Benita Chacko

ITC Bingo! rides the Hallyu wave; launches Korean-flavoured chips 

The brand has collaborated with popular South Korean singer Aoora for a new song titled "Maeun Maeun".

Embracing the fervent love for Korean culture among Indian consumers, ITC Bingo! has introduced Korean-flavoured savoury snacks to the Indian market with its latest offering, Bingo! 2X Hot and Spicy Korean-style chips. 

Recognising the growing interest in Korean entertainment, from K-drama to K-pop, and now Korean cuisine, Bingo! claims to be the first brand in India to venture into Korean-inspired savoury snacks. The new chips come in three formats: Bingo! Original Style, Bingo! Hashtags, and Bingo! Potato chips. 

Korean culture has witnessed rising interest in India since 2020. It started with K-drama and quickly percolated to all things Korean, including music, skincare, traditional culture, literature, language and food. According to a Mintel Report, about 30 percent of GenZ females show interest in new Korean flavours.

This spread of Korean entertainment and culture in other parts of the world is called ‘Hallyu’ or the Korean Wave. 

Suresh Chand, VP & head of marketing, Snacks, Noodles, and Pasta at ITC Foods, stated in a press release, "Korean culture has significantly penetrated in India, especially among the Gen Z audience. We noticed that our consumers are seeking Korean experiences in snacking. Catering to this demand, we have launched the all-new first-of-its-kind spicy, tangy Korean-style Chips in the Indian market. Infused with Korean-inspired flavours tailored to the spice-loving palates of India, we are confident that this range will delight our consumers."

Many Korean dishes like fermented sauces, mixed rice dishes, rice cakes and the most popular of them all, ramen, have found their way into Indian kitchens. According to the consumer intelligence firm NielsenIQ, the size of the Korean noodles market has surged from Rs 2 crore in 2021 to over Rs 65 crore in 2023. Knorr launched Korean Meal Pot and Ramen. Nestle India launched Maggi Korean noodles in BBQ flavour. Nissin also launched its Gekki variant of K-noodles. After noodles, ITC seems to have zeroed in on Korean-flavoured snacks.

To amplify the launch and tap into the phenomenon of the "K-wave”, Bingo! has collaborated with popular South Korean singer Aoora for a new song titled "Maeun Maeun", which translates to "Spicy, Spicy" in Korean. The music video, developed by Tonic Worldwide, embodies the vibrant energy of the brand and is expected to resonate with fans of Korean pop culture. This strategic collaboration aims to leverage the immense popularity of K-pop among the target audience, generating buzz around the launch of Bingo! 2X Hot and Spicy Korean-style chips.

Park Min-jun, popularly known as Aoora, is already popular in India after he made a wildcard entry in this season of the reality show Bigg Boss. Host Salman Khan introduced him as the 'biggest K-pop sensation in India'.

In addition to the music video, Bingo! is planning a comprehensive 360-degree media campaign to engage with consumers. The brand will leverage social media platforms to generate pre-launch excitement and will be present on K-pop and Gen Z music lineups on leading platforms like Spotify and YouTube. Promotional spots featuring the song will also be strategically placed across various entertainment channels. Furthermore, Bingo! has partnered with approximately 15 influencers, including Korean influencers in India, Indian influencers in Korea, and food vloggers, to spread awareness about the new launch.

A spokesperson from Tonic Worldwide said, “This collaboration between Bingo and Aoora is twice as spicy. ‘Maeun’ means spicy in Korean. The new flavour is so spicy that we had to add another ‘Maeun’! As an agency, we are obsessed with the consumer, their behaviour, so when it came to launching a product that is for the gen Z, we wanted to do it in their language. K-Pop is way beyond a music genre for the audience; it’s a part of their culture. The catchy song captures the core essence of the new flavours of Korean style. Super excited!”

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