Henney and No Hong-chul From left, Yoo Jae-suk, Park Myung-soo, Lee Jun-ki, Daniel Henney and No Hong-chul

The consultancy says appearance still matters when it comes to commercials, but it is getting less and less important. "Economic hardship and harsh realities throughout society seem to make comedians more appealing to consumers," it explains. "In the previous survey in the first half of 2006, Lee Jun-ki -- the star of the film 'The King and The Clown' -- and Daniel Henney, who rose to stardom with MBC hit drama 'My Name Is Kim Sam-soon,' ranked near the top in fourth and 12th respectively, but they both fell below 50th this time. That shows that good-looking stars tend to experience a sudden rise and fall." 

◆ Who Is Suitable for What?

The survey also focused on what type of advertising is suitable for which star according to his or her image. Jang Dong-gun, who is thought of as "handsome" and "gentlemanly," was thought to be suitable for fashion and car advertising. Singer Rain, who is associated with "passion," was judged to be perfect for telecom commercials, and "sexy" and "pretty" Jeon Ji-hyun and "sexy" and "attractive" Lee Hyo-ri were thought best suited to fashion advertising.

◆ Politicians Make It on the List

With a political season coming up with the presidential election, politicians, made their way into the list of the top 50. Former Seoul mayor Lee Myung-bak ranked 40th and former Grand National Party chairwoman Park Geun-hye 44th. Among businessmen, Samsung Group chairman Lee Kun-hee shared 40th place with the former mayor.

englishnews@chosun.com / Mar. 30, 2007 09:29 KST