A history professor has stepped forward to explain the backlash behind Vincenzo‘s Chinese product placement.

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Professor Seo Kyoung Duk | The Korea Times

Vincenzo has been taking the world by storm with its unique storyline and action filled plot. The tvN drama has been breaking records with each episode release, creating higher anticipation for future episodes. Unfortunately, with the heavy attention comes equal amounts of potential scrutiny and the newest headlines about Vincenzo are as such.

One of the most recent episodes featured a product placement (PPL) that netizens were not fond of, resulting in immediate backlash. While advertisements within Korean dramas are not new, it wasn’t the product that created the controversy, but rather the country the product came from.

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“Vincenzo” poster | tvN

It all happened during a scene in which actor Song Joong Ki, who plays Vincenzo in the drama, is eating. The actor can be seen eating a product placement bibimbap, which is a famous Korean cuisine. The problem arose when the bibimbap PPL was revealed to be from China and not South Korea.

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Still of “Vincenzo” with Chinese PPL | tvN

The tension between South Korea and China have been consistent, remaining high for the past year. In the midst of the unsteady relations between the two countries, the Korean public took the Chinese PPL negatively. The situation was only made worse when netizens realized that the Chinese product placement was for a Korean food item.

Previously, China tried to claim numerous Korean traditions, such as kimchitaekwondo, hanbok and more as their own. Due to these numerous attempts, netizens did not take kindly to seeing the Chinese bibimbap PPL in the drama.

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| tvN

In the midst of the scrutiny, a Korean history professor, Seo Kyoung Duk took to his personal Instagram to explain why having a Chinese PPL in a Korean drama is controversial.

I found out only after a close reporter friend of mine called me out of the blue. tvN’s drama ‘Vincenzo’ decided to place a ‘Chinese Bibimbap’ advertisement.

I understand that advertisements are placed to fuel the cost of the drama. However, during these times I believe it was an unfortunate decision.

The reason why I believe so is due to the current allegations made by the Chinese public that claim kimchihanbok, pansori and others as their own.

— @seokyoungduk/Instagram

The professor went on to explain a little further about why this particular situation is concerning given the circumstances.

The most concerning part about the entire situation is the fact that the packaged bibimbap has Chinese words written on it. I worry that this may cause overseas viewers to believe that bibimbap is a Chinese cuisine.

— @seokyoungduk/Instagram

This is not the first time a Korean drama has received backlash for placing Chinese products into the production. Previously, another tvN drama, True Beauty received scrutiny about their Chinese PPL in the drama.

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Still from “True Beauty” with Chinese PPL | tvN

After receiving such backlash from the viewers, tvN informed the public that the allotted schedules for future Chinese PPL within Vincenzo may be cancelled. A representative from tvN stated that they have contacted the brand to discuss a potential cancellation of the contract.