Popular Korean Dramas Under Fire For Blatant And Excessive Product Placement

It’s too much.

Viewers have recently been voicing complaints about the popular dramas  SKY Castle, Memories of Alhambra and Encounter due to excessive product placement.


On episode 16 of SKY Castle, the college entrance exam coordinator comforts her student by giving her a mint-colored bracelet from a certain brand. The student touches the bracelet and the camera heads in for a close-up of the product.

Touch this pendant whenever your thoughts are cluttered. The mint color has the power to reduce your heart rate.

ㅡ Coordinator from “SKY Castle”


In another scene, the rich mothers of SKY Castle randomly eat crab porridge at a well-known porridge franchise for one of their gatherings. Netizens are in disbelief of this particular case of product placement as the porridge franchise is known as a fairly cheap restaurant. Moreover, the characters would suddenly go out for a massage or drink a cup of coffee extracted from a famous coffee brand in a scene where it does not quite fit the context of the story.


The same goes for Memories of Alhambra, which recently featured over 6 product logos in a 60-minute episode. The dating scene of Woo Jin Woo (Hyun Bin) and Jung Hee Joo (Park Shin Hye) put focus on a lipstick that Hee Joo was putting on. It turns out, Park Shin Hye is the actual model for this lipstick brand. In the same scene, Hee Joo takes out a box with a clear view of the logo and the earrings inside are shown close up. Jin Woo later picks Hee Joo up in a luxurious car from a German brand.


According to an analysis of the two dramas by Chosun Biz, SKY Castle has introduced approximately 170 products in their drama while Memories of Alhambra introduced about 90. The range of products varied from cosmetics to clothing, accessories, beverages, massage chairs and even fingerprint recognition.


Moreover, dramas such as Encounter are also losing viewers and some claim that the influence of product placement which has no relation to the context of the plot is one of the reasons.


SKY Castle has received an audience rating of 19.2% and Memories of Alhambra 9.3% and with these two popular dramas coming to an end, the excessive product placement that does not necessarily add to the flow of the story has got viewers raising their eyebrows.

  • “But seriously the porridge scene was really random and funny”
  • “The other things I’ll just let go as props but the porridge was emphasized too blatantly that it was hard to watch. It’s the same for many other dramas but if the reason for raising product prices despite the cheap production costs is because of this type of advertisement, in the end, consumers are forced to watch things they don’t want to and pay more for products”
  • “The porridge was really terrible. Such blatant product placement makes me feel uncomfortable”
  • “The porridge advertisement was the worst”


Source: Chosun Biz