‘Fashion King’ Challenges ‘The King 2Hearts’ in a PPL Battle
SBS’ Fashion King is on the verge of taking over MBC’s The King 2Hearts... with PPLs (Product in Placement), that is.
PPLs are commercialized products, which are showcased in movies or dramas as special prizes or props. They are usually shown inconspicuously and are naturally accepted by viewers. When placed in very popular dramas or movies, PPLs are the best marketing strategy.
But the problem is that they are sometimes shown quite obviously at random times. Among all the different dramas from the week, the PPLs in MBC’s The King 2Hearts have been the most eye-catching and the most pointed out.
The drama has been grabbing attention, starting with the similarities in the pronunciation of the title, The King 2Hearts with the donut company, Dunkin Donuts. Dunkin Donuts is a production sponsor for the drama, but both have stated that there is no relation with the drama title and the company.
It seems too close to be called a pure coincidence, but the problem isn’t just with the title alone. Dunkin Donuts appears in the drama as something to enjoy in the morning, and the food to eat as a snack turns out to be Dunkin Donuts as well.
As The King 2Hearts is being criticized for its blatant usage of PPLs, getting in the way of the story, Fashion King is closely chasing after. Not with ratings, but with PPLs.
When viewers are trying to immerse in the actors and the elegant fashion of Fashion King, the Korean yogurt brand R&B (Rhythm and Balance) get in the way. To quickly pass a meal, the characters drink R&B instead of eating, and the characters drinks R&B while they are working.
During the broadcast on May 1, R&B was given to both Shin Se Kyung and Yuri. Shin Se Kyung enjoys the drink with bread, and two colleagues give R&B to Yuri.
The product’s popularity may be on the rise, but the single digit rating for Fashion King proves otherwise. With Yoo Ah In from the movie Punch, Lee Je Hoon from Architecture 101, ‘innocent & glamorous’ Shin Se Kyung, and Hallyu star Girls’ Generation’s Yuri, the drama is showing disappointment. It’s not that different with The King 2Hearts. With actress Ha Ji Won, who surpassed 10,000 audience members with her movie, and the national trend, Lee Seung Gi, the drama is just hoping to not come in last in the Wednesday and Thursday drama competition.
Of course, the excessive PPLs can’t be the sole reason for low ratings, but why is it that Dunkin Donuts and R&B are being highlighted more than actors who are guaranteed successes? It is a problem to ponder on.
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Photo Credit: MBC, SBS Screen Capture