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In Vietnam, the face of South Korea is a sprightly sports coach

Soccer manager Park Hang-seo's on-field success makes him a marketing phenomenon

Park Hang-seo, the South Korean coach of the Vietnamese national soccer team, is tossed into the air by his players after their victory over Indonesia in the championship match of the Southeast Asian Games, in Manila in December 2019.   © Reuters

SEOUL -- South Korean companies advertise products all over the world, and have countless K-pop stars, actors and models to choose from. In Vietnam, however, the face of a host of Korean products -- from TVs to milk -- is a bald 61-year-old man.

Park Hang-seo's smiling image is ubiquitous -- on posters tempting Vietnamese consumers to buy Samsung televisions or kimchi, South Korea's national dish, and on packets of food such as "Seoul Hot Dogs." Dairy companies have also featured his face, as has Shinhan Bank, a leading South Korean financial institution. "If the family is the anchor to our life, then finance is a launcher," said Park when the Shinhan partnership was unveiled.

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