SO. KOREA SEES NEW GENERATION FOR XERS IN ADS

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SEOUL-X marks the spot in South Korean marketing as a raft of new products, services and ad strategies heatedly search for Generation Xers.

Within just the past year, financial services, pagers, autos, clothing and package goods marketers have been seeking out the demographic.

The Korean definition of Generation X, however, includes young people in their late 20s rather than only those 18-to-early-20s as defined in Douglas Coupland's landmark book.

There are no estimates of just how much is being spent, but the demographic is a large one. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are 10.5 million people ages 18-29 in South Korea (of a total 45.1 million population) fitting the expanded definition of Generation X.

It's also unclear whether marketers entering the recently-opened North Korean market will also target this group. AT&T, for example, has expressed an interest in the North, but it's not known whether pagers and other age-appropriate products to Xers are part of the plan.

According to Sung-Nam Cho, a sociology professor at Ewha Women's University here, the huge number of Generation Xers is the result of baby boomers having their own children. And the Generation X offspring, often spoiled, she said, are "different from their parents."

This spoiled-and therefore ripe marketing target-was first discovered by Amore Cosmetics' Twin X men's cologne who addressed them specifically in a b&w spot from Oricom that broke in November 1993 and is still running.

In it, TV star Lee Byong-Hon and pop singer Kim Won-June appear in a montage of unrelated images-birds in flight, a building and men in white shirts. The tagline: "Me, Generation X?"

In Daehong Communications' commercial for Lotte Confectionery's XX Gum, the `X' focus is more literal. Two pretty girls are filmed from a variety of angles; the only color in the spot are the X's on the package.

Another generation X-oriented TV and print campaign is themed "Revolution begins from hair," for Cheil Foods & Chemical Co.'s New Age shampoo. Created by Cheil Communications, the spot shows a tattooed Generation X-age model shoring her long tresses and finally shaving them.

Generation X is also a popular target for electronics marketers, because they are a technology-oriented group, said Kim Sang-Jung, managing director, Don Bang Communications.

Companies such as Seoul Telecom have been aggressively marketing beepers to Xers, including new, brightly colored lines to clip onto purses or boots.

The company is using pop idol Mo-Kun Kim, known for driving teens to screams, in a TV and print campaign from Seoul Ad.

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