K Fever: A Case Study

2037 words - 9 pages

The Impact of Korean Popular Culture on Consumer Behavior

Abstract
The Korean wave hit Asia in the early 2000’s, initially through television dramas, and has gradually skyrocketed in popularity, expanding its reach to the film and record industry as well. Its success is owed to the effective combination of Western pop-culture with an added Asian flavor, across all its industries. With the sudden influx of Korean boy or girl pop groups led by pop idols worshipped by many fans, the media industry managed to tap on the popularity of certain idols, starring them in television dramas and hence garnering support from fans all over Asia. Together with popular drama series came its respective ...view middle of the document...

Its viewers are consistently being impressed by on-screen fashion as well as high-society living. As such, it is no surprise that on-screen memorabilia are being snapped up by Korean drama fans, aspiring to carry the same bags, wear the same clothes, visit certain sightseeing destinations and be alike their idols. This can be explained by viewers taking the on-screen characters to be their aspirational reference group. Korean dramas also tend to exert normative influence on its viewers, whom hence assume what they see on television to be the “norm” of what their lifestyles should be like.

Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous; Boys over Flowers

Girls’ Generation Collectibles; Cheetos
As such, with this observation of Hanryu having an effect on buying behavior of memorabilia, I would like to explore in this paper whether the Korean wave has the potential to alter the behavior and lifestyle of people who are caught up in it as well.

How Audiences Engage with Television Dramas
A study done by Kristin C. Moran states that people, especially the youth, are easily influenced by what they see on the television. Moreover, television programs contain certain cultural contexts that teach young viewers cultural norms and expectations. This in turn teaches them ways to interact in daily life, specifically those that are related to dating and establishing intimate relationships. In gradual process, youths can easily imitate and learn the values, behavior and attitude implied by these foreign series through the characters’ acting.

Scene Depicting Courtship; Winter Sonata

As such, such Korean dramas can become an avenue where meanings are created through audiences’ interaction with programs, and as such, start to identify with the characters in the drama, thus feel as if they are “having ideas, attitudes or intentions similar to those of the appealing character, or acting in a manner similar to the character”.

Perception and Emotions on Behavior
Perception refers to the process whereby the brain generates a conclusion regarding incoming stimuli that activates our sensory receptors. Using the theory of perception, it is possible that audiences experience similar pleasures associated with what is occurring on-screen. Thus, upon repeated exposure to such dramas, there is an increased likelihood that the brain starts to perceive such on-screen lifestyles to be achievable in real life.

It is also a frequent observation that perceptions of audiences towards particular idols and actors can change after watching Korean dramas. Korean drama series are also usually created hand in hand with rising Korean pop idols, and the drama hence aids the process of market creation for the Korean pop industry. It also helps to enhance consumer identity related to their idols among fans. This evidence proves that idolism has been used to manipulate the attitudes of audiences, making them want to watch series because their favorite idol is acting in it (e.g. I watch Boys Over...

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