Financial groups turn to celebrities to refine corporate image

Actress Park Eun-bin / Courtesy of KB Financial Group

Actress Park Eun-bin / Courtesy of KB Financial Group

By Lee Kyung-min

Celebrities dominating the ad market is nothing new. However, only a select few have the opportunity to represent financial groups.

Popularity is important, but not as much as trustworthiness, according to industry insiders.

KB Financial Group picked actress Park Eun-bin as its spokesmodel last March.

Her professionalism and authenticity, as demonstrated during the 2022 hit TV series “Extraordinary Attorney Woo,” matched the values the financial group seeks to bolster, according to the firm.

It cited a video clip of her murmuring “What am I going to do? I’ll just have to do it,” during a violin practice that went viral.

The short clip was recorded six months into her violin practice, a skill she had to master for her role as one of the characters, a seasoned violinist.

Many young viewers found her response to the challenges admirable, viewing it as a sign of professionalism and commitment.

Park has been acting since 1996, but she lived a life of relative obscurity until the success of the 2022 hit.

Years of her work went seemingly unnoticed, but she did not give up and kept on trying. It was the secret to her success, the financial group said.

“Figure skating great Kim Yuna, KB Financial’s widely known spokesperson, sought to embody the group’s ambition that the best in Korea will become the best in the world through the lifelong story of her growth as a professional figure skater,” a KB Financial official said.

“In the case of Park, the message will be about how consistency and sincerity can become the driving force behind creating a better world. We expect Park can convey messages of hope for a better future that the people and KB Financial will create together.”

Images of Son Heung-min are on the buildings of Hana Financial Group in the Myeong-dong area of central Seoul. Courtesy of Hana Financial Group

Images of Son Heung-min are on the buildings of Hana Financial Group in the Myeong-dong area of central Seoul. Courtesy of Hana Financial Group

Similarly, Hana Financial Group chose Son Heung-min, captain of the football club Tottenham Hotspur, as the spokesperson for its affiliates, including Hana Bank.

The footballer signed a contract to represent Hana in 2018.

Last November, Hana created Hana Play Park near the Myeong-dong branch of the bank in downtown Seoul.

Large murals of Son will become a major tourist attraction in one of the busiest commercial areas of the country, the group said.

“Son is the living embodiment of excellence, perseverance and success. His years of hard work have been and will continue to be inspiring to not only Koreans but also the world. Hana is glad to sponsor such an exemplary professional high-achiever,” a Hana official said.

According to an analysis by Brand Reputation Index Korea, Son recently ranked as the top commercial model in terms of reputation. The analysis revealed that Son was associated with keywords such as “trust,” “fondness,” and “good-hearted,” and he had a positive response rate of 92.11 percent.

Singer IU / Courtesy of Woori Financial Group

Singer IU / Courtesy of Woori Financial Group

Singer IU has led the corporate brand campaign for Woori Financial Group since April 2022. The monthly active users of its banking app have spiked by 2.46 million since, according to the bank.

Woori-published calendars bearing images of IU were offered for free at branches of Woori Bank late last year. But some of them are being traded online for as much as 15,000 won ($11.30).

The singer debuted in 2008, and has since built her career without any major scandals that could have dented her squeaky-clean image.

“She is a singer with a broad fan base encompassing both young and old generations. Her continued donations for the underprivileged also help with her image as a spreader of goodwill,” a Woori official said.

NewJeans / Courtesy of Shinhan Financial Group

NewJeans / Courtesy of Shinhan Financial Group

Shinhan Financial hired NewJeans, a girl group, as its spokesmodels last December. The Shinhan Super SOL, its mobile app, topped 3 million new subscribers as of Jan. 26, within about a month after its launch.

“Our new app is becoming more popular, as aided in large part by the new campaigning activities of the girl group,” a Shinhan official said.


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