10 Consumer Hits 1950-2007
The Korea Times, the nation’s first English daily, turns 57 on Nov. 1. The TOP 10 Series will feature the biggest news stories, scandals, events, figures, surprises and memorable moments in the coming weeks, in celebration of the anniversary. The series will allow our readers to revisit these moments of the past. Current and former staff members of the oldest English daily selected the Top 10s through internal meetings, online surveys and advice from outside experts. If you have differing opinions, let us know by email (email@example.com).
Lotte Chilsung Cider (like 7up -1950)
As the first soda made in Korea, Chilsung Cider rose as one of the country’s most popular soft drinks, selling more than 15 billion bottles over the past 57 years. The lemon-lime drink, for the first time, recently outsold its longtime competitor Coca-Cola by recording 126 billion won in January-June sales, with Coke following at 124 billion won.
The soda maker says Chilsung Cider’s ongoing strength grew even stronger, pushed by the well-being trend and consumers’ distaste for caffeine and artificial coloring . none of which the Korean equivalent of Sprite has. Its series of image upgrades targeted at the younger generation, while playing up its clean and pure campaigns, were also attributed to the soda’s long haul.
Taking up about 40 percent of the local soft drink market, Lotte Chilsung, which exports to Vietnam and China, says its next step is to continue its expansion onto the world stage by increasing global sales.
Aekyung (dishwashing liquid) Trio (1966)
Bringing massive relief to homemakers, Aekyung Industrial put out the nation’s first dishwasher liquid ‘Trio’ onto the market in 1966. The product became an instant bestseller, as it allowed cleansing of not only dishes, but vegetables and fruits as well . which is where the name Trio comes from.
The detergent was listed in the Korean Guinness Book in 2001 for being the longest running kitchen cleanser and selling more than 500 million bottles.
Although a series of copycat products poured out from other makers over the years, Trio still takes up 30 percent of the market. And company officials say the consistent brand image . red cap and yellow container . helped the detergent be passed along from mother to daughter.
Orion Choco-pie (like a hostess cake – 1974)
Dubbed a quintessential Korean treat, Orion Choco Pie leads the local confectionary industry with its long history and sales record.
The marshmallow-filled chocolate snack is not only a favorite of children, but also of the country’s military, as they are supplied with the snack after their first week of basic training, which adds to its symbolic image and campaign of “jeong” (compassion, love for another).
After Orion’s production of the American equivalent of “moon pie,” other confectionaries, including Lotte, Haitai and Crown, began making their own snacks as well, but Orion has maintained its top seller status.
The maker sees about 100 billion won in annual revenue just from Choco Pie and its overseas sales have continued to grow, mainly in China, Russia and Vietnam.
Company officials say the brand’s friendly image is its winning point, as the snack . through the “jeong” campaign . spread the message of “love and care.”
Hyundai Sonata (1985)
Wheeling out its first model in 1985, Sonata . Hyundai’s front brand . is the oldest car name that is still a bestseller today.
The mid-sized sedan went through five major redesigns . Y1 in 1985, Y2 in 1988, Y3 in 1993, EF in 1998 and NF in 2004 . over the past 22 years, but maintains its timely, stylish design and spacious interior.
It was the first to break the one million seller-mark in 1995 and then three million in 2005, solidifying its position on not only the local market but the overseas auto industry year after year.
From “Elegant Feeling” to “Never-ending Fame,” Sonata values its brand image as Hyundai made efforts to remove the stereotype of “dirt-cheap cars” through consistent customer satisfaction promotions.
The sedan, now selling in the U.S. and Europe, is in direct competition with Japanese rivals such as Toyota and Honda as a high-quality, affordably priced car.
Shin Ramyeon (1986)
Starting in 1986, Shin Ramyeon rose as the No. 1 selling instant noodle in the local market saturated with about 160 different types of similar products.
Its signature spicy taste was developed after Nongshim’s yearlong lab research, and the effort paid off as the country’s biggest noodle manufacturer enjoyed almost 3 billion won in sales the first three months the product was released.
After two decades, the spicy noodle soup is now exported to over 80 different countries worldwide, including the U.S., China, Australia, Russia and Central and South America.
The maker recorded annual sales of $167 million in 2006 and aims to reach $200 million this year.
Company officials attributed its success to the noodle’s consistent taste and customer appeal of its trademark red wrapping that was kept since the beginning.
BYC (Underwear – 1986)
Originally an abbreviation for Baekyang Corporation, BYC is the country’s first underwear manufacturer. Established in 1946, the maker got its new name in 1985 as BYC to sharpen its competitiveness in the global market.
The maker of running shirts, thermal wear and stockings currently has various brands targeted at various age groups, in total ringing up annual sales of about 150 billion won.
The pioneer underwear maker, which led local consumers to consider undergarments as part of high fashion, currently exports its brands to more than 70 countries worldwide, but aims to expand to more than 130 countries.
AreA Hangul (Word processor – 1990)
AreA Hangul revolutionized the local word processor industry . before Microsoft introduced the Korean language version of the MS-word processor. as the Hangul and Computer Company’s program was used in almost every office and even government departments.
After debuting in 1990, the maker recorded sales of one billion won in 1991, jumping to 10 billion won by 1993 with more than 100,000 registered users.
Samsung Anycall (1993)
Samsung Anycall made its debut in the once Motorola-dominated local market in 1993, and since then has stood as the most popular brand among a flurry of new releases.
Now carving out the majority of the domestic market, the premium phone is also expanding its presence overseas in the U.S., Europe and China.
From camera, dual folder, super slim to sliding phones, the world’s second-largest mobile phone maker has consistently released news designs.
The global maker recently won three Guinness World Records this year with its Ultra Edition series mobile phones, and 11 iF Design Awards.
Hite (Beer – 1993)
After its introduction to consumers in 1993, Hite Beer (formerly Chosun Beer) had to beat its tough competitor OB, which dominated the market.
But just after three years, the new brand rose as the No. 1 player in 1996 and has kept its title since.
Company officials say the beer’s green image of using clean and pure water drawn from deep underground rock beds was the biggest contributor to its success.
(The) Kimchi fridge (1995)
The first-ever gimchi refrigerator “Dimchae” was made by WiniaMando in 1995. Since then, more than a dozen manufacturers, including Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics, have released numerous models with various features and designs.
Initially made to store gimchi for an extended time while maintaining its original taste, gimchi coolers have grown to do more than that, as they now stand as a central kitchen appliance.