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K-pop stars, actors model for soju, beer brands

  • Published : Apr 13, 2015 - 17:41
  • Updated : Apr 13, 2015 - 17:41

Korea's most popular alcoholic beverage is soju, which is traditionally distilled from rice.

Its second alcoholic spirit of choice is beer -- known in Korean as maekju -- which, unlike soju, is generally more diluted than more famous Western brands.

Actor Ji Chang-wook for Korean beer brand Cass in 2014. (OB)
Soju has a pervasive influence throughout Korean culture -- and hallyu is no exception, with top soju companies recruiting well-known celebrities to market their drinks.

K-pop singer IU currently models for the top-selling Chamisul soju, owned by distiller Hite-Jinro Group.

The baby-faced singer follows in the wake of leading Korean actresses Ha Ji-won, Kim Tae-hee and Lee Min-jung, as well as K-pop singers Gu Ha-ra and HyunA.

Actor Lee Min-ho (right) and singer Sandara Park famously shared a kiss in a "Kiss" music video commercial for Cass beer in 2009. (OB)
Another popular soju brand, Chum Churum, owned by Lotte Group, hired Korean actress Shin Min-a last summer, after a successful five-year contract with K-pop princess Lee Hyo-ri.

There is no shortage of famous faces for beer brands, which are also popular in Korea.

K-pop singer Psy signed a contract to model for Dry Finish d beer in 2012, the same year his single "Gangnam Style" went viral. (Hite-Jinro)
The year his megahit "Gangnam Style" became a worldwide sensation in 2012, singer Psy signed a contract with beer brand Dry Finish d. He was followed by leader of K-pop boy group Big Bang, G-Dragon, in late 2013.

Another Big Bang member, rapper T.O.P, currently models for rival beer brand Cass, whose "Cass Beats" commercial with the star has surpassed 6 million views online since it launched in January.

Actress Jun Ji-hyun models for new beer brand Kloud, owned by Lotte Group. (Lotte Group)
Hallyu actor Lee Min-ho and K-pop singer Sandara Park famously shared a kiss in a commercial for the same beer brand in 2009 -- the year that Lee achieved his career breakthrough in drama series "Boys Over Flowers" and Park debuted with K-pop quartet 2NE1.

Actor Ji Chang-wook and controversial actress Lee Tae-im have also modeled for Cass, owned by Korean brewery OB.

Rapper T.O.P, from boy group Big Bang, currently models for Cass beer. (OB)
Figure skating champion Kim Yun-a also modeled about a year for Hite beer, owned together with Dry Finish d by Korean company Hite-Jinro Group.

New beer brand Kloud, launched by conglomerate Lotte in October, projects a more sophisticated image in contrast to the wealth of fun-loving and extroverted beer ads in Korea, borrowing the glamor of its model, screen siren Jun Ji-hyun.

K-pop singer IU currently models for top-selling Korean soju brand Chamisul. (Hite-Jinro)
Check out the "Kiss" music video commercial for Cass beer, starring actor Lee Min-ho and singer Sandara Park:

By Yoon Sarah (sarah356@heraldcorp.com)