Lotte Liquor said on Thursday it will stop a soju ad on the Internet featuring pop starlets, which has been condemned as being too provocative. Earlier this month, the company launched the ad featuring 4minute member Hyun-a (20), Sistar member Hyo-rin (21) and Kara's Gu Ha-ra (21) in tight outfits having a suggestive dance-off.
Critics pointed out that children and youngsters have easy access to the ad. "We decided to halt the ad on Friday following a recommendation by the government that it could affect young people," Lotte Liquor said.
The company says it will edit the ad to make it less provocative, while requiring adult verification to view it.
Last week, the Seoul Metropolitan Government wrote to liquor manufacturers, talent agencies and advertising companies to ask them to refrain from using stars who appeal to youngsters in advertising alcohol. If they fail to cooperate, the city government threatened to have them audited by the National Tax Service.
The latest move by Lotte Liquor involves only the Internet ad, but the company will keep the starlets under contracts. Poster ads featuring them will continue.
Advertising for hard liquor such as soju with an alcohol content of more than 17 percent proof is banned from terrestrial and cable TV. As a result, liquor manufacturers have relied on Internet ads that can grab attention quickly by featuring sexy female stars.
Other liquor makers say they will consider the impact of their ads on teens but intend to maintain their practice of using stars with teen appeal. Hite Jinro has signed a deal with singer Psy, while OB Beer has been featuring actor Kim Soo-hyun.