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[Interview] This is what 15 years of tvN’s joy is all about! CJ ENM Kang Ok-kyoung


One of the toughest questions for content lovers! “What’s your favorite tvN content?” A lot of people will most likely hesitate before answering. This proves that tvN has a large amount of high-quality content that has created a sensation and that tvN has been around for quite a long time. tvN launches the special campaign ‘tvN is Joy’ in celebration of its 15th anniversary on October 9th. Prepared to bring all kinds of joy, Kang Ok-kyoung, leader of CJ ENM’s IP Operational Marketing Team 1, has introduced the efforts that have been made to deliver the joy of tvN, which has been with us now for 15 years.

The start of ’tvN is Joy’!

Kang Ok-kyoung

▶ Kang Ok-kyoung, leader of CJ ENM’s IP Operational Marketing Team 1, organizing the special campaign ‘tvN is Joy’ in celebration of tvN’s 15th anniversary

Q. tvN is already celebrating its 15th anniversary.

Time flies so fast (chuckle). It’s 15 years old already, as old as a high schooler!

Q. This campaign seems to have some significance in sharing gratitude and joy with this channel that has grown so well over the last 15 years as well as with the people who have loved it now for so long. How did this campaign start?

We’ve been thinking about it since last year. The first thing we thought about was how to define tvN. If it’s a person, it’s a 15-year-old teenager about to grow up. We decided that this is the point where tvN is undergoing the growth phase as a creator based on the content loved by the viewers.

We then thought about how to define ‘joy’ and how we can help people experience this. We decided to expand our targets from viewers aged 20-49 to Generation MZ and global viewers so that more people can also experience different kinds of joy. As a result, we created four categories in ‘Joy Town’, which we’re about to open: ‘Joy Land’, ‘Joy Park’, ‘Joy@Home’, and ‘Joy Shop’. We began concretizing the ideas for the campaign in May and are currently making efforts to actualize them before we open ‘Joy Town’.

Q. Can you briefly introduce each category?

‘Joy Land’, the first category of ‘Joy Town’, which will be open for about 2 weeks from October 9th to 24th as part of the campaign, is tvN’s first experience-based exhibition implemented on a metaverse platform. On the contrary, ‘Joy Park’ is an offline event in the form of a pop-up café that gratifies the senses of visitors in Hongdae, the heart of Seoul. ‘Joy@Home’ offers tvN’s signature content as chosen by viewers on TVING for free, as well as content that rewinds the history of tvN. ‘Joy Shop’ presents limited ESG merchandise of ‘New Journey to the West’, ‘Great Escape’, and others in celebration of the 15th anniversary. These four categories are made so that global fans are also able to participate in tvN’s campaign and experience the joy that goes beyond time and space constraints.

Metaverse, the taste and aroma of tvN, and sustainability!

Q. What captures the most attention is ‘Joy Land’, which has taken a metaverse approach. It seems like a substitute for offline events during the COVID-19 pandemic.

It’s more like creating an environment for different generations and global fans, such as Generation MZ and global targets, to be able to also participate in the event. One of the benefits of the metaverse is that anyone can experience it anytime and anywhere as long as they are online without any constraints of time or space. We decided to make good use of the metaverse so that more people can participate in the 15th anniversary event.

Q. What experiences are offered by ‘Joy Land’ based on the metaverse?

To begin with, it’s fun to create your own avatar. One of the features of Generation MZ is that they put in a great deal of time and effort into displaying their identities. This concept has also been applied here so that users can design and personalize their own avatars. They could be dressed up in tvN’s signature goods, such as Kim Shin’s sword from ‘Guardian: The Lonely and Great God’, Chajumma rubber gloves from ‘Three Meals a Day’, and Myohan bag from ‘New Journey to the West’, all of which can be captured in screenshots.

Joy Land is comprised of three sections: Drama Land, Entertainment Land, and Theme Land. Drama Land and Entertainment Land have booths through which visitors can experience 15 dramas and entertainment shows each, such as ‘Misaeng’, ‘Crash Landing on You’, ‘Hospital Playlist’, ‘Three Meals a Day series’, ‘Youn’s Kitchen’, and ‘You Quiz on the Block’. Theme Land is where users can have fun playing games, and it also provides an escape game from a deserted hospital in the concept of ‘Great Escape’, ‘Amazing Saturday’ music quizzes, and three mini-games from the series ‘New Journey to the West’. You might also even meet producer Na as you play the games, so keep your eyes open.

Q. Can you introduce the features of other categories like ‘Joy Park’ and ‘Joy@Home’?

Joy Park is tvN’s pop-up space set up on the terrace (17F) of MUSINSA near Hongik University Station. It’s formed like a city park where visitors can enjoy and define the taste and aroma of tvN in a green space. Visitors are given the chance to taste the beverages from dramas and entertainment shows, such as tvN Red Latte using tvN’s signature red, Mango Dragon Ball Ade inspired by Mango Dragon Ball Parfait in ‘Kang's Kitchen’, drip coffee from ‘Crash Landing on You’, and the tea of oblivion from ‘Guardian: The Lonely and Great God’. In addition, a ‘tvN Aroma Polling Station’ is set up to further define tvN as an aroma. There is also the ‘Try Not to Laugh & Try Not to Cry Challenge’ to test how much of a fan you are.

Joy@Home lets you enjoy tvN content at home. You can watch 15 dramas and entertainment shows each, selected by vote in September, on TVING for free. You can also watch YouTube Original content titled ‘Together Rewind’ in which you can rewind the 15-year history of tvN with various characters. There are a total of 10 episodes, each of which is released once a week on tvN’s official YouTube channel. There will also be a tvN universe featuring the heroes and heroines that have appeared from among the various shows much like the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Finally, Joy Shop sells eco-friendly merchandise. Since ESG is recently emerging as a hot topic, we wanted to show that tvN is considering sustainability going beyond just having fun and is actually making an effort. So, we created eco-friendly merchandise with content like ‘Great Escape’ and ‘You Quiz on the Block’ in collaboration with the CJ ENM Commerce Team, which will be sold both online and offline. You can see the real thing and buy it too at Joy Park.

The tables introducing the booths in ‘Joy Land’

▶ The tables introducing the booths in ‘Joy Land’. I just can’t decide where to go first!

Q. It seems you have prepared so many things to celebrate the 15th anniversary. What was your biggest difficulty?

It was difficult to choose the contents. Since there is so much content that has been loved by viewers for the past 15 years, it wasn’t easy to choose just 30 items including both dramas and entertainment shows for ‘Joy Land’. In the end, we chose them based on viewer ratings and attention and set up the booths by putting several shows together if they are in series that are produced by the same production crew. We also set up booths for our earlier entertainment shows back when the channel first opened, such as ‘Roller Coaster’ and ‘Martian Virus’, in celebration of the 15th anniversary. These shows from the past seem kind of old-fashioned, which is what makes them fun.

Development and effort as the No. 1 channel of K-content!

Kang Ok-kyoung

Q. Looking back 15 years, is there any memorable content for you?

This is the toughest question (chuckle). I’ve been in charge of countless shows as a marketer for dramas for over 8 years, and personally, there’s one that is like a turning point for my career: ‘Misaeng’. I had trouble with marketing since webtoon-based dramas were not very common at the time. I had to keep thinking about what to emphasize and how to publicize the strengths of this show with so many issues, such as the fact that the original webtoon had already revealed the ending and the concerns fans of the original work had about the cast.

As a result, we decided to embrace the fandom. So, I asked the original author Yoon Tae-ho to create a poster combining the real-life characters with webtoon characters, through which we naturally showed that we were communicating with the original author and striving to improve the completeness of the content. We also inserted certain elements that viewers who encountered this for the first time, especially office workers, could relate to. Various events were also organized, and this experience broadened my vision and helped my career a great deal.

Q. Your know-how from countless marketing projects including ‘Misaeng’ may have had a positive effect on this campaign.

Knowing the history of so many content items clearly helped. I could work more efficiently, knowing what images or videos would be best for the booths in the metaverse and how they are used. Organizing this campaign, I realized once again that we must study the content thoroughly as brand marketers to improve the level of completeness in our work.

Marketing Team 1 members and manager Kang Ok-kyoung

▶ Marketing Team 1 members and manager Kang Ok-kyoung in charge of organizing this campaign. They intend to constantly strive for the brand development of tvN.

Q. The slogan and channel name were also changed in September in celebration of the 15th anniversary. It seems that, like this campaign, you intended to reflect on the channel’s history once again and take another step forward. What are you going to focus on and develop in terms of brand marketing?

As intended by the slogan ‘NO.1 K-content channel, tvN for joy’, we aim to strengthen the role of being a channel that expands globally beyond Korea. In that sense, increasing the inflow of Generation MZ and global fans using the metaverse is a great way to increase the synergy.

It feels great that our content has recently been receiving a lot of love from global viewers via global OTT services. But despite the IP attention, the tvN brand itself is not well known to the world. I’m constantly thinking of ways to create higher-quality IP and promote our channel more effectively. Our plan is to attempt this using a number of different ways through ‘The Immortal’, a drama scheduled to be aired at the end of the year.

Q. Although it seems like a distant future, tvN’s 20th anniversary will be even more fabulous with all your efforts.

Well, we need to start and end the two-week 15th anniversary campaign first. Hopefully, not only our current viewers but also Generation MZ and global fans can also enjoy tvN and the various content since it’s our job to bring joy to many people.

Kang claims that, when she managed the booths for ‘KCON 2016 LA’, she was amazed and proud of how many locals knew of our content and actors/actresses already. She could feel the power of culture in the joy of content that had been delivered to these people even before YouTube and OTT services were widely used. After the interview, she went back to making the last-minute preparations for the 15th anniversary campaign to deliver the power of culture once again. Let’s keep in mind all these efforts made and pay a visit to Joy Town on the 9th!