According to industry officials, as the 2022 Qatar World Cup is fast approaching, Korean retailers are in a mad rush to cast Tottenham Hotspur Forward and South Korea Team Captain Son Heung Min in their commercials.
One of the country’s largest convenience store chains, CU, has already signed up Son as its brand model as of November 10. CU plans to hold a promotional event in support of the national team through gifts and tickets to Son’s football matches in England to be given away. During the World Cup period, CU will also offer special discounts on beer, snacks, and convenience food in its stores.
On the other hand GS25, another convenience store company, has signed an official license agreement in August with Tottenham to use its brand for marketing. GS25 will be selling various World Cup and Son items in its stores. Based on their market analysis, sales of fried chicken and alcoholic beverages double on the days of World Cup football matches when compared against normal days.
The convenience store market in South Korea has been a competitive industry. CU owns the largest number of stores, but GS25 has higher sales as of the third quarter of this year. GS25 and CU has sales of ₩2.08 trillion KRW (about $1.58 billion USD) and ₩2.05 trillion KRW (about $1.56 billion USD) respectively, for the same period.
Nongshim, the country’s largest instant noodle maker, has also tapped Son as its spokesmodel. Son was also Nongshim’s advertising model in September, following earlier contracts signed in 2019 and 2020. “We plan to strengthen our brand power of steady-selling Shin Ramyun with Son, a world-class football star that represents Korea,” a Nongshim official said.
A fast food restaurant chain operated by Lotte GRS, Lotteria, launched its Super Sonny Pack meal to compete head-on with the new burger brands such as Super Duper and Five Guys, coming to Korea early next year.
Korea’s domestic burger market grew from ₩1.90 trillion KRW (about $1.45 billion USD) in 2013to to 4 trillion won in 2021. The market is expected to grow to ₩5.00 trillion KRW (about $3.80 billion USD) next year.