[OP-ED] Korean trends that blew up because of K-dramas

Stacy Kadomasu, July 25, 2016, 12:17 p.m.


K-dramas have an extremely potent influence on viewers, crossing international borders and spreading Korean culture to the masses. That’s why we see so many not-so-subtle product placement in K-dramas, such as Laneige cosmetics used by Song Hye Gyo in ‘Descendants of the Sun’, or the latest Samsung Galaxies in practically every drama.

However, some trends gain an unexpected amount of popularity without deliberate marketing behind it. Here are some of the top trends that unintentionally arose from K-dramas!

1. Chicken & Beer

This delicious food pairing, known as 치맥(chi-maek) in Korean, was already immensely popular within Korea, with beer companies even hosting chicken and beer festivals. But after ‘You Who Came from the Stars’ became a smash hit in China, this decadent dish became an international favorite. After the drama aired, Lotte Mart’s chicken sales increased nearly 70% and beer sales sky-rocketed a whopping 125%!

2. Cellphone Ringtone

Ah, 2011 - a time when smartphones had more than one button and ringtones were still cool. Also, the year that ‘Secret Garden’ came out, an iconic K-drama that sprouted equally iconic fads, one of which was Ha Ji Won’s character Gil Ra Im’s adorable ringtone! “문자왔숑” (mun-ja-wa-sshong) is a cute way of saying “message arrived,” and almost every person with a cellphone had the same ringtone at the time.

3. Korean Soldier Language

‘Descendants of the Sun’ was THE drama of 2016, peaking at a 35.3% viewership rating and even causing marital troubles in China with its attractive characters. One of the many popular mementos from the drama is the distinct way of speaking that soldiers like Yoo Shi Jin and Goo Dae Young used, and caused many fans to copy the lingo in their everyday dialogue. More info on the technical linguistics here:

4. Birthday Coupons

Don’t know what to get for your friend? Get them some hand-written birthday coupons! That’s what Sung Shi Won (played by Jung Eun Ji) gives to Yoon Yoon Jae (played by Seo In Guk) every year in ‘Reply 1997’! These coupons were so popular, that the producers included a copy of the same coupons shown in the drama, ranging from “I’ll apologize no matter what” to “I’ll cry together with you” coupons, with the ‘Reply 1997’ DVD set!

5. The "Cindy" Makeup Look

IU not only busted out some of her best acting in ‘Producer’, but also inspired tons of fans to recreate her character Cindy’s signature look! Sporting a deep fuschia lip, flawless pale skin, and minimal eye makeup, many Youtube makeup gurus fell in love with IU’s look and even made their own versions of it! Here’s one of them:

Have you caught on to any of these trends too?

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