K-Drama Product Placements and Sponsors in The King Eternal Monarch

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I can’t decide if I’m getting pissed with the amount of product placement (PPL) scenes in this drama or should I be thankful that these brands have given more budget to the production team.

Ever since the PPL law in Korea relaxed back in 2010, where they are now allowed to feature products on the condition which restricts to 30 seconds for each product (I believe it means per scene/episode) and that it makes up no more than 5 percent of the total broadcast time.

This means that our 70-min episode can feature up to 3.5 mins of advertising, spread across 7 products. I can’t exactly be pissed off as I believe PPL contributes a huge amount of money to the production budget and in recent years, the quality and cinematics of K-dramas have been rather superb (includes overseas travel etc.) and they probably have to dig out money from somewhere and I guess, it doesn’t hurt to add in these extra 3.5 mins of advertising within the show.

Based on historic figures, PPL can be very successful, like in the case of Jeon Jihyun’s lipstick in You Who Came from the Stars, where they did not explicitly show the brand of lipstick and left it to the other media outlets to spread the discovery, which turned out to be incorrectly identified as YSL. The lipstick and entire skincare range was actually sponsored by Amore Pacific (Laneige, Iope etc.) and YSL had a lot of free publicity which led to a worldwide shortage of that colour. Well, that was 2014.

Today, PPL gets super explicit and you really won’t miss it unless you’re sleeping on the drama. Furthermore, they will also give a full logo disclosure at the credits section too. But I really wonder how much it would have cost. Back in 2016’s Descends of the Sun (DOTS), 3 billion won (~$3 million USD) was received from PPL alone.

Wow.

Anyway, since these sponsors paid so much money for the feature, I’m gonna extend their ‘reach’ by writing and compiling this post.

On a side note, don’t you think that the PPL seems to be trumping over the confusing storyline? I can’t get the order of events right but I can remember LMH eating fried chicken every other episode.

Alright, let’s begin.

Disclaimer: If you get annoyed scrolling because this post is too long. This is exactly how I feel every single time a PPL pops up in my face while I’m watching the drama.

1. Yogiyo – Food delivery app in Korea

Yogiyo a food delivery company, something like ‘UberEats’, ‘FoodPanda’ or ‘Deliveroo’ or ‘GrabFood’ depending on your country’s context. It had been an early player in Korea’s food delivery market and it has been around for a long time (winning Best App in 2013). If you’re thinking of trying it out the next time you’re in Korea, you would need to be able to understand Korean as the app is fully in Korean.

Website: (Korean) https://www.yogiyo.co.kr

Episode 1

One of the police man was posing as a delivery driver to capture the criminal in the first crime scene where they found the body in the car boot.

Episode 2

The scene where Kim Go Eun first discovered the white horse at her house

Episode 9

“Wow, this thing is pretty smart.. it can recommend the stuff that Mr Lee likes..”

2. Paris Baguette

This is a famous bakery in Korea (more than 3,000 shops), likely operated on franchise model. They even expanded overseas and I think there are a couple of outlets in Singapore. I love the milk pudding and a couple of years ago, I used to eat the Patbingsoo (Red Bean Shaved Ice) quite often. No idea if it’s still on their menu now though.

Episode 2

Address: Paris Baguette (Hongdae) 99 Wausan-ro, Seogyo-dong, Mapo-gu, Seoul, South Korea
파리바게뜨 홍대카페점, 서울 마포구 와우산로 99 1층 (우)04055

Episode 9

“The bread here tastes exactly like the bread in royal court.”

“Bread should be eaten with Jam.” “Keep in mind that it tastes great without Jam as well.”

3. Georgia Coffee

It is a drink brand distributed by LG (H&H) but I think it belongs to the coca cola brand. I heard it doesn’t exactly taste nice but let me know if you do manage to try it! I’m not a fan of bottled coffee though.

Georgia Coffee: http://www.lghnh.com/global/brand/detail.jsp?gbn=3&bid1=R013

Body Health W: http://www.lghnh.com/global/brand/detail.jsp?gbn=3&bid1=R040

Episode 2

Gifted by LMH’s admirers in the library.

Episode 3

I’m pretty sure the whole trolley of goods belongs to their sponsors, but there you go, Gerogia Coffee in their trolley.

FYI, the one in the green cap is called ‘Toreta’ (fruity hydration drink) and it had been featured in Goblin previously.

Episode 4

Episode 8

4. BBQ Olive Chicken

I have a love-hate relationship with this product feature. I honestly feel like eating fried chicken every time such scenes appear in the drama and I am thankful that my country does not exactly provide much late-night supper options. I’m pretty sure the fried chicken sales go up significantly in Korea after every fried chicken feature.

This is a very rich brand. They have previously sponsored for Goblin and Crash Landing on You too. Right now, Lee Min Ho is the brand’s face and oh my gawd I wondered how much they had to pay for it. FYI: BBQ stands for Best of the Best Quality.
Note: Filming took place in their actual restaurant outlet. One was at Jong-no branch (BBQ Olive Chicken) and I’m still unsure about the other outlet in Episode 7

  • A plate of chicken will cost you 19,000W to 21,000W (should be enough for 2 pax) and you can mix and match 2 flavours to get the half-and-half set that Lee Gon is so fascinated with.

Episode 2

Episode 3

Episode 7

5. Aston Martin Kiheung

If I’m not wrong, Kiheung is like the car distributor brand for Aston Martin in Korea. However, I’m kind of waiting for the reason why she is so rich in the show, to be able to afford 2 luxury cars. Assuming she is that rich, why does she need to work in the cafe instead of hiring more staff? Are we ever going to find out more about her background?

Website: http://www.khg.kr/en/business/international_aston

Episode 2

Episode 6

Episode 8

6. The Alley

They currently have 25 outlets in Korea but I expect it to increase significantly as they are probably using the franchise route.
Note: the ‘cafe’ in the drama is not a real cafe. It’s only a production set in Cheongju which may be torn down after filming is completed.

  • Brown Sugar Deerioca: 5,300W

Website: The Alley Korea

Episode 2

Episode 3

Episode 4

Episode 5

Episode 7

‘It’s Crunchy’

 

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Episode 8

To be honest, this looks super sweet and I might want to give it a try once.

Reusable cup can be purchased at 7,000W and you will get a 300W discount when you use it.

7. Chung Jung One Fresh

This is a famous brand established since 1956. I’m pretty sure you have bought some of their products before in your local Korean Mart. They have an english website which features their product offerings but it is not very updated.

If you’re in Korea, you can shop from the drama promotion products here.

Episode 3

Stir-fry eel: (korean) http://www.chungjungone.com/brandstory/product/productView.do?pi_seq=506

Costs about 8,000W for a box.

8. Jestina

This is a jewelry and bag brand that has sponsored a lot of K-dramas before.
Here’s the link to their collection which was featured in the drama: (Korean) https://www.jestina.co.kr/pages/1683
So far, it has been featured in episode 1, 7 and 8.
Link to item: (180,000W):

9. Cheong Kwan Jang Red Ginseng Extract

If you have been watching K-dramas, the Red Ginseng Extract (red packaging) is a common feature. I remember it was rather prominent in DOTS where Song Joongki kept eating it randomly in every other episode.

Website: Red Ginseng Extract

Episode 7

 

Episode 13

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10. Jongga Stir-fry Kimchi

Jongga is a 30-year old traditional brand specializing in korean food. Mainly Kimchi, side dishes (pan chan) etc.

Link to Kimchi: http://www.jongga.co.kr/product/productView.do?prd_no=92

Episode 8

Episode 9

“You need Kimchi with Sweet Potatoes” seriously.. this combination, is it delicious or pure randomness?

Episode 13

Whole Cabbage Kimchi: http://www.jongga.co.kr/product/productView.do?prd_no=163

11. Kahi Skincare

I think it is not just this balm stick, but her entire range of skincare is sponsored by Kahi. I can’t seem to find much information about Kahi. It seems like a really new brand (by Korea Tech) which just launched in April 2020. Kim Go Eun is also the official spokesperson for this brand.

Website: KAHI Skincare

Episode 8

Episode 13

Link to item: (42,000W) Kahi Balm Stick

Salmon Collagen for dry skin care, wrinkle bounce care that repels wrinkles, enhances makeup lasting power

Link to item: (49,000W) Kahi Golden Time Mist Ampoule

This brand does not ship ‘overseas’ but if you’re keen on getting the item, Trazy has a proxy shopping service where you will be able to purchase the item via them and they will ship it to your country!

Flagship store in Korea: 12 Bongeunsa-ro 49-gil, Gangnam-gu, Seoul (Nonhyeon-dong) Korea Tech Building

Nearest Station: Seonjeongneung Station (Line 9)

12. CELLRETURN LED mask

This LED mask was launched back in 2014, where Kang Sora had been the face of the brand. It had evolved from having 200 LEDs to 1,026 LEDs today. Lee Minho has also become the face of this brand since Jan 2020.

Link to item: (English) http://en.cellreturn.com/product/cellreturn-led-mask-platinum1026leds/167/?cate_no=1&display_group=2

The price of the most premium mask (platinum) cost 2,100 USD, so do think twice before clicking the link above.
The cheapest version of the mask is 1,370 USD and I think I can have 15 to 20 facial sessions with that amount of money. Haha.

Episode 8

Episode 11

13. DPARKS HANDPHONE CASE

Jang Tae Eul’s Cover: Back to the future (30,000W): Link to item

Lee Gon’s Cover: Maximus horse (30,000W): Link to item

(Can someone help to provide episode and time stamp for a screenshot for Eunsob’s casing?)

EunSob’s Cover: X-ray Dinosaurs (30,000W): Link to item

Sponsors

While I am not 100% sure how agreements with sponsors work, their brands are not highlighted in the drama, but they are able to shout out on their individual SNS accounts and/or websites to say that they were a part of the drama’s production. I believe that these brands either provide a heavy discount or perhaps do sponsorship in return for some limited publicity.

Gentle Monster

I’m putting ‘Gentle Monster’ as a sponsor, not a PPL as there was no explicit mention of the brand (except for credits) or extended 3-seconds feature of the product.

Style – BLING 02(BR): Link to item (Please note that the product link may be invalid when the collection is over, assuming you’re reading this post a few years later.)

Style – JACK BYE 01: Link to item

Style – HER 01: Link to item

Style – CHAMELEON 02(BR): Link to item

Boucheron Paris

Most, if not all of her earrings and necklaces are by this brand. In case you’re wondering why they BLING so much, that’s because they have a price tag of >$20,000.

Link to earrings: https://www.boucheron.com/en/the-creations/jewelry/earrings/serpent-boheme-sleepers-white-gold-l-motif.html

Naschenka

Traditional Korean Jewellery/Accessories: http://en.naschenka.com/

Minwhee

Jewellery/Accessories: http://minwhee.co.kr/product/list.html?cate_no=389

Odense

Scandinavian Lifestyle Kitchen brand: https://www.odenseofficial.com/

Wadmall

Tea set, tea cup and tea leaves: http://wadmall.com/product/list.html?cate_no=894

HOMEDANT

Office Furniture, shelving, kids playroom: http://www.yjc81.com/prcenter/prcenter1?seq=625&page=1

Bosung Stone

I think they are the brick sponsors.

Website: http://bosungstone.net/index.html

More photos can be found here: https://blog.naver.com/shb7007/221907975253

Black Museum

Sponsor of furnishing: https://www.instagram.com/blackmuseum_official/

Crow Goose

Endorsement for the bed and mattress in Lee Minho’s bedroom: Crow Goose

Gain Living

More furnishing endorsement: Gain Living

Space Blinds

Furnishing endorsement for window blinds: Space Blinds

Horse Masters

White Horse (Maximus – its real name) is from Horse Masters

According to some articles that I’ve read, two horses were used for the filming as one horse was better for staying still and the other horse was better for riding. Kind of funny that even horses need to use stunt doubles right =p

Hoeng Seong Beef

I can’t determine if this was a product placement or a sponsor as the screen time is quite short. This is a beef supplier, not a feature for any particular restaurant. Anyway, if you do have the chance to visit Korea, you can give hanwoo a try but bear in mind, the price is usually x2 or x3 more expensive than the US/Australia beef.

Website: (korean) http://www.hbeef.com/

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To be updated..

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  • Dear Woman after my own Heart: Thank-you for that article! I actually went ballistic when K-drama started the PPL, and the forum I posted on at the time didn’t “get it.” I toyed with the idea of dropping K-drama, but there is no substitute, and the writing and production, as you said, was still excellente! I felt they were enslaving the writers, which was a serious infringement on their creativity. I started watching more of the old ones (Pre-PPL) and limped along with my resentment. I still believe it is a slippery slope to “you-know-where’, but there are so many things that ensnare us, I’ve tried to just be philosophical about it, somewhat. Doesn’t mean I don’t rant once in a while….:-))

    • Haha. I have the same sentiments as you! I’m recently watching ‘Coffee Prince’ which was 2007. Back then, they have to block the name and logos that they were featuring in the drama. I miss those days where you hardly get any distraction from the dramas. Sadly, with increasing production budgets, PPL is here to stay and instead of hating them, I’m starting to convince myself that they are kind of essential now. We just have to get used to it and laugh it over once in a while 🙂

  • I have always noticed the product placement in K-drama but didn’t know about the law before 2010 and after 2010. That explains why I noticed that the product placement has been increasing in recent K-drama. Love what you have written, very interesting.

    • Thanks for your comment! I only found out about the law when I was doing research to write this article. PPLs are annoying but I guess we will have to find a way to laugh it off as it’s gonna be the norm for K-dramas, except maybe for those that are about period history dramas. Haha!

  • Hello!

    I appreciate the article! I love searching for things I enjoyed in shows. Do you know where the plates and tea set in episode 5 (timestamp: 18:05) and 6 (timestamp: 18:16) are from please? I’ve been searching but keep coming up empty.

    • Hi there! This question is a little tough and I don’t think it was a PPL as there was no brand mention. The logo printed is just the logo of ROC so it might be a little tough to identify the tea set. If I do come across it, I’ll update this post, or hopefully, someone else who reads this can help!

    • Hey, I can’t seem to find any info about this. Do you know the episode and time stamp so I can re-look into that scene? Thanks!

  • Nice to see that someone else feels the same. I’m watching a lot of kdramas and i know its hard for the directors to get the money. But i feel like some dramas found really good solutions to make the ads not annoying (For example I really liked how they included the sponsors in “Memories of the Alhambra” as sponsors of the game. I wasnt even annoyed at Subway anymore in this drama even tho i really hate seeing Subway in dramas bc they are in a fcking ton of dramas…).
    So I don’t get why they had to put soooo many in “The King”… The only thing really expensiv must be the cgi of the palace (and the salary of LMH of course xD). I think they didn’t even tried to put the ads in smoothly. ..

    • Yes! The PPL really got on my nerves for this drama. There were many scenes that were made so awkward because of the PPL but I guess it could be the intention of the sponsors to have the scenes aired this way? They definitely spent a lot of money hiring LMH as this is his first drama out of army so.. let’s just suck it up and laugh off the PPL. It’s the price to pay for expensive writer and actors. I’m sure the horses were not cheap too. haha!

  • So informative. I am glad I found your blog when searching Jongga Kimchi in TKEM, and instead I found much more information from here. I dont mind the PPL at all. Looks like I am gonna be a regular here 😄.

    • Thanks for your comments and glad you found it useful! I don’t blog for all dramas but hopefully, something else would come in useful for you sometime in the future =D