Online jumps into the real world of hype

Companies doing online business seem to be realizing that the Internet isn’t all about living online ― if you want to engage the interest of warm-blooded customers, it helps to incorporate offline elements.
While many advertisements for online games feature characters from the program, the models for Nexon’s role-playing online adventure game “Maple Story” are far more real. The company selected five young stars for its new series of television advertisements and dubbed them the Maple Girls; their ages range from 14 to 22.
Since the game uses two-dimensional cutesy cartoon-style characters, the casting crew was looking for two key elements in its girls: cute and sweet.
The eldest, Kang Hyeon-jeong, was a Miss Korea candidate from Gangwon province in 2004. Jeong Da-hye, 20, is a rising online star, and Seo Ji-seung, 19, is the younger sister of Seo Ji-soo, a professional player of the game StarCraft. Rounding out the team is the youngest member, Oh Ga-eun.
The homepage provider Cyworld has also added an offline touch to its services ― on Friday, it held an event to hand out its “Digital Music Awards,” given on the basis of how many songs an artist sells over the portal. The winner this time was the pop act Jo PD and Brown Eyed Girls; the award for was sales in the month of July.
The group’s song “Hold the Line” was sold 170,000 times; tunes sold over the portal can be used as background music on personal homepages. The group of female singers was given a trophy worth 2 million won (about $2,000) made of pure gold and crystal, but they joked that they would have preferred being awarded dotori, “acorns,” to buy more music for their own Cyworld sites. Dotori is a unit of e-money Cyworld customers spend to improve their homepages.
Brown Eyed Girls were the first Korean singers to win the Digital Music Award. In May, the American pop singer Sweetbox was the first popular musician to receive the award. Last year, Sweetbox sold a total of 1.5 million copies of her songs over Cyworld.
“The digital music market is growing, and these Digital Music Awards reflect consumer choices because they are based on actual sales,” said Jang Jun-young, director of Cyworld’s music business group.

by Wohn Dong-hee for JoongAng Daily

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