Korea Takes a Page from the US Playbook, May Ban Sports Stars in Beer Ads

Beer Ad

The Korean Academy of Addiction Psychiatry made an announcement this past weekend, stating that the country should consider a ban on the use of professional athletes in alcohol advertising. The doctors of the academy singled out a series of beer ads featuring South Korean figure skater Kim Yu-Na. According to Academy doctors, the use of sports stars in booze ads is responsible for high levels of binge drinking among teens and young adults.

“The government should introduce regulations to prevent sports stars from appearing in alcohol advertisements,” Shin Young-chul of the KAAP said. He added, “This is a country that suffers from increasing drinking problems, but the government is still disregarding the seriousness of the issue and has yet to make genuine efforts to improve the country’s drinking culture. The governments in advanced nations impose stronger controls over how beverages makers market their products than over here.”

Kim Yu-Na vaulted onto the international stage in 2010 after winning a gold medal at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Since April, she has been the spokesmodel for Hite brand beer’s Ice Point product. Though she has appeared in ads for other products, Hite marks her first foray into booze-related ads.

Here in the US, beer and sports go hand in hand. As early as the 1970s, beer companies like Miller were using pro football players as spokesmen for their products, and Charles Barkley was once the spokesperson for Coors. But those days are gone. NFL players aren’t allowed to endorse alcohol, with the MLB also having a similar contract rule in place (though players can promote alcohol for ads overseas).

While it might be unfair to place the blame for Korea’s youth drinking problem squarely on the shapely shoulders of one pro athlete, the real loss Koreans might face if booze ads become more regulated is clear: no more pictures of this Asian hottie having a good time.

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