The company launched an aggressive “good gut health” advertising campaign. Now, there are customers in the hillside slums and glittering apartment buildings, factories and Parliament.
There are approximately 11,000 yakult ajumma in South Korea, the country’s largest female-only door-to-door sales network. Half of them can be seen cruising around Seoul, on their stylish mobile fridges called CoCos, short for “cold and cool”.
Yakult’s ajummas have been credited with helping establish South Korea’s taste for dairy, and are so ubiquitous that they have become underage celebrities in pop culture. Their image spawned a song, and the K-pop stars even tried to do the job for a day.
Jeon Deuk-Soon, 49, started working in Bongcheon-dong, a district in southwest Seoul, as a yakult ajumma 17 years ago. The hilly neighborhood dotted with auto repair shops and tailoring factories has been its rhythm ever since.