Extra! Korea

May 8, 2011

Daum must feel threatened by Kakao Talk

Filed under: advertising, celebrities — extrakorea @ 12:35 pm

Kakao Talk is a popular app (computer program) that can be used on iPhones and smart phones that use the android operating system. (You can read a description here.) It’s very popular in Korea.

Daum is a big South Korean Internet company. It’s released an app called My People. (You can read a description here and watch a semi-informative video below.)

Daum must feel threatened by Kakao Talk since it has singled them out by name for abuse in their commercials. They’ve also brought out the big guns by hiring the the most popular girl group in Korea, Girls’ Generation, to administer the beat down. Notice how the girls have departed from their usual aegyo (cutesy-wootsy way of talking) when heaping scorn on the poor cocoa bean.

This is par for the course for South Korea, where big companies crush and/or take over smaller companies. Interestingly, Kakao Talk is available to everybody, while My People is useful only to people who know the Korean language. I wonder if popularity abroad could help Kakao survive.

(Hat Tip to the Marmot’s Hole)


  1. Glad to see you back.

    I have not used Kakao, but I wonder if it could successfully compete against the leviathan known as Skype in the world outside Korea. It would be great if innovation could cause them to come up with services that make them a better choice, but so often what happens is that most consumers lazily go with the biggest or (perceived) most popular thing.

    Also, I don’t know if the crushing/taking over thing is particularly unique to Korea. Apple, Microsoft, etc., do it constantly. Verizon rides AT&T in their ads (and vice versa) and AT&T is swallowing up T-Mobile.

    When the Verizon iPhone was finally released, Verizon trotted out their nerdy spokesman who was shown talking on the device and saying, “Can you hear me now?” The idea being that for the past couple years those who had iPhones had to use shoddy AT&T phone service.

    Apple retaliated with commercials emphasizing that on a Verizon phone you can’t talk and use the Internet (except through WiFi) on a Verizon iPhone (I made the same point).

    Frankly, I think the commercial is fun and playful, like the “Where’s the Beef?” commercials. But I do share your concern that a giant like Daum might destroy or absorb a great service like Kakao.

    Comment by kushibo — May 8, 2011 @ 8:08 pm

  2. Also very glad you’re back. Ironically, on the very day I link to you in my latest post (up in a moment) and was planning to preface it with “the sadly now defunct Extra! Korea argues…” too!

    Where were you by the way?

    Comment by James Turnbull — May 10, 2011 @ 7:36 am

    • Where were you by the way?

      Actually, I didn’t “go” anywhere. This blog is a hobby, and real life takes precedence. The days of non-posting just turned into weeks, which turned into months. But I’m glad to see that I was missed. Thanks, guys.

      Comment by extrakorea — May 10, 2011 @ 1:05 pm

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  4. […] However, the little company that could now has a big bullseye painted onto it. Daum, one of Korea’s biggest Internet companies,** has set their sights on it.[5] In a commercial that promotes its own app, My People, they single out Kakao Talk by name. The commercial features Korea”s most popular girl group, Girls?Generation, who exchange their normal cuteness for a KGB-like interrogation of a hapless cocao bean.***[6] […]

    Pingback by Kakao Talk, the Little Company that Could « Streetwise in Seoul: Mini-essays about living in Korea — June 21, 2011 @ 4:01 am

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