Food Industry Scrambles to Tap into Pengsoo’s Popularity | Be Korea-savvy

Food Industry Scrambles to Tap into Pengsoo’s Popularity

Pengsoo enthusiasts expand over large spectrums of the South Korean society. (Yonhap)

Pengsoo enthusiasts expand over large spectrums of the South Korean society. (Yonhap)

SEOUL, Nov. 20 (Korea Bizwire)Pengsoo, a penguin character from the education broadcasting company EBS is being wooed by the food industry for marketing.

Binggrae Co., a major dairy maker, recently met with EBS to discuss a potential marketing program with Pengsoo in the lead.

Binggrae held a competition last month to select the best imitator of a dance that appeared in its own commercial, which became popular after Pengsoo turned out to have participated in the competition.

Pengsoo was eliminated from the competition after a poor performance. The character gained massive popularity soon after, and Binggrae posted on social media that it has been “regretting its decision.”

Pengsoo was approached by other companies as well.

Seafood giant Dongwon Group, famous for its tuna cans, and Lotte Confectionery Co., maker of Butter Coconut biscuits, both of which are Pengsoo’s ‘favorite food,’ have also contacted EBS for marketing opportunities.

The reason that the food industry is scrambling over Pengsoo lies in their strategy to target local consumers in their 20s and 30s, who are major consumers of the Pengsoo brand.

Pengsoo enthusiasts expand over large spectrums of the South Korean society, ranging from university students to office workers, and line up perfectly with the food industry’s main targets, women in their 20s and 30s.

Using popular K-Pop stars for marketing limits the scope of the commercial to fans.

Pengsoo, in contrast, is becoming a sensation among those in their 20s and 30s in general, demonstrating potential for expansion that can go beyond K-pop stars.

Recruiting Pengsoo also helps avoid the risk of having to shut down all commercials when a modelling celebrity gets embroiled in a major scandal.

Pengsoo attended a 'fan meeting' in Busan on Oct. 26, 2019. (image: EBS)

Pengsoo attended a ‘fan meeting’ in Busan on Oct. 26, 2019. (image: EBS)

The fact that Pengsoo is a ‘newbie’ in the commercial business yet to engage in any contract with any of the food companies is also a plus.

The food companies, therefore, are competing to lay first hands on Pengsoo with its popularity is rapidly on the rise. “Companies want to sign with Pengsoo before others do,” said an industry source.

Pengsoo’s popularity continues as fans are willing to get hop on a KTX train to catch a signing event held in Busan, and television channels are inviting Pengsoo to appear on their variety shows.

It is not the first time that a popular fictional character has modelled for the food industry.

Characters from Kakao Friends, led by Ryan the maneless lion, were recruited as models for Dong Suh Foods Corp. and Seoul Dairy Cooperative in 2018 and 2019.

“A brand becomes younger when it recruits characters as models,” said a source familiar with Dong Suh Foods. “There were actual gains in sales, which was seen as a success internally.”

Lina Jang (

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>