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Pricey Spokespersons, Pricey Homes?

Posted November. 11, 2006 04:25,   


When Michelle Wie missed the cut continuously in men’s competitions, the American press went so far as to call her a “fraud” in their criticism.

The company that these reports worried the most was Shin Young, a company that is employing her as their advertisement spokesperson. Before beginning sales of their commercial/residential mega-complex Gwell City in Cheongju-si, Chungbuk, they paid Wie $3 million (approximately 2.8 billion won for a two-year contract) in May. Although she isn’t doing as well as many have hoped, the public recognition of Gwell City rose along with the advertisements.

Most apartment construction companies are depending on popular spokespersons like Shing Young. The payments for these spokespersons differ from 0.5 to 1.5 billion won, depending on their popularity. The total amount of money paid to spokespersons by all construction companies on an annual basis is over 10 billion won. However, “brand power” is a crucial factor when selling the apartments, and companies are falling over each other to hire famous spokespersons.

However, there is criticism that the enormous amounts of money paid to spokespersons are increasing the burden of customers.

Who are the Top Spokespersons?-

Hyundai Engineering & Construction employed movie star Goh So-young, movie director Lim Kwon-taek, singer Yoon Do-hyun, personnel recruiter Yoo Sun-shin, and writer Choi In-ho as spokespersons for their new complex, “Hillstate”. The model fees paid to them totaled over one billion won.

TV star Goh Hyun-jung recently appeared as the spokesperson of Yong Joe Engineering & Construction’s “Queendom” for a price of one billion won per year. It is being evaluated as an unprecedented price for a company of middle standing.

GS Xi (Lee Young-ae) and Daewoo Prugio (Kim Nam-joo) are said to have successfully created a high-quality image along with the image of their spokespersons. Samsung Corporation (Raemian), which had had trouble settling on a spokesperson, chose Jang Seo-hee, who is known to not sign multiple advertisement contracts, and successfully elevated the image of their brand.

The Doosan Industrial Development Company is presenting the concept of “150 standards of good apartments” along with their spokesperson Lee Mi-yeon, making an effort to not be overpowered by their celebrity.

Lotte Castle (Jang Jin-young), Byucksan Blooming (Lee Na-young), and Isu Brown Stone (Kim Jeong-eun) are also employing big spokespersons. Daewon Cantaville (Rain), Posco The Sharp (Jang Dong-geon), and Keangnam Honorsville (Bae Yong-jun) are having success with their male spokespersons.

Why Are Construction Companies Depending on Top Spokespersons?–

The reason construction companies depend heavily on big spokespersons is because the brand image has a crucial effect on the sales of apartments.

In the case of Hyundai Engineering & Construction, which was the top apartment brand for the past 30 years, an extreme drop in its brand power was experienced due to the lack of any top spokespersons. Lee Seong-hoon, leader of the Strategy and PR team of this company, explained, “Since apartment prices have been liberalized, the brand war between the construction companies got serious. We decided to make a big investment in order to secure a superior spot in the competition.”

Some smaller construction companies that are new to the brand market use the strategy of making their image skyrocket in one step by using big spokespersons, like Shin Young or Young Joe.

Some also say that apartments require big spokespersons because the Unique Selling Proposition (UPS) of apartments is lower compared to other products.

CEO Goh Young-sup of the advertising company Oricom explained, “There is a limit to showing what an apartment is really like in an advertisement. So they’re focusing on giving the consumers a positive image using a popular spokesperson.”