Subway Quadruples Stores and Sales in Four Years Thanks to K-drama Product Placement

The strategy has paid off so that’s the upsize for a sandwich brand that has bedeviled my K-drama watching experience for the past few years. I remember the first K-drama when Subway first showed up excessively and prominently, it was Prime Minister and I in 2013 and since then it’s been the most glaring PPL offender around. There are lots of coffee shops that sponsor PPL so everyone drinks coffee in dramas but it’s spread out among various chains, whereby Subway is the only sandwich chain to pile on drama PPL hence it hammers home the brand. The pinnacle was probably getting into the two biggest dramas in 2016 with Descendants of the Sun and then Goblin but there are so many dramas where I’m told to believe that the rice and noodle loving folks of South Korea have an excessive craving for boring US sandwiches. Congrats to the brand though because their onslaught PPL campaign worked – the media is reporting that sales and store openings have quadrupled in four years from 2014-2018, with the biggest spike in the year 2016.


Subway Quadruples Stores and Sales in Four Years Thanks to K-drama Product Placement — 15 Comments

  1. I don’t understand how Koreans can be so affected by celebrities and dramas products endorsement. To think that products such as noodle, coffee even have celeb spoke-person is something I could not brain. I mean, if I want to drink a certain coffee brand, I couldn’t care less who is the celeb-endorser. And even when I like a certain actor, I don’t care what he or she endorsed, I would still go for something that I like. To me, it’s about my taste, not theirs.

    • Me too,even fashion. I love kdramas for the story and cinematography.
      If the actors and actresses are good looking then that’s just a plus.

  2. I always thought it was a brilliant marketing strategy. I wouldn’t say that it is only in Korea that people respond to product placement. If you see Hollywood movies, there are plenty of product placement and it works or else companies of have quit doing this ‘marketing strategy’. People all over the world fall for marketing tactics.

    • Suits is full of them too. It’s more discreet in American TV shows though. KES dramas have THE WORST PPL. Can never forget how even supposedly romantic scenes in Dots had PPL

  3. Even kdrama placements won’t stop koreans from eventually getting physically averse to the “subway store smell” Oh God, I can even smell it right now, no!!! I say this as someone who used to go to Subway multiple times a week years ago lmao. I haven’t stepped foot in a subway in years after finding higher quality sandwich shops.

    Maybe Subway learned from feedback to their American franchises and use more real ingredients and have a wider array of sandwich options. If the subway smell is still present in Korean subway stores though, then Corporate had better beware. Or maybe not because Koreans seem extremely persuasive when it comes to celebrity endorsements and it’s silly because you’ll see some netizens complaining about how much they earn and how lucky they are???

    • I might go into Subway the next time I am in Seoul. After all Korean KFc and McD have rice, spam and kimchi etc.

      Personally I can’t stand Subway in Australia and go there if I am desperate and wanted lots of vegies. Hate the meat option tastes. But if the SK version has bulgulgi or spicy pork might give it a whirl.

      I eat so well in SK. Why they heck would I want a Subway? I would rather go to a cafe or Paris Baguette.

      • It’s just lettuce, tomatoes, capsicum, cucumber, baby spinach, sliced onions, sliced olives and some of the worst tasting deli meat. The tomato meatballs are revolting. Even the choc chip cookie is yucky.

        You’re not missing much. I would rather have laksa, prata, fried noodles or some sort of rice dish rather than Subway

    • You are not missing much. You can certainly make those sandwiches at home…. Don’t waste your money on processed meat…

  4. Pingback: Subway’s Success in South Korea – The Digital Perspective

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