Korean Sociological Image #38: Gendered Marketing

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With the exception of some medicines such as painkillers, presumably the majority of things that humans can eat or drink taste exactly the same and have exactly the same physiological effects on both sexes.

So why are so many marketed so differently to both, or even almost exclusively just to one? It’s really quite bizarre:

With the exception of some medicines such as painkillers, presumably the majority of things that humans can eat or drink taste exactly the same and have exactly the same physiological effects on both sexes.

So why are so many marketed so differently to both, or even almost exclusively just to one? It’s really quite bizarre:

Already having deeply analyzed Korean examples of both however, and providing possible reasons for the divisions, today’s post is a light one just for the sake of providing a few more recent examples, starting with the opening commercial featuring the girl-group KARA (카라) for Pepero (빼빼로) chocolate sticks. And with 55% of Lotte Confectionery’s (롯데제과) annual sales of them being made around “Pepero Day” every November 11, then one can hardly bemoan the company for looking for ways to encourage consumers to buy them throughout the year. But still, I doubt that Lotte will go so far as to produce similar commercials featuring male groups instead, and especially not with their members pretending to make “V-lines” with the Pepero sticks in them.

But why not? After all, young male stars are also often expected to behave in the same way on Korean television, and men with feminized faces are becoming more and more popular with Korean women too.

Alas, and in Lotte’s defense, it is because this concept known as aegyo (애교), or collection of childish speaking styles, gestures, and mannerisms, is already much more strongly associated with women than with men:

And so Lotte is just playing into that, albeit also perpetuating the notion that it is “normal” for women in the process. But while it can certainly be annoying and frustrating when grown women repeatedly do it on television however (although I am not against it per se; hey, cute is cute), that doesn’t justify any “jokes” that women deserve to be slapped for it:

Meanwhile, seeing as we were discussing KARA’s commercials for Pepero, it behooves me to mention the slight lesbian overtones of another in the series in passing:

But back on topic, note that Pulmuone’s (푸무원) commercial below encourages men to drink its products when they want to have “a light morning”, but women when they want to have “a light body”:

And Yakult (야쿠르트) has produced a new low-fat version of its Will (윌) yogurt drink, which I think I can be forgiven for assuming is aimed only at women:

Next, while not related to gender divisions in marketing, but interesting nevertheless, you may also like – or rather, find a little surreal and disturbing – this Welch’s commercial, quite representative of the sort of hyperreal America often presented in Korean advertisements:

And finally, I’ll let this Japanese one speak for itself:

Can anyone think of any more interesting ones for foods or drinks, with gender-divisions or otherwise?

(For all posts in the Korean Sociological Images series, see here)

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Filed under: Body Image, Dieting, Exercise, Gender Roles, Gender Socialization, Korean Advertisements, Korean Media, Korean Sociological Images, Sex in Advertising Tagged: Kara



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