Three Korean survivors of the collapse of the Sampoong Department Store here-a disaster killing more than 400 shoppers and employees-now find themselves buried in endorsement contract offers from national marketers.
Nine days after the June 29 calamity, rescuers heard store employee Myong-sok Choe calling for help. His rescue preceded the discoveries of two young women-Ji-hwan Yu, 18, after nearly 12 days, and Seung-hyun Park, 19, after almost 16.
The two-year Suwon College plans to give its student Mr. Choe a free ride through graduation, worth about $4,000, and Sang-mo Hwang, VP of Lucky-Goldstar arm LG Construction Co., offered him a job upon graduation. After national media discovered Mr. Choe's love for playing basketball, one sporting goods company approached him about shooting TV spots.
Mr. Choe doesn't share the marketers' enthusiasm. "I thank all who care for me," Mr. Choe told Advertising Age, "but for now, my condolences are with those families who have lost or are missing family members. It would only cause them pain if I took the spotlight."
Upon his rescue, Mr. Choe weakly mentioned to curious reporters that he wanted to drink Coca-Cola; before he knew it, local distributor and manufacturer Doosan Beverages Co. had filled his hospital room with 100 cases. Similarly, Ms. Yu said she had a yen for iced coffee, prompting marketer Lotte Beverages to present her with a gift of similar excess.
Instant noodle company Nong Shim Foods and ice cream marketer Bing Grae Foods have expressed interest about TV spot appearances. The survivors also have been approached about appearing on TV talk shows including SBS's popular "Ju Byung Jin Talk Show."
No deals have been struck, but marketers keep hoping. Ms. Yu's casual comment to reporters of a desire to travel after recovering prompted an anonymous travel agency to supply her family withfree airline tickets and hotel accommodations.