Ad Nut
May 20, 2019

Icons or ink: Two ways to sell beer in Korea

'Become an icon' or 'Be a King': In campaigns for two AB InBev brands in Korea, Wieden+Kennedy and Virtue take very different tacks.

Icons or ink: Two ways to sell beer in Korea

A blast from the past by a trio of accomplished women and a confrontational celebration of an artform that remains taboo even among the young feature in new campaigns for AB InBev brands Stella Artois and Budweiser, respectively, in Korea. 

For Stella Artois, Wieden+Kennedy Tokyo gathered three well-known and successful women—actress SeoHyung Kim, musician YoonAh Kim, and pioneer comedy and content creator EunYi Song—to croon a remake of a 1990s ballad titled 'You can do it'.

The 'Become an icon' campaign, the first major local effort for the brand in Korea, carries the hashtag #UnstoppableJourney and includes the film above (in 90-, 30-, 15- and 6-second versions for TV, cinema and digital), as well as OOH and digital content shot by another accomplished woman, fashion photographer Zo Sun Hi. 

Budweiser worked with Virtue, the agency belonging to Vice, to deliver a local instantiation of its 'Be a King’ campaign. 'How bold are you' takes on the topic of tattoos. The body-modification artform still carries something of a social stigma in Korea, and artists are forced to work 'underground' because of licensing requirements. 

Translation for the video:

How bold are you?
When the world judges you.

How bold are you?
When the world judges you
It seems a bit scary.
It feels rebellious.
Um. That’s just not right.
They seem hard to approach.
It’s still a bit hard for me…
Um… I think it’s…
I feel negative towards them.
It seems disgusting.
I think it’s a little…
I don’t think it will help them
I just don’t like it.

Be a King.
Budweiser. BE A KING.

In addition to the film above, the campaign includes a photography and art exhibition, a limited-edition can, and a series of video profiles.

Ad Nut always appreciates when big brands bring local culture and talent into their campaigns for specific markets. It's even better when the work appears more than just skin deep, and in this case it seems both brands/agencies have done their homework and made earnest efforts. The exhibition and profile content lend an air of sincerity to the Budweiser campaign, which could come off as a shallow appeal to youth without those aspects. And although Ad Nut can't really claim enough cultural knowledge to predict how it will land in the market, the Stella Artois campaign is charming in a cheezy and pleasantly nostalgiac way. It's a lot better than the brand's silly Super Bowl ad, anyway.     


Virtue declined to provide a credit list.

Stella Artois:
Stella Artois
VP Marketing, AB InBev Korea: Alexsandro B. X. Pinto
High End Brands Associate Director: Jie-Soo Lee
Stella Artois Senior Brand Manager: Min-Hee Kim

Wieden+Kennedy Tokyo
Creative Director: Jordi Luna
Art Director: Shaun Sundholm
Copywriter: Luke Sacherman
Junior Art Director: Chae-Yeong Seo, Sol Oh
Creative & Cultural Consultant: Jina Kim
Designer: Donna Kwon
Agency Producer: Skyler Courter
Account Team: Ryan Johnson, Becky Levy, Ara Jo
Strategic Planner: Ben Mason
Comms Planner: Justin Lam
Photography producer/Production Manager: Yoko Onodera
Studio Manager: Kiki Bowman
Executive Creative Directors: Mike Farr (マイク・ファー), Tota Hasegawa (長谷川踏太)

Film production
Somesuch UK
Director: Raine Allen Miller
DOP: Mauro Chiarello
Executive Producer: Nicky Barnes
Producer: Leslie Vaughn
Production Designer: Anna Rhodes
DIT: Calvin Reibman

Service production
Mr Romance
Producer: Danny Kang
First AD: Byung Cha
Production Supervisor: Bong Hoon Cho
Production Coordinator: Sara Ghezelbash
First AC: Chang Mo Gu
Gaffer: Jae Hyuk Lee
Korean Production Designer: Cho Hye Kim
Casting Director: Hwae Jung Yin
Location Manager: Chang Min Lee
Choreographer: Hyun Moon Kim

Celebrity casting and styling
Casting & Visual Director: Jin-Woo Choi
Stylist: Min Gyu Lee
Hair Stylist: Woo Jun Kim & Jun Ho Ma
Makeup Artist: Bom Lee &  Soo Yeon Park

Editor: Greg Scruton
Post Producer: Michelle Dorsch & Rebecca Boorsma
Assistant Editors: Brad Dupuie &  Danny Kim
Colorist: Ricky Gausis
Music rearrangement: Jonathan Sanford
Sound Designer/ Mixer: Rommel Molina

Ad Nut is a surprisingly literate woodland creature that for unknown reasons has an unhealthy obsession with advertising. Ad Nut gathers ads from all over Asia and the world for your viewing pleasure, because Ad Nut loves you. You can also check out Ad Nut's Advertising Hall of Fame, or read about Ad Nut's strange obsession with 'murderous beasts'.


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