Shirtless photo of model removed after S.Korean cinema chain receives complaints

·1 min read
Shirtless hunk with bags of popcorn. (PHOTO: CGV)
Shirtless hunk with bags of popcorn. (PHOTO: CGV)

Another day, another viral marketing campaign using shirtless hunks, but this time in South Korea to increase popcorn sales.

Due to the South Korean government's strict COVID-19 guidelines, food is not allowed inside the theatre except for water and non-alcoholic beverages. In a bid to stay afloat amidst the diminished box office sales and to bring in more revenue, South Korean cinema chain CGV recently released “bag popcorn”, featuring a shirtless model surrounded by bags of movie popcorn. The retro-inspired fonts and designs are reminiscent of the 1980s flour bags, and the price is lower compared to ready-to-consume popcorn at the cinema.

The advertisement quickly went viral, and comments flooded CGV’s Facebook page. Citizens were torn between being thankful for the eye candy photos and being unhappy about the objectification of men, for not seeing the reasoning for having a shirtless model to advertise popcorn.

According to, comments on the CGV post included netizens asking, “Is this an ad for popcorn or for a sexual service? Why would anyone buy popcorn to pour it over himself while topless, or lie down on a bed of popcorn?” Some other comments also accused CGV of food wastage.

CGV has since removed the photos featuring the shirtless man, leaving a picture of him fully clothed in a workman outfit and some photos of just the popcorn.

Shirtless hunk with bags of popcorn. (PHOTO: CGV)
Shirtless hunk with bags of popcorn. (PHOTO: CGV)

The cinema chain had recently announced its financial report, documenting the first-quarter net loss of 106.8 billion won (approximately SG$126.3 million). The company has remained in the red despite a smaller loss compared to 2020, and sales of movie tickets had dropped 29.1%.

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