Matthew Miller
Jul 29, 2014

The Italian job: Mind-boggling cosmetics ad exceeds 2 million views

KOREA - This Italian-language video promoting a cosmetic product from Amore Pacific brand IOPE may seem strange. But you really have no idea.

Korean subtitles over Italian

First of all, watch the video. We'll wait.

OK, what did you see? If you're like us, you saw a strange reality-show 'experiment' involving a make-up product, and you surmised that the film was produced in Europe because the participants and voiceovers were in Italian, as were the on-screen graphics. You noted the Korean subtitles and assumed the video was an import, adapted for the South Korea market. 

Perhaps you also noted the inherently fake aspects of the set-up: the scientists who are clearly not scientists, the questionable looking scientific apparatus, the conspicuous level of attractiveness of all of the participants/actors, the over-the-top and/or forced reactions/performances.

But even if you noted all of the above, you have failed to appreciate how fake this video actually is. For our contacts at Seoul-based agency Innored assure us that they produced the film—in Korea. In other words, the agency went to great lengths to hire Italian-speaking participants/actors and to produce a video that looks like an Italian-made video subtitled in Korean. (It also has English, Japanese and Chinese subtitles, which you can access through the YouTube controls.)

When asked for an explanation for this curious creative approach, a spokesperson replied that the agency intended to garner attention "by use of Italian's unique intonation". 

The video has scored more than 2.2 million views in 10 days, so you can't really argue Innored was wrong (although we will note the that product itself was already a runaway success before the video debuted).

To add another layer of odd, the Innored spokesperson asserted that despite the deliberate fakery, viewers should trust in the results of the 'experiment': "The Italian TV programme is not a real programme. However the experiment and shooting was a real situation. Our team didn't announce detail information of this experiment for guys' reaction."

Did the woman really receive a 33 per cent higher attractiveness rating from the men who saw her after she applied the product than from the ones who saw her before? To us, she just looks more shiny and perhaps slightly yellow. And a genuine Italian man we happen to know agreed he couldn't see much of a difference. We'll also note that the reactions of the men to her appearance before she used the product seem suspiciously lukewarm.

So are the people at IOPE and Innored mad, or mad geniuses? We'll leave that as an exercise for the reader—and the market.


Creative Director: Min Seo
Art Director: SM Park
Copy writer: TJ Yun
Account Manager: Jieon Kim

You may want to check out previous coverage of Innored's "teleportation" party for Chilsung Cider and its amusing approach to selling flushable wipes for Kleenex.

Also, IOPE is not the first brand to create a video in Korea using western actors. Samsung also tried the tactic, with disastrous results.



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