South Korea's 2017 National Brand Awards has honored top contributors for enhancing the nation's image. Among the winners this year include Hallyu star Lee Min Ho and famous conglomerate Lotte Duty Free. Why did they win? Who else won? Find out more here:

Lotte Duty Free, a famous retail and commercial brand from South Korea, is consisted of about 60 diverse business units. It is recognized for contribution to the Korean economy in promoting K-dramas and tourism. On February 22, the National Brand Award honored Lotte as "The company that contributed most to the improvement of national brand value."

A wildly successful marketing campaign from Lotte Duty Free, known as the "7 First Kisses" web drama, has already garnered more than 5 million views via social media platforms in China. The web drama cleverly weaves a romance-comedy story in a series of short episodes to showcase 7 handsome Korean leading men, among which is Lee Min Ho, another honoree at the 2017 National Brand Awards.

Lee Min Ho is awarded the grand prize in the culture category because of his far-reaching appeal around the world in increasing awareness and interest for Korean dramas and culture. He rose to fame in the 2009 Boys Over Flowers and followed with other successful dramas and movies. Over the years, he has also become a strident benefactor for charity causes, such as starting the PROMIZ platform which recently contributed 50 million won (about USD$44,000) to victims of domestic abuse. The inspiring actor is also appointed as the goodwill ambassador for the “2016-18 Visit Korea Year” promotion, as well as the honorary ambassador for the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.

Other winners include Park In Bee, Rio Olympics gold medalist in women's golf, winning the grand prize in the sports category. Piano Paik Kun Woo won the prize in the arts category.

Congratulations to Lee Min Ho, Lotte Duty Free, and all the other winners!


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