Jeans brands seem to be replacing cosmetics as the most coveted prize among Korea's advertising contracts. Traditionally, becoming the "face" of cosmetics brands was the recognition of bona fide star status. Actresses Lee Young-ae, Shim Eun-ha, Ko So-young and Lee Mi-yeon were the dominant faces in cosmetics advertising for a long time, but a new generation of stars are drawn to pants.
Local jeans brands now advertise using big names like Lee Hyo-ri, Son Dam-bi, Han Hyo-joo, Han Ji-hye, Han Chae-young, Kim A-joong, and Han Ye-seul. What they have in common, of course, is the slim figure to carry it off. Jeans ads inevitably highlight the models' legs, which therefore have to be long enough to make up over 50 percent of the body length.
The trend also has something to do with changing standards of beauty, a shift of pretty faces to beautiful bodies. Dr. Bae Joon-sung at the JK Plastic Surgery Center said, "These days, women with a glamorous, sexy bodyline are popular. Those with a fit bodyline are the ideal type to model jeans."
The main target consumers are women in their 20s, a segment where sales have been soaring sharply due to the star marketing campaigns. But it is not clear whether the market as a whole has benefited. Industry insiders say the domestic market is saturated, and the use of big stars is borne of desperation. And of course the increased money spent on top-end models is passed on to customers in the price of each pair of jeans.