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Before I jump into the blissful ocean of Soju models, here is a brief history about Soju. Supposedly Soju was first distilled around the 13th century. Currently Jinro is the largest manufacturer of Soju with the most popular variety being “Chamisul.” However, Lotte BG’s “Like the First Time” is raising its market share. Also, each region in South Korea has its own common brand.
Soju for Koreans is like a wine for the French or Italians because Soju is usually consumed while eating dinner, and also in almost all social gatherings.
Now let’s begin to look into each Soju model to determine who the best is!
Lee Hyori represents “Like the First Time” and her concept is shaking the Soju bottle, because it makes her shake too! Frequently when Koreans drink Soju we shake the bottle before we drink in order to “make all the bad stuff equal out.” (Don’t Ask)
Her Soju posters are always a 5 out of 5 but I didn’t like her commercials THAT much, I give her commercials overall a 3.5 out of 5.
Uee also represents “Like the First Time” but the Soju itself is a product, with a lower alcohol level. Because the name is “Cool” her CF concept is “Think Casually.” In the commercial she asks suggestively “Am I Your First?” and the idea behind this commercial is to be cool, and take everything casually.
Uee’s poster and commercial are a personal favorite, 5 out of 5 for both!
Jinro’s “Chamisul” is pretty much the most popular brand in South Korea. Their commercials don’t really have a “concept” that stands out persay but “Chamisul” pushes the image that the Soju is cleaner, more neat, and natural. Lee Min Jung fits with this image very well. Her CF with DJ D.O.C was hilarious as Kim Chang Ryul is trying to seduce Lee Min Jung to stay and have another shot of Soju with him, so he begins to burst into song.
Lee Min Jung is gorgeous and so is her soju poster, but for some reason it doesn’t really make me want to drink soju, I just focus on her face. Her poster a 4 out of 5 but her CFs are always fun to watch 5 out of 5.
Jinro’s “J” is also a product that has a weaker alcohol level at 18.5%. The commercial concept is that “J” is more smooth, and also the image that Jinro portrays is that “J” is a healthier than other Soju products. Shin Min Ah fits in perfectly with this image, because something about her always seem very natural, elegant, and healthy (?!?!).
Her poster is a 4.5 out of 5 (Even though Shin Min Ah is right next to a huge bottle of Soju, I look at her and forget about the Soju, I didn’t even know its name was “J”). However, when I watched the CF I remember saying what in the world are they promoting? I give her CF a 2.5 out of 5.
Son Dambi represents “Charm” Soju and the concept behind the commercial is that a not-so-attractive girl becomes prettier as the guy in the commercial continues to take more shots. (*Cough* Beer Goggles) The Soju is “Charming” the guy who is drinking.
Gah. So beautiful, but her posters for Charm are typical and don’t play around with the concept of “Charm.” I give her poster a 3.5 out of 5. Her CF however is hilarious and fun to watch, 4.5 out of 5.
Baek Ji Young represents “Lip Sae Ju” which is a maple Soju and inside the commercial she asks the waiter for “Lips” (which implies that she wants somebody’s Lips).
I’m all for Baek Ji Young, loved her songs even before the whole scandal she went through. Loved her songs even more when she came back, but the posters and the CF doesn’t really do much for me. 3 out of 5 for both the posters and CF.
“Jeul Gyo Chat Gee” (Or My Favorites) is represented by Park Min Young. In the commercial she dances but gives out a youthful image. This new Soju product by Jinro has the weakest alcohol level and I believe that they chose Park Min Young in order to portray a more youthful and innocent image.
She’s definitely cute and pretty, and also fits well with “My Favorites” Soju. To be honest I tried out a bottle of this after I saw the commercial, you can tell I was hooked.
4 out of 5 for both her poster and CFs.
Honestly I had forgotten that Ha Ji Won was the model for “Chamisul’s Fresh” Soju. I only remembered a poster, and her CF wasn’t that memorable. Looking at her poster again though, I could only say “Wow.” The commercial on the other hand isn’t that great, they could have played around with the concept of “fresh” a little more. Her poster I give a 20 out of 5 but her CF is a a fail.
The Final Verdict!
The winner is: Lee Hyori, Hands down.
Personally, I loved Uee’s Soju posters and commercials the most, but for some reason when I think of Soju I think of Lee Hyori, and when I think of Lee Hyori I think of Soju. They obviously did something right, and thus I believe Lee Hyori is the queen of Soju!
According to Donga, Lee Hyori is the celebrity with the longest CF contract with a Soju brand. She has been a Soju model for 3 years and 7 months. Baek Ji Young has been one for a year and 11 months (Lip Sae Joo), and Lee Min Jung has been a Soju model for a year and 4 months. (Chamisul)
Lee Hyori changed the game of Soju models because in the past it was dominated by female actresses. Also, Lee Hyori played a large part in the success of “Like the First Time” Soju. Her commercials were so popular that Koreans came out with an idea called “Hyori Joo” or “Hyori Drink.” For those of you who haven’t heard of this concept, I have made a how-to-make a “Hyori Drink” tutorial.
1) Get a bottle of “Like the First Time”
2) Make sure the bottom of your Soju glass is slightly wet
3) Rip out the part of the bottle that has Lee Hyori and attach it to the bottom of the Soju glass
Now whenever you drink, Lee Hyori is smiling at you :). In South Korea I have seen glasses that have Lee Hyori attached at the bottom, and supposedly when Lee Hyori drinks with other celebrities she shows them how to make her drink!
*Disclaimer: This list of Soju Models is completely subjective and based upon the writer’s own personal opinion. If you disagree with me, tell me about it!