SOUTH KOREA. The Shilla Duty Free has responded quickly to the apparent resolution of the THAAD crisis via a marketing campaign featuring video of its Seoul flagship store shot by two Chinese Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs).

The retailer collaborated with the Alliance of Korea Chinese Tourist guides (AKCT) to invite the Chinese KOLs – Lenneyeon and Anyouyou – to shoot a video clip for the store (see below). AKCT is a community of around 1,000 tour guides for Chinese travellers in South Korea.

The Shilla Duty Free said it expected the video clip to go viral on the KOLs’ social media channels, helping to “revitalise” its China marketing. Tour guides will also roll out the clip via their own media channel, exposing Shilla to large numbers of group tourists. The clip can also be seen at this link.

The move is a sign of renewed confidence in the South Korean duty free market, which was badly affected for much of this year by the THAAD anti-missile system dispute between the South Korean and Chinese governments. As reported, the Seoul and Beijing authorities recently agreed to end their dispute, sparking a likely revival in Chinese tourism.

Vast influence: The video shot by Chinese Key Opinion Leaders Lenneyeon and Anyouyou is expected to revitalise The Shilla Duty Free’s appeal in China

Shilla noted: “Chinese consumers value word of mouth by KOLs throughout their decision-making process. KOL marketing is one of the most popular measures to tap into Chinese consumers’ minds.”

The two KOLs, who boast over 1.5 million followers between them, visited The Shilla Duty Free Seoul flagship store and filmed promotions and offers designed for Chinese travellers in the video clip. Brands that are popular with Chinese consumers were highlighted.

“KOL marketing is one of the most popular measures to tap into Chinese consumers’ minds,” said Shilla. The retailer invited the two influencers to tour the store and highlight special offers and promotions aimed at Chinese travellers.

The Shilla Duty Free said that it realised the “effectiveness and magnitude of KOL marketing on Chinese consumers”.

Earlier this year, Shilla invited Chinese KOLs on a tour of Seoul and Jeju just before Chinese New Year, to generate further interest among potential visitors. Shilla also invited Chinese travel agency executives in late 2016 to discuss the challenges facing the duty free market.

A spokesperson for The Shilla Duty Free said: “The Shilla Duty Free will re-ignite our China marketing. Market expectation is turning positive and Shilla is anticipating increased Chinese passengers in the near future. KOL marketing is one of the most promising measures to approach sophisticated and advanced Chinese duty free consumers. With proven effectiveness and the magnitude of KOL marketing on Chinese travellers, The Shilla Duty Free will continue communicating the excellence and attractiveness of Shilla and travel in South Korea with Chinese travellers.”