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The Korea Herald
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THE INVESTOR
June 24, 2024

Market Now

Hana Financial Group targets baby boomers with Lim Young-woong

  • PUBLISHED :March 04, 2024 - 09:46
  • UPDATED :March 04, 2024 - 09:47
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A Hana Financial Group ad features trot singer Lim Young-woong. (Hana Financial Group)

In just nine days of its release, a 16-second video featuring trot singer Lim Young-woong posted on YouTube by Hana Bank has garnered over 6.8 million views as of Sunday.

The video introduces the 32-year-old singer as the new face of Hana Financial Group, one of Korea's top five financial conglomerates. The YouTube channel of the group's banking subsidiary Hana Bank has also seen a substantial increase in subscribers, jumping from 188,000 to 218,000 within the same period.

Hana's decision to select Lim as its new face follows its collaboration with global soccer sensation Son Heung-min and An Yu-jin from the girl group Ive.

While it's common for financial firms to use young, popular stars as models, Hana's pick of Lim reflects a slight diversion from the recent trend.

Lim, an audition show-made star, is currently the most coveted -- and the most expensive, as industry sources claim -- "star for modeling."

Following his breakout success as the champion of the singing audition program "Mr Trot" in 2020, Lim and his "mom" fans in their 40s, 50s and 60s rose as game changers in the local music scene that has largely been dominated by K-pop idols. Backed by his fervent supporters, the young trot singer quickly rose to prominence and topped digital music charts, selling 1.1 million albums and selling out nationwide concert tours, all feats considered significant even for popular idol groups.

In announcing Lim as its new ambassador, Hana described him as a singer who "transcends generations and genders," underlining its commitment to catering to customers of all ages.

With Son Heung-min, the company expanded its reach to a younger demographic, while An Yu-jin targeted teenagers and those in their twenties. Now, with Lim, Hana aims to solidify its position among middle-aged consumers.

Hana's choice of Lim underscores the growing importance of baby boomers -- those born between the late 1950s and early 1970s -- in the finance industry and the need for companies to target them, according to Professor Lee Eun-hee, who teaches consumer studies at Inha University.

"Baby boomers, who have either retired or are set to retire, represent a generation that is notably more educated and affluent compared to previous ones. With life expectancies projected to exceed 100 years, attracting them as new customers holds significant future value for financial companies" Lee told The Korea Herald, adding that the choice of Lim as a brand ambassador can be seen as a strategic move to target this demographic.

An industry official commented on Hana's move, stating, "Financial companies typically choose ambassadors based on their target customer base. While many opt for stars with broad, cross-generational appeal, Hana made a daring decision to target a specific yet loyal group."

Although ads don't directly lead to an instant surge in sales for financial services, strategic marketing through ambassadors can be highly effective in changing brand image and attracting new customer bases.

For instance, the industry has increasingly hired K-pop idols as brand ambassadors in recent years to appeal to younger customers and shed its conservative image. Shinhan Financial Group recently appointed girl group NewJeans as its official ambassador, while aespa and NCT Dream modeled for Kookmin Bank.

To target older customers, Woori Bank recently partnered with veteran actress Kim Hee-ae to represent its asset management brand Two Chairs. This marks the first time the bank has appointed a model specifically for its asset management service.

By Choi Ji-won (jwc@heraldcorp.com)

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