"Descendants of the Sun" director of photography admitted that the drama series contained excessive product placement throughout the series, but argued that there was no other choice due to the drama being fully produced before being aired.
He said on KBS 2TV's Web talk show "Got TV" that he opposed product placement in some scenes, but his opinion was overruled. The show was aired through the network's YouTube channel dedicated to entertainment and mobile apps.
"I strongly opposed the product placement during the kiss scene of the Song-Song couple," Kim Si-hyoung, the series' director of photography, said, referring to a dating scene of Song Joong-ki and Song Hye-kyo in a coffee shop. The scene exposed the exterior sign of the coffee shop and the brand label on a cup.
"But there was nothing I could do. I hoped viewers would tolerate the product placement," Kim added.
Kim also said it was "not right" to air a kiss scene between Jin Goo and Kim Ji-won in a driverless car.
But Kim argued that product placement was "essential," as he and other production staff found it hard to secure revenues from TV advertising.
"Advertisers doubted the series' success. No one could be sure if the series would be a success or failure," said Kim when asked about a scene where Yoo Si-jin orders a sandwich from a global sandwich chain.
He added that the team was not paid for a scene featuring a Choco Pie, one of the Koreans' favourite confectioneries.
The series' revenue from such product placement reached about 3 billion won (S$3.5 million).
"Got TV" is the network TV broadcaster's first live streaming show hosted by TV personality Heo Jun and announcer Lee Jeong-min. The move to draw viewers through the online platform was launched in the first week of April.