Korean Companies Benefit from Free Celebrity Marketing

      December 25, 2010 08:32

      Confectionary maker Orion is having a happy time as its Choco Pie has reached the U.K. without any advertising money spent. Footballer Park Ji-sung's teammate Rio Ferdinand at the Manchester United recently wrote on his Twitter, "Just opened another package sent to Park... these taste like wagon wheels... me+my lil men devoured them!" with a picture of Choco Pies.

      Ferdinand's tweets on Choco Pies have solicited a great deal of interest from Internet users in and outside of the country. An Orion staffer said, "After learning of Ferdinand's tweets through various blogs, the company is delighted. A celebrity's continued mentioning of Choco Pie is a boost."

      Some companies are benefitting from so-called "free-riding" marketing effect as social networks and other websites help spread celebrities' use of their products.

      Rio Ferdinand's tweet

      ◆ Unexpected Windfall

      Ferdinand has around 310,000 followers on Twitter, and his post about Choco Pie led to a surge in inquires about the snack from the U.K. and elsewhere in Europe. "Because we are not an official sponsor of the team, we should be cautious to use this popularity commercially. But if the product gets exposure like this, we believe it will help us greatly in making inroads into new overseas markets," an Orion spokesman said.

      Beauty tips from celebrities also help cosmetics sales. When top actress Kim Nam-joo disclosed the secret to maintaining younger-looking skin -- keeping skin moisturized with oil -- companies making facial oils saw their sales skyrocket.

      The sales of local cosmetics brand Innisfree's olive essential oil rose by 300 percent after Kim's remarks compared to one month before. Bobbi Brown also saw its facial oil products sold out instantly.

      Sienna Miller (left) and Jessica Alba

      ◆ Hollywood Stars

      Namyang Dairy Products, which started exporting its signature product 17 Tea to the U.S. in 2006, hit the jackpot when a picture of Jessica Alba with a bottle of the drink taken by paparazzi spread online. 17 Tea was dubbed the drinking water of Hollywood stars, and exports to the U.S. rose to US$1 million last year, nearly double the figure the year before.

      Amore Pacific is a similar case. When actresses including Sienna Miller, Uma Thurman and Hilary Duff mentioned Amore Pacific as one of their favorite items in interviews, well-known department stores in the U.S. suggested that the Korean cosmetics company open outlets there. Recently, global cosmetics store chain Sephora made the same proposal, and Amore Pacific products are about to be introduced worldwide. U.S. TV channel FOX recently compared Amore Pacific to Rolls-Royce in the anti-aging cosmetic market.

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