Posted by Janie-Reign Sunday, March 26, 2023

K-netizens discuss how Korea is the 'only nation' where idols with underage fans become brand models for promoting alcohol


What could be the effects of idols working as brand models for alcoholic products?

On an online forum, netizens reacted to the outcomes from a recent convention in Korea where scholarly experts in the field of cancer prevention spoke up regarding the promotion of alcohol in media.

According to Professor Lee Hae Guk, South Korea "ranks #1 with the highest number of people suffering from diseases caused by alcohol among OECD countries" and that it is the "only nation where idols promote alcohol through commercials."

The scholar also noted that the majority of the Korean public "continues to consume alcohol even before and after being diagnosed with cancer" due to a lack of public awareness regarding the dangers of drinking.

"While other nations such as the U.S., France, and France prohibit the selling and consumption of alcohol as well as the endorsement of alcohol by celebrities depending on the platform, locations, and time of day, our country [South Korea] has failed to invest more government funds in regulating alcoholism, based on the figures from 2018," said Lee Hae Guk.

Meanwhile, the gendered aspect of high brand-valued young female celebrities being chosen as soju models have once become a controversial topic in Korea.

To this news, the majority of the netizens responded in agreement:

"There is also this general culture in Korea where drinking is considered as part of manners in society but I think that's so bad for those who would rather not drink"

"There are many accidents in Korea caused by alcohol and people here think that drinking well is something to excessively brag. I don't want to see it on variety programs, personally."

"I think the public needs to accept the fact that all these videos on YouTube and media content about alcohol really promotes its consumption among young people"

"Idols promote alcohol even when they are not the brand models because nowadays they tend to create individualized content centered around alcohol consumption. I am an adult myself, so I am personally not affected as much, but I worry for the underage fans."

"I don't know why our country is so lenient with alcohol while they prohibit the media exposure of cigarettes"

"I think Korea should regulate the promotion of alcohol as they do with cigarettes"

"I don't drink alcohol, and so I hate it when people here keep asking me what I do for fun if I don't drink"

"They should regulate all the billboards with idol models promoting alcohol"

"It doesn't matter if the federal law is strong but here, the law is a joke"

"I wish they would stop promoting alcohol after at least 11 PM at night"

"It was really weird to see an actor who was well-known for portraying a school student become a model for alcoholic products"

"It is strange seeing idol content with soju bottles on the table when a lot of the viewers are underage"

"I also think it's ironic how people here severely shame idols who have had done underage drinking in the past while the same media promotes the consumption of alcohol among idol fans without regulation"

"They drink alcohol like soda here"

"I also think of this same thing with dieting pills and medicine commercials, too"

"It is so grotesque how they only choose the prettiest female celebrities as a benchmark for soju"

"Korea is full of alcoholics...on variety programs and dramas, everything is about drinking. Except for religious events, there isn't a single non-alcoholic event"

What are your thoughts?

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31 13,684 Share 78% Upvoted
Myrafunmilayo123,840 pts Sunday, March 26, 2023 1
Sunday, March 26, 2023

All true. The drinking culture there seems too excessive. There is not one kdrama I've seen where the protagonist doesn't get shit face drunk and wake up all flowery the next day with a "slight" headache. The promotion especially towards youth and not taking into account of the health and lifestyle dangers as well as common cases of drunk driving and hit and run accidents is worrisome and dangerous

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trogdorthe8th14,061 pts Sunday, March 26, 2023 2
Sunday, March 26, 2023

Normally, I wouldn't be swayed by the notion "Won't someone think about the children!" when it comes to the idea of a celebrity having younger fans. Even here, that's a stretch, because I think that the greater issue, the elephant in the room, is what actually needs to be addressed here. That issue is what everyone seems to recognize in the article above, or at least they start to before getting side tracked. Korea is a country with a severe drinking problem, and Knetizens seem to recognize that. What isn't connecting, and what really needs to be addressed is WHY? WHY does Korea have a drinking problem, WHAT is causing the general population to want/need to drink in such excess, HOW is the root issue(s) furthering this problem, and WHO is responsible for addressing this issue?

They start by saying there's an issue, then go off on tangents of "Why do only pretty women get the Soju deals?" and "Why does this babyfaced actor who played innocent roles do alcohol ads?". My favorite was "Why would they possibly be showing alcohol on a show minors watch" when minors likely already know what a large drinking culture the country has to begin with. Simply censoring what they're seeing in entertainment is only a small and short term bandaid on a much bigger problem. Drinking culture in countries like Korea is often linked to depression, and the demographic changes depending on the area. So instead of worrying about ads, worry about what's making your people so stressed and depressed that they want to drown in soju. The pressures of work, impossible cost of living, competition for education for only a few select positions on which to live comfortably, the list goes on and on. If those don't get addressed, censoring celebrities from advertising will barely make a dent in this problem.

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