From fashion’s biggest names to luxury lifestyle numbers — few K-drama actors can claim to have as many brand endorsements in the bag as Song Joong-ki. We’re talking over 100 commercial deals across South Korea, China, Thailand, and Indonesia. Here’s a look at a few that made big numbers.
The wild popularity of the action-packed Descendants Of The Sun — the loved-up tale of a special forces officer and a doctor — made Song Joong-ki a household name, with big brands knocking on his door. Soon enough, there was nary a billboard in South Korea that didn’t feature him. According to several reports, in the first half of 2016 alone, he raised about USD 34.6 million through commercial deals. Combine that with a string of new projects — dramas to movies — and it’s no surprise that the Hallyu stalwart is one of the highest-paid K-drama actors with a net worth of about USD 40.3 million. Here’s a look at a few names that are frontrunners in the global retail industry or have seen a spike in sales since having him on board.
Song Joong-ki’s best brand endorsements
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Luxury French fashion brand Louis Vuitton — one of the most recognised in the industry for exquisite craftsmanship — is the latest addition to Song Joong-ki’s endorsement arsenal. “We embark on a new journey with Song, who ceaselessly continues his adventure and attempts in acting,” the brand stated according to Korea Joongang Daily. It also shared videos of the actor from the 76th Cannes Film Festival, representing the brand in a black single-breasted suit jacket, cigarette trousers, and Chelsea boots.
South Korea’s first and largest budget carrier — an icon in its own right — is known for enlisting top celebrities for endorsements. This includes the likes of Boys Over Flowers actor Lee Min-ho and Love Alarm actress Kim So-hyun. Elaborating on its deal with Song Joong-ki, the company was quoted by Korea Times as saying, “We selected Song as our new ‘face’ because he is very popular in Korea and many other Asian countries, including Japan and China.” A popular commercial sees him don the pilot’s uniform and share his top favourite travel destinations — Hong Kong, Japan, Bangkok, Taiwan, Cebu, Guam and Saipan. “If you’re planning a trip overseas, what about flying with Jeju air?,” he states before talking about new flight routes. The airline added “We hope he will help raise our brand awareness among customers across Asia.”
One of South Korea’s most fashionable go-tos for sportswear and outdoor gear, Kolon Sports brought Song Joong-ki on board in 2016. “We chose Song as our exclusive model as part of an effort to target customers not only in Korea but in China, too. He has won over many hearts across Asia and elsewhere since the smash hit Descendants of the Sun aired,” an official from Kolon Sport was quoted saying by South Korea’s Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism. “Having him in our commercials will help improve our brand image. We hope that Song’s liveliness and brightness will create synergy effects in our attempt to make a decisive change to the brand itself,” he added. True to this, the brand noted a whopping 300 percent spike in sales with the actor’s commercials.
According to Korea Times, South Korean apparel brand TOPTEN10 — primarily known for its line of chic street wear — stated that Song Joong-ki was the perfect celebrity to convey their value to consumers. The actor then appeared in several commercials. Other popular South Korean names associated with the fashion house include actor and model Jang Ki-yong and Romance Is A Bonus Book actress Lee Na-young.
Although established in 1988, cosmetics brand Forencos — which houses a diverse range of products formulated with natural ingredients — was largely unknown. That is until it brought Song Joong-ki on board with a solid advertisement deal. Although the cost itself of the endorsements wasn’t revealed, the company noted that he’d model their makeup, skincare, and other products. According to Korea Times, it also made clear the intention to tap into China, Hong Kong, and the US markets using him as a model. Today, it’s a top South Korean name in the game.
South Korea-based luxury lifestyle brand Hyundai LIVART — the second-largest name in the domestic furniture industry — signed Song Joong-ki in 2018 as an exclusive model. This marked their first time in 14 years signing a celebrity, with the last being The Boss actress Kim Nam-joo in 2004. In a popular commercial, the actor is seen walking through minimalist, modern decor, admiring its intricacies. According to The Korea Economic Daily (Hankyung), he was paid about 1 billion won (INR 6 crore approx.) per year for his association with the company.
11Street — a one-stop shop destination for all things Korean — announced Song as a brand ambassador in 2017. The online marketplace paired the actor with Thai actress Mew Nittha, releasing a string of TV, digital, and outdoor ads. In one such endorsement, IB Times Singapore notes that ads were placed on the busiest Bangkok Mass Transit System stations. This, across major spots like Siam, Phrom Pong, and Chit Lom. The company noted that they’d scored over 1 million views upon the launch, calling the campaign quite successful.
Which of these brand endorsements do you deem Song Joong-ki’s most iconic?
All images: Courtesy Song Joong Ki