Ordering food at a restaurant is not an easy thing when a Korean travels abroad. When one orders a hamburger, he or she is asked whether it is for here or to go. When ordering coffee or beer, people are asked numerous questions on types and sorts. Even asking for a glass of water is cumbersome. They want you to choose between sparkling and still. Tourists become perplexed when asked these things.
In a TV drama My Love from the Star, actress Jun Ji-hyun who portrays Cheon Song-ee drinks heavily the previous night, gets up in the morning with a hangover, and walks to the refrigerator to press the dispenser button for a cup of water. But hangover doesnt ease because she drank sparkling water. Some TV viewers recognized this and talked about it. Later, a refrigerator with a function that turns purified water into sparkling water as well as sparkling water itself showed sharp sales.
The Korea Tourism Organization must have considered that the lively and refreshing image of a sparkling water bubble popping matched Koreas image. It decided to go with Korea, Sparkling as Korean tourism brand. It also held an event in November 2007 to promote Korean Wave, featuring fashion shows for Korean traditional wear hanbok, b-boy concert and Korean traditional food dinner. However, there are disputes that this expression reminds of a sparkling water ad and is proper for promoting Korean brand in overseas markets. As the new government set in, this expression has fizzled out as if bubbles collapsed.
It hasnt been long since people started drinking bottled water. Now sparkling water market is booming. Imported sparking water bottles are popular among young people. According to the Korean Womens Federation for Consumers, domestic sales price of Italys San Pellegrino is 7.9 times that in Italy. Other imported sparking water bottles are also expensive than Korean bottles despite little difference in taste and effect. It seems that only Korean consumers are a patsy to imported sparkling water.