01 January 2013


Cheongdamdong Alice ... and Product Placement (Part II)

Posted by Kakashi Sensei on January 01, 2013
Boah, what a party last night!! lafer and I went totally wild. To make it official now: I think I'm in love with Park Shi-hoo. How else to explain the growing pain of separation? The heartache? The longing?! Is it January 5th yet???? Ah, Park Shi-hoo ... You know what? I'll just write another post about you. That usually helps.

On December 29, I wrote about Product Placement (PPL) and The King of Dramas, as a set-up for today's post on PPL in Cheongdamdong Alice (CDDA). Sometimes, knowing what is and what is not PPL in a drama is not all that straightforward (though random close-ups on random things is a pretty good indicator). The list of sponsors at the end of each episode is long and often varies (Episode 7 had by far the most, so far) - and for a non-Korean, deciphering all of them is not a piece of Paris Baguette cake.

And then, the questions ... can we expect all of the sponsors to have placed at least one "product" in the episode? I remember from Nice Guy (Episode 1) that the hospital that they filmed the doctor scenes in was listed as a sponsor at the end, for example. Is that still product placement? Did the hospital actually pay them something? Or did they just get to shoot there for free? Anthony, to the rescue! Tell me!

Of course, there is also very obvious instances of PPL; and most of them belong to one of the following C-Categories:
  • Cars
  • Coffee/Cafés
  • Clothing/.ccessories
  • ComputEronics (yes, that's a made up word, but it starts with a C).


This is the easiest of the 4 categories - cars are big, loud, and usually fill the whole screen. There's no way you don't notice a car PPL. Cheongdamdong Alice's characters drive cars from the Infitini line, produced by Nissan (everybody in Nice Guy did too).
Detail 1: The car that Han Se-kyung breaks in episode 1 is not an Infiniti. Of course, Park Shi-hoo's Infiniti does not have a single scratch. And I appreciate how cleverly they have placed the Infiniti logo in this frame:
Detail 2: When there is no car company sponsoring in a particular series, the cars that are shown are stripped of everything that would make them recognizable (cf. KoD).

Detail 3: Shows in which car companies are not a sponsor usually don't have many driving scenes. Ergo: PPL does dictate a certain amount of scenes and their settings. Boo.

Coffee/Cafés (and other Meeting Places)

Paris Baguette is the first of CDDA's sponsors mentioned in the end credits. Therefore, there are many meetings in one of their outlets. Paris Baguette is a Korean company (founded in 1986) and seems to be the perfect sponsor for this show, which is so Paris-crazed.

We are exposed to several Paris Baguette things: First, the brand name, which is almost too long to fit in a frame, lol.
They didn't manage to show us the whole logo in the "break-up" scene, all the more annoying for this sudden zoom out to this ... half-logo. Duh.
Second, we get to see some kind of Christmas Special products ... looks like cookies and cakes and stuff. They seem to be everywhere in the CDDA world ... also at the Artemis VVIP Party. That made me lol as well. Since the green-red-white colors adds a rather nice touch to every scene (and add a certain Xmassy vibe), I don't mind. So far, I find it amusing. I'm guessing we'll see one of the red or green packages in the bus or in the car next.

Third, we see the menu (and some of the Christmas Special products to the right). I'll have the sweetly smiling man, please!
The other place where people meet in the CDDAverse is a Look Optical shop. They seem to have some coffee there, too? Anyways, having a glasses franchise as a main sponsor means that random people randomly wear glasses randomly. In random scenes.
Not that I'm complaining much. I think Park Shi-hoo looks really good in glasses. Being tormented and wearing glasses: might be my favorite Park Shi-hoo look.
Ah no, being tormented with a man of glory is my favorite Park Shi-hoo look of course! Or ... will we get to see a being-tormented-with-glasses-AND-mane-of-glory-look next?
Detail 1: Seo Yoon-joo's brother's (Seo Ho-Min) only purpose in this drama is to do PPL - a fate that awaits many a dongsaeng in KDrama. He is running one of the Paris Baguette stores and when Yoon-joo goes to see him, we see Paris Baguette. And the red-white-green Christmas special. Herds of them.
Detail 2: Han Se-kyung's sister's (Han Se-jin) main purpose is also to do PPL (so far). She works at Look Optical. Not sure the drama has enough time, but I see the potential for a lovely side-story between her and Dong-wook at least.

Detail 3: This drama does not have a coffee sponsor, therefore, people hardly drink any coffee. They eat cake instead. Not so sure it's good for their wasteline!

Detail 4: There is another prominent location in the series ... many of Cha Seung-jo's and Han Se-kyung's pre-romance scenes have taken place in front of this building - The Galleria (a shopping center that belongs to the Hanwha Group. Yay, real life chaebols!). Also one of the sponsors.


This is a difficult category ... potentially, every single piece of clothing and jewelry is sponsored in KDrama. Since Artemis Korea is a supplier of pet food and chocolates in real life, the various bags that we see are products of companies such as Lovcat, Kwanpen, Daks, etc. (some of the sponsors I could make out in the end credits or in the background).

I already mentioned the glasses. An example of good PPL (good as in "non-annoying") is the scene in which Han Se-kyung's sister sells seven glasses to Dong-wook before she tells him where her sister is hiding. The scene is funny, and the chemistry between sister and Dong-wook was adorable. The PPL and the storyline harmonize.
Jewelry ... there's a lot of it. The most prominent pieces are the bracelet that Han Se-kyung has given Jean Thierry Cha - and the silver bracelets. The first is from MissKimJewlery.
The bracelets ... somebody else will have to find the sponsor for that! I haven't. But it's very clear that it is PPL as well. Look at this scene:
Could you make it more obvious next time, Park Shi-hoo? ^_^ Also, he is wearing a bracelet here that looks very similar to the one he and Yoon-joon exchanged. However, that one had an open cuff. The one he is sporting above does not.
I am not sure what jewelry the ladies wear - but I know what Tommy Hong and Yoon-joon's brother are sporting. It's Macos Adamas! Macos Adamas is a rather frequent sponsor of rings in KDrama and you cannot mistake it for anything else.

Detail 1: If you are interested in the clothes the women are wearing, go check out this very useful site. Doing this post already took me hours ... identifying the exact piece of clothing that is worn is simply amazing!

Detail 2: ... err ... there is none. Jeez, this post is long. 

Detail 3: Ah, yes, there is something. Do you guys remember Kan Maru's nice watch? Probably not. In any case, my husband and I spent a fun hour trying to find out what it was (even though the manufacturer sign was removed). And we did. And I got the watch as a Christmas present ^_^ I am a PPL victim of the happy sort! 


This is, once again, a very easy category. They constantly fumble their electronic equipment. In a way, seeing how people write text messages to each other or do something smart on their phones doesn't bug me much. That's just like in real life - everybody is constantly stroking their electronics around me.

In CDDA, Samsung is the main sponsor, and we get to see various Samsung products: desktop computers, tablets, phones (Samsung Galaxy Note II), Samsung camera's, and Samsung fridges (Samsung zipel). They definitely went overboard with the lengthy PSH and Galaxy-product ad. This is the kind of PPL that makes people angry in the long run.
See what is hiding inside the fridge? Look! It's like a PPL Matryoshka doll! Outer shell: Samsung. Inside: Paris Baguette Christmas special present. Inside: Paris Baguette Bûche de Noël. Inside: a little Jean-Thierry Cha doing a crazy dance. Inside: Paris Baguette cake Jean-Thierry Cha just ate. etc.

Detail 1: I'm definitely out of details now. Ouf. Next time, I'll do one of the silly posts with lafer again.

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