Using male celebrities to endorse Korean cosmetic products (for both men and women) is a brilliant marketing idea because the endorsement attracts both male and female customers to the beauty products.
Before the idea of using male celebrities for Korean cosmetics advertisements, Korean female celebrities who appeared in K-dramas were and still are invited to be in these advertisements and this strategy has been proven to bring success to the Korean cosmetics industry. In South Korean Culture Goes Global, Kim and Ryoo mention that Kim Nam Ju, the actress from a hit TV drama of 1997, Model, brought LG Debon to become the cosmetics market leader after it casted Kim in its TV advertisements.
Nowadays, K-pop fans or Koreans in general are probably familiar with the images of Lee Min Ho in his button up shirt and pink bowtie with his charming smile on the sweet pink background of Etude House’s posters, or the to-die-for smile of Kim Hyun Joong while he is holding a tube of BB Cream for The Face Shop. These two famous celebrities with others such as SHINee and G-Dragon are not only spreading the Korean Wave fever all over Asia but they are also “enlisted by the country’s cosmetics firms as they try to expand beyond its borders to take on global giants like L’Oreal and Unilever across the continent.” (http://news.msn.com/world/s-korean-boy-bands-pitch-cosmetics-to-women-and-men). Marketing manager of LG Household’s The Face Shop- the cosmetics brand that has over 1,000 overseas stores, Kim Hee-jeong, shares that cosmetics sales tend to mirror the popularity of Korean cultural exports, so K-pop starts are the best way to market their products.
The first reason to explain why using male celebrities is an awesome marketing strategy is because it now even attracts male customers by making it acceptable for young Asian men to buy beauty products. With the conservative Korean culture, masculine men tend to have dominated the social scene. However, the latest numbers show a surprising trend of Korean men striving to look beautiful. Research firm Euromonitor says that South Korean men spend $495.5 million in total last year for cosmetics; that is nearly 21% of global sales of men’s cosmetics. The reason for this men’s cosmetics sales boom in South Korea is simple; it is all thanks to the handsome male celebrities posing as models in the advertisements of these cosmetics products. The beauty standard has evolved from strong masculine to a softer look of feminine (http://abcnews.go.com/International/korean-flower-men-increasingly-turning-cosmetics-plastic-surgery/story?id=17328380#.UXdFnLWG2So). This look spreads all over East Asia as well. Lenard Heng, a 26-year-old Malaysian graphic designer responds when he was asked for the reasons of using makeup: “The male K-pop stars are very good looking and I think the makeup helps them look good. So why not me as well?” In Thailand, Pitak Lamsamang, 28 years old, shares, “In Korea male stars use foundation so a few of my guy friends in Bangkok have started wearing foundation too.”
This is all I have for the draft version so far. A more complete version is coming soon.