Sunday, June 7, 2015

SBI "ATM Limits" commercial (광고CF SBI ATM 한도 편)

Ah, yes. A tale as old as time.

Boy meets ATM, ATM's withdrawal limit is too low, boy breaks relationship with ATM, boy meets non-bank financial lending institution, non-bank financial lending institution provides boy a generous short-term high-interest loan, ATM forced to endure the sight of the new-found financial freedom of he who was her whole world.

Oh, l'amour.

This is one of my favorite Korean commercials. Much like in America, Korean commercials for loansharks non-bank lending companies are consistently humorous and memorable (I dare you to find a US citizen that cannot complete the simple three-digit series "877" with "CASH-NOW"). Perhaps that's part of the ploy-- disarming you into a state of passive acceptance; ironic, really, seeing as, if you fall behind on your payments, it's entirely likely that men with buzz cuts and baseball bats will show up at your door to literally disarm you.

Regardless, I cannot help but be moved by the pure emotional roller-coaster that is this short work of brilliance.

[Man, upset, angry pleading voice]
가! 제발 좀 가! 가! Go! Just go! GO!

[Melodramatic singing, accompanied by moving piano melody. Lyrics directed to the ATM herself] 
이제 넌 끝이야 You're done now.
그렇게 속 좁은 한도 With your narrow-minded limits,
이젠 정말 안녕 this is now really goodbye.

[Man calls SBI] 
SBI바빌론*이죠  SBI, right?

[Victorious singing] 
오! SBI! Oh! SBI!
직장인대출 The working man's loan!

*Apparently a pun on "Babylon" → "Babi-loan"

Now, because this is my blog and I can, let's take a shot-by-shot look at this creative masterpiece.

Scene opens, apparently at Namiseom, a popular dating spot for couples; a cruel juxtaposition against what is about to occur.

Angry man terminates his relationship with his yet-offscreen partner. Presumably they have a long history together, with many trials and tribulations, which ultimately could not be reconciled.

It's the ATM. Her beautiful feminine legs and bright blue paint hold no attraction for him anymore. He cruelly throws back into her face all the bank cards he had used in her over the years, and all the receipts she had written him. He accuses her of being too narrow-minded to fit his needs. Typical male pig.

He walks away from her, abandoning her in what now seems a cold, lonely, desolate place...

... and walks right into the disembodied embrace of a call-based loan company.

All he has to do is say hello, and he is approved; gratified; while the out-of-focus memory of the ATM becomes just a lost ghost of the past.

Man revels in his new relationship with Korea's #1 credit loan "bank".

Man admires the fruits of his new relationship: fat stacks of cash totaling up to $50,000. Ah, his needs are now understood and indulged in a way the ATM never could provide.

At up to 60 months, this relationship is destined to last-- much to the disappointment of the ATM, who you may not have noticed is in the background there, masochistically forcing herself to watch her former husband's customer's newfound excitement and contentment.

Unable to compete, she hides behind the corner, too ashamed to show him (assuming she has one) her face, even when he suspects her presence. She is the symbol of dejection.

He, meanwhile, is the symbol of success. All smiles, bright white shirt and teeth, now that he gave up on that clunky chunky old ball-and-chain ATM and picked up the phone.

What are you waiting for? Dump your loser wife bank account, and make the call.

My tone may appear sarcastic, but only a mild form is intended. I genuinely think this commercial, and the many others like it, are hilarious, creative, and pleasantly memorable. I have to admit that it succeeds as a commercial.

As it turns out, this commercial is not entirely an original, but in fact has a definite source, as pointed out by commenter Joonhyuk Cha:
Check this short beverage commercial starring 정우성. SBI commercial actually is a parody/hommage of this one. I didn't(and still don't) understand why the company 롯데칠성 had picked up this scenario but it was dope back in the time.
 Here's the commercial he's talking about. Compare for yourself:

Back to our topic. The actor is the SBI commercial is B-list movie and TV drama star 오민석, and that heart-wrenchingly emotional musical jingle, by far my favorite part, is actually just a softened version of the great Korean punk-rock hit "넌 내게 반했어" by the band 노브레인 (No Brain). 넌 내게 반했어, by the way, is a bit hard to translate correctly. Something like "you fell for me" (as in "to fall in love") but stronger and slangier, like "you were blown away by me" or "you got charmed the shit out of by me" etc. etc.

Like the "877-CASH-NOW" jingle, it easily gets stuck in one's head. Witness:

SBI too seems to love this song, as another parody version of it (in which the lyrics become again loan-related) is featured in this other catchy, well-known ad they released awhile back. I always felt suddenly energized to hear this song during commercial breaks, and am not ashamed to admit that I totally still am used to be constantly attracted to the woman featured between the 10~12 second mark. Every. Single. Time. And if all this weren't enough, I just discovered that they have an extended-version near full-length music video for this ad.

Apparently I watch way too much TV.

Lest we accuse them of sexism, there is also a female-centric version, in which a woman discovers a fuller, richer (zing!) life after dumping her male-gendered ATM. Apparently one determines the gender of an ATM by its legs, as this one is clearly dapperly suited.

And if I still haven't satiated your thirst for random Korean loan company commercials, there's always this one, guaranteed to run at least five times in a row (I'm 100% certain this is intentional) in the every-hour-on-the-hour time slot.

Have a favorite of your own? Let me know in the comments.

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