I had been interested in Namyang Dairy Products as I heard that they had done some interesting work raising brand awareness of their products amongst consumers using social gaming on Kakao Talk. I looked into it and it was actually a competitor. What I didn’t realise at the time was more of the back story to Namyang Dairy Products.
The company was exposed for using aggressive sales techniques with its channel partners. A middle-aged distributor made a recording of a younger Namyang Dairy Product salesman swearing at him and threatening him. This recording then went viral on the internet.
Six million Koreans said that they would boycott the brand, Namyang apologised and proposed in ways that they could make good to their distributors. The protests went on.
Korea has a protest driven culture, so these kind of threats are not merely idle gossip. Korea’s relationship with Japan has meant that Koreans are well used to boycotting brands when the relationship does into deep freeze.
The Korean government which is looking to democratise entrepreneurship in the face of a chaebol-dominated economy used the opportunity to start the process of putting in place legislation that will balance the power relationships in business dealings and legislate on the bounds of appropriate behaviour.
In this case Namyang made an easier target than the chaebol and allowed the government to get the legislation past, despite the resistance of the Federation of Korean Industry.
Namyang Dairy under fire over ‘cuss milk incident’ | Korean Herald
Namyang Dairy Products Incident |KBS Global
6 million join Namyang boycott | Korea Times
Namyang faces widespread boycott | Korea Times
National Assembly’s June extraordinary session kicks off | Arirang News