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'Queen Yu-na's' triumph a boon for Korean ad market

SEOUL, Feb. 26 — Kim Yu-na's gold medal victory in the figure skating event at the Vancouver Olympics is expected to provide a major boost for the Korean ad market, industry observers said Friday.

Kim's victory gives South Korea its first Olympic figure skating gold and adds to an already impressive showing at the games by the country's speed skaters, with big-name companies expected to increase their ad budgets for athletes who won medals, they said.

Kim's dazzling performance earned her a world record 228.56 points for her combined short program and free skating events.

The 19-year-old, known as "Queen Yu-na" here, already commanded a huge presence in the nation's ad industry, appearing in commercials for cars by Hyundai Motor Co. and mobile phones by Samsung Electronics Co., among others.

When she became the world's figure skating champion in April last year, a report by the state-run Korea Sports Promotion Foundation suggested her victory would generate an economic effect worth 228 billion won (US$ 196.4 million), about 110 billion won of which was derived from advertising revenue.

"The Olympic gold will generate a bigger ad effect than the world championship," said an official at the nation's ad industry. "There is no room for dissent that Kim Yu-na will become the top star in the ad industry."

The nation's ad market is expected to rise by as much as 9.9 percent this year from last year to 7.9 trillion won, according to a recent forecast by Cheil Worldwide Inc. (PNA/Yonhap)

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