News from camp in South Korea: Cho Gue-sung had to turn off his phone.
It’s all gone a little too far into the world of everyday marriage proposals.
“He should have rested a bit,” said Seo Jung-hwan, one of the South Korean journalists, who was at a loss to understand what had happened to their team’s No.9. “His phone wasn’t working all night. It was waking him up. He was trying to focus on football and there were always messages.
In a matter of days, this “non-gamer” (his own words) has gone surprisingly viral. Well, maybe not that’s it Ironically, the player in question has pop star status and is more than just a pretty face as he scored a double against Ghana in their second World Cup group match.
However, it was still a wild story. At the start of the tournament, he had nearly 20,000 followers on Instagram. At the time of writing, it has 1.6 million. This is despite the fact that he only has five posts and hasn’t posted since July.
As one of her new fans wrote on Twitter: “When I first saw her Instagram account she had 40k and now it’s a million in a few days. Cho Gue Sung, you are a strong man! Thank you, King, for two beautiful goals and today’s history. Now accept my hand, he said.
All this perhaps shows the power of the World Cup in today’s age of social media, internet memes and, in this case, hashtags (193 million views for #choguesung on TikTok).
He is number 9 BC and the 1 he needs most
♬ original voice – nana
Consider what happened when a South Korean journalist, Yim Hyun-soo, posted a video of Cho sitting on a bench, doing nothing interesting except opening his hand to cup his left cheek. Yim Cho predicted he would see a “crazy increase in Instagram followers.” And he was right. And the seven-second clip was viewed 7.3 million times. This is not your average story.
Cho Gue Sun’s fankami has already received more than 6 million views pic.twitter.com/L4B2JI3Te1
— Hyunsu Yim (@hyunsuinseoul) November 28, 2022
Jeon’s story has since been featured in the Indian Express, the Korea Herald and the Scottish Sun. Type her name into Google and suggestions like “The type of woman Cho likes,” “Dating Cho,” “Marry Cho” and “Cho Park” will come up, with many fans comparing her looks to Park Seo-jung. A winning actor and a heartthrob in his own right.
Plus, it helps Cho become the sweet boy-next-door type. He is the only South Korean to score in the tournament, but his goals against Ghana left no trace of pride. “I apologize to my fans who stayed late to watch the game,” said the 24-year-old, who has the same beauty under his left eye as Son, South Korea’s most famous player. Heung-min.
“South Korean fans have given their footballers superstar status,” says Devon Rawcliffe in Who Ate All the Squid? the author of the book? Soccer events in South Korea. After the 2002 World Cup mania, midfielder Kim Nam-il became an overnight sex symbol. Fans used to hold up placards with slogans at matches offering marriage proposals or informal dates.’
Where will we go next? The Athletic…
The interesting part is where all this could lead – modeling opportunities, TV commercials, maybe a blue label for Cho on Instagram (yes, it doesn’t exist yet) – and what will happen to the player who was described by a South Korean journalist a year ago as a “nobody”.
“Going from a few thousand followers on social media to nearly two million certainly makes brands want to know how to engage with that audience to reach that audience,” says Josh Hershman, branding expert at The Best Client List. the pinnacle of sport.
“It will be interesting to see which brands look to capitalize on it and how much of an impact it will have on its reach outside of Asia. You should also keep an eye on how he builds his profile here. What does it stand for? What is it like off the pitch? A construction that will open up more opportunities for him.”
Hershman speaks as managing director of Ten Toes Media, an agency that conducted its own research into how a World Cup appearance can dramatically change a player’s social media status. Richarlison, for example, added 3.85 million followers after scoring twice in Brazil’s opening game. Jude Bellingham put in 120,500; Kylian Mbappe 96,700; Olivier Giroud 40,500; Enner Valencia 40,300; and Cody Gakpo 24,200.
The difference with Cho is that unlike all the players listed above, he failed to score in his team’s first game. He didn’t even start the match. She’s been in the limelight for her looks, and it’s not clear what she thinks about it since she’s offline and no one is monitoring her social media accounts (yet, anyway). However, he has a girlfriend.
Hershman says: “Only the World Cup really has the power to catapult lesser-known players from all over the world to stardom overnight. “The World Cup is the biggest stage in world football, so if you play well you know the eyes of the planet are on you.”
His portfolio is growing, and even if it’s for his legion of new fans in South Korea, most players in his position want to pursue new adventures abroad. At some point, he may restart his phone.
(Top image: Design by Samuel Richardson; Photo via Getty Images)