Despite the stereotype of idols having short-lived careers in K-Pop, Lee Hyori, one of the OG K-Pop divas, continues to challenge the boundaries of career longevity, that too without playing by the industry’s rules.
While Lee’s entertainment career, despite many ups and downs, has mostly been uninterrupted aside from a two-year hiatus from 2015 to 2017, for over a decade, the K-Pop powerhouse has refused to do any commercial advertisements. In 2011, she had explicitly expressed her reluctance to participate in any promotional campaigns of products and companies that went against her values, which virtually brought her appearance in CFs to a complete halt.
Strictly speaking, I cannot do advertisements for pizza, chicken, ramen and leather-made clothing. Cosmetic brands should not do animal testing.
— Lee Hyori’s statement in 2011
It wasn’t until recently that the singer expressed her desire to resume doing CFs, and as a result, a hoard of brands lined up in her social media comments, readily expressing their desire to have her model their products. Later, the singer appeared on comedian Shin Dong Yeop‘s YouTube channel and revealed that she decided to do endorsement deals again to earn more money to donate to good causes.
Only a few of the brands that rushed to scout Lee Hyori as their model under her Instagram post | @lee_hyolee/Instagram
During her career’s apex, Lee Hyori was so influential that her effect on the public was dubbed the “Hyori syndrome.” During this era, she modeled for several big brands, including corporate giants like Samsung and Hyundai.
Even after two decades of her debut, the singer seems to have the same hold on public interest, as indicated by her latest CF’s after-effects. On October 27, Lee’s first commercial in over a decade was released by the internet shopping platform Lotte On. The commercial, titled “Shopping Fantasy,” was uploaded on the brand’s YouTube channel, which exceeded 2 million views within a week of its release. According to internal big data analysis, the advertisement bumped the mention of Lotte On online by almost double the rate as before.
| Lotte On
Additionally, search terms related to the brand also saw changes, with “shopping” and “premium” replacing the previous top position-holding keywords like “products” and “discounts.” Overall, Lotte On seems to be enjoying an immediate rise in brand awareness as a premium shopping platform for customers after Lee Hyori’s endorsement.
However, the Lee Hyori effect on Lotte On’s brand value is not limited to consumer reach. It seems to have directly impacted sales as well. During the first week (October 16 to October 22) of their campaign, Lotte On’s sales increased by more than 40% compared to last year. The number of customers visiting the app also increased by double digits!
| Lotte On
In a more detailed breakdown, the first week of the campaign saw a 30% rise in beauty and a 50% rise in fashion sales compared to last year. The number of subscribers for integrated membership on the app also increased more than eight times than the previous year. All of these are analyzed to be the direct result of Lee Hyori’s advertising and its related events!
| Lotte On
Though sales and streams are big parameters of a celebrity’s popularity in the Korean entertainment industry today, brand CFs are also a significant yardstick to measure the relevance of a public figure among the masses. While Lee Hyori’s latest single took care of the former, her Lotte On campaign’s success has settled the debates, if there were any, about her exceptional star power in South Korea.