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‘Descendants of the Sun’ under fire for too much PPL

By Ahn Sung-mi

  • Published : Apr 7, 2016 - 17:14
  • Updated : Apr 7, 2016 - 17:14

Popular drama “Descendants of the Sun” is receiving criticisms for using too much product placement, or PPL, in its latest episode.

Various products -- from sandwich to car -- were featured throughout the 13th episode that went on air Wednesday evening, making viewers frown at the excessive advertisement.

Song Joong-ki and Jin Goo at a franchise Korean barbecue restaurant (KBS)
Product placement, where companies invest in the drama in exchange for exposure of their products, is nothing new in Korean dramas, and more so on big budgets dramas like “Descendants of the Sun,” to cover the skyrocketing production cost.

However, many viewers say the advertisements should not be placed to the point that makes viewers uncomfortable and distracted from the plot.

The four protagonists at a local coffee franchise (KBS2)
Song Joong-ki and Song Hye-kyo at a sandwich franchise (KBS2)
On the Wednesday’s episode, soldiers put on facemasks before returning back to Seoul. Song Joong-ki and Jin Goo, the members of special forces, earn vacation upon arrival in Seoul and they immediately head to a franchise Korean barbecue restaurant to eat meat while drinking soju. Lee Seung-joon joined the drinking crew and starts eating a brand’s almonds. The next day, Song Joong-ki and Song Hye-kyo decide to eat sandwich at a global sandwich franchise to cure their hangover. They also drink coffee from another local franchise.

Jin Goo turning on the Automated driving system inside a car (KBS2)
The highlight of the episode was when Jin Goo and Kim Ji-won kiss inside a running car, while turning on the automated driving system, which the car has been touted for. The characters also talk about the high-quality functions of the car in their conversation.

“As the characters return back to Korea, the drama is flooded with PPL. I was distracted from focusing on the drama,” one of the viewers said, while another even dubbed the episode as the “Descendants of the PPL.”

By Ahn Sung-mi (sahn@heraldcorp.com)