Surfing the internet or SNS, it’s easy to find content created by big business. But, what is it that people really want to read? Like others, you likely look for information that is useful but presented in a manner that is fun to read. Creating material that is both fun and beneficial requires great talent. Ji Hayoung, an online content creator, has just such talents. As manager of marketing, he has created materials for Chungjungone, a Korean food brand. This reporter had the opportunity to meet up with Mr. Ji to learn about life as a marketing planner.
Why did you decide to become a marketing planner, specializing in advertising, and how were you able to reach your status as Manager of Marketing?
I didn’t know what I wanted to do in high school. However, after watching some TV adverts, I realized television and online advert creation was the field for me. Thus, I applied to Kookmin University’s advertising department in my 3rd grade of high school. Soon after I graduated from university, I started to work for a small advertising agency, and then eventually, I moved here to where I am now. I have been with Daesang Chungjungone now as manager of marketing for a while. After working with head of online marketing at Daesang Chungjungone through the small advertising agency I was with, I was scouted by the Head for my ability in creating advertisements. Because we had developed a good working relationship over time, the Head told me that Chungjungone was looking for a new recruit. I applied and got the job. However, my promotion to manager didn’t happen overnight. I spend several years working at Daesang Chungjungone. I am very thankful.
Many people think advertising is an exciting field to work in. What do you typically do?
Applying to University, I honestly believed I’d be director of advertising as soon as I graduated. However, learning about the advertising industry, I quickly realized that would not happen. I learned how to craft an advertisement and how to analyze both buyers and the market. So, I’d have to say, advertising is not what most people think. My title is manager of marking and planning, but I’m really in charge of online content creation. Over the years, I have designed a lot of image and video content for SNS. Also, I have made several videos that have gone viral. These videos demonstrate Chungjungone devotion to creating great tasty food that is healthy. A simple online search will introduce you to many of those videos on Youtube.
These days, young people in their twenties have great influence on advertising as they are the main target audience of most companies. Thus, many advertising corporations are offering short-term positions at their companies. Is Daesang Chungjungone also doing this?
Yes, Daesang Chungjungone is also working closely with young adults. These days, my team works closely with our department’s support team, Chungjungone Friends. After Chungjungone Friends try the food boxes made by Chungjungone, they promote the brand on SNS and other online sites. First, because we consider stay-at-home mothers our main target audience, our pilot test subjects are stay-at-home moms. However, we are now targeting young people in their twenties as they are the ones who use online services more than any other age grouping. Thus, we made Chungjunone Friends, our 20’s support team. We also expanded our support team from not only women but also men in their twenties because today a large number of males are interested in cooking. Moreover, we are currently offering cooking classes at a food workshop that operates out of Ewha Women’s University. During the cooking class, we provide participants with numerous tips, especially for university students living alone away from home.
What was the most challenging thing you encountered working at an advertising agency?
As a new recruit at the small advertising agency, one day I was chosen to be a presenter in front of a possible client. I was perplexed because I was a newbie at the company. I didn’t quite know what I was doing. I am not sure what made my manager at the time ask me, the newbie still learning the ropes, to be the agency’s representative and present in front of a corporation that could lead to a crucial contract. I was stressed beyond belief by the task and pushed my way through numerous challenges to prepare for the presentation. I had many a sleepless nights trying to come up with an attention getter for the presentation and well as thinking about I would successfully secure the contract. In fact, because I was so nervous, I barely recall how the actual presentation went. The only thing I know is that I didn’t make any huge mistakes and that the experience somehow boosted my confidence. The presentation gave me the courage to speak in front of people. It was a great challenge.
What is the most impressive event or work-related task you’ve ever been a part of in advertising?
The first thing that pops to mind is an event orchestrated by my department at Dasang Chngjungone. I designed very powerful content material for our upcycling campaign. The company started the progressive campaign last year and through it, society learns how to use empty containers. For instance, a jam jar could be used as a small light bulb to decorate a table, and an empty spaghetti sauce jar could be used to store shampoo. Our division began to distribute small gift boxes that contained a jam jar, a spaghetti sauce jar, bulb and little condolence flowers to decorate the empty bottles. Our department also created a video that went viral for the upcycling campaign. The campaign promoted economically friendly awareness and left consumers with the impression that Chungjungone is not only seeking profits, but sincerely cares about nature and people.
At university, what kind of activities helped you prepare for your life in advertising?
As an undergraduate student, my friends and I participated in lots of contests. These were the probably my biggest helpers, even today, when I design online content. I joined many contests like the one held by Cheil, but I didn’t win any of them. It’s kind of funny when I think about it. Still, being a participant was beneficial as I got to utilize the many theories learned in classes and make actual advert content. On retrospect, those contests were indirect experiences showing me what the real advertising world would be like. I highly recommend all university students participate in as many contests as possible during their school vacations. They are great opportunities to utilize theory learned in class and create actual work. And, who knows, if you are lucky, you might even win.
What is the key to making online content?
The most important thing to keep in mind is the content message, be it one or two, when creating online content. With the massive overload of information on SNS, many people ignore the content message. To handle information overload, when designing online material, I try to use content that the public will not forget. I have our team focus clearly on the message we want the public to remember. Because there are so many personalities and desired directions, we often clash, but in the end, we stick with the message and design content that fits our direction. In the end, we come to a unanimous decision on project direction, and the clashes help set up clearer standards.
Designing fresh online content cannot be easy. How do you come up with the ideas used to create your online material?
Yes, that is absolutely true. It is very difficult to design fresh content that will stand above all others. Without a bit of fun or uniqueness, people would soon forget the content and the content will lose its purpose. For content to be good, designers must look at other unique content and learn and go from there. I recently saw a video by Heineken, a popular beer brand, that has gone viral, and I think it’s brilliant. In the video, men are seen attending an orchestra performance with their partners, but on that day, the men really wanted to go to a football game. Once the men are seated in the theater, an enormous screen appears and broadcasts the football game. The men are hysteric. Heineken attempted to show how its product excites people. This viral video altered the brand’s image and presented its message in a fresh new way. From videos like Heineken, I started to consider other ways to create online content.
These days, advertisements discussing misogyny have increased. What do you think of this trend?
Misogynistic advertisements haven’t increased. Rather, society is now recognizing misogyny as a problem. I think it is wonderful that people are now taking notice of the problem. Advertisers have jumped on board and are using misogyny in their adverts as a way of standing out from regular forms of advertising. However, these adverts don’t focus on essence, but instantaneous stimulation. This is something that is not desirable. Our team has also looked at the issue and considered it when we made the new innovative advert for the sweet potato snack, Chew, which uses Lee Gukjoo, a famous comedian, and Lee Ha-nui, a famous actress, in the advertisement. We didn’t want any misunderstandings by women, so we took great care in the design and creation process. Misogynistic views must always be avoided when content is created, so our team analyzes its work to make sure there are no misogynistic ideas.
Could you please leave a few words for Sookmyungians as life mentors?
As a fellow advertising specialist, I would like to leave this minor but very important message for Sookmyungians. Please don’t have employment as your goal in life. Constant thought of getting a job will only lead to stress and hardships. Life now. Your life in university has to be your goal. This will lead to a more fruitful and happy life. Also, you will soon realize that what you are doing now will have great benefit in the long run. One more thing, it is my hope that you feel driven by even the littlest of things. I read books often, and in one book, the author explains how even the littlest of things can drive a person forward in life. In advertising, the tiniest of habits are of great help to people in the industry. Besides this, I would like to say, have passion about the little things in life because it will make you feel thanks about even small thing. They can make your life more complete.