Mini-recap: Advertising Genius Lee Tae Baek Episode 3 and 4

Woohoo. Nice break and back to recapping duties. Though I thought a summary might be better because the latest episodes will be out today and tomorrow and experience tells me, I'll never catch up if I fall behind again. It's another breezy and fun two episodes (especially whenever TaeBaek and JiHyun fills my screen) again but the ratings are pretty shockingly low. Anyhow, let's begin.

Episode 3

JingGa calls TaeBaek a nutter and ignores his request to accept him as disciple. Of course that will not deter TaeBaek who follows him around like a little puppy. With a little help from the crowd, he manages to passive-aggressively make JingGa accept him.

JingGa brings him around, explaining some of the concepts of ads like manipulating the customers' desires through marketing ploys like "Time Save" (discounted products for a limited time only) and "Sales Promotion" (receipt stubs for special prize draws). At the end of the day, he considers his work done and dismisses TaeBaek. However, TaeBaek is nothing but persistent and promises to do anything he commands. And that's how he ends up having to capture this stuffed toy - a puppy - from the claw machine which is supposed to be an impossible task.

Addie antagonizes Hwang again by refusing to divert their funds (GeumSan Ads) to GeumSan Construction. He doesn't believe in nepotism and when challenged about his contradictory position (he did get the job because he is Director Kang's son), he offers to quit if he doesn't deliver the goods. Suffice to say, Hwang is majorly pissed.

Jiyoon bumps into Ahri in the lift who didn't bother masking her contempt, fueled by Jiyoon's ambiguous relationship with Addie (she saw the car ride). Ahri is curious about Jiyoon's relationship with TaeBaek and she admits they're close. When Jiyoon direct the same question at Ahri, she only admits to being mere acquaintance.

Addie's investigation reveals Jiyoon as Chairman Baek's illegitimate daughter. His interest in Jiyoon is apparent when he asks for her in the staff meeting but only Ahri's radar is up.

Jiyoon has asked to get off early because it's her mum's death anniversary. As she and her aunt pay respect, Chairman Baek joins the party and the mood immediately turns glum. Baek wants her back at home but after being ostracized in the ten years she lived there, she refuses to return to his house. Furthermore, she's happy at her job as an intern. She wants to be on equal footing with everyone else but daddy tells her she's taken up someone else's opportunity. Owow, twisted logic but that sorta makes sense. Heh.

Meanwhile, poor TaeBaek is about to spend his last dime on the clawing machine when it falls and rolls right into the drain. Shucks. Strange enough he shows up with the puppy the next day before JingGa who's curious how he did it. He asks for KRW 10000 for the big secret reveal which is actually pretty straightforward - he met the owner who came to collect money and ask to buy it for KRW 10000. Heh. It's cheating but JingGa didn't say he can't. Moreover, it was his perseverance that led to the fateful meeting with the owner. JingGa finally agrees.

Addie has another argument with dad. Basically he disapproves of dad's cowardly/diplomatic approach that led to them having to accept GeumSan Construction Ad.

Even Ahri recognizes that the ad is just to make life difficult for Addie since the Chairman is known for his unreasonable requests and a fondness for using stars in his ads. Ahri reminds Addie that any slip ups will reflect badly on her. When she makes her frustrations known to Hwang, he's not the least sympathetic and tells her to work on convincing Addie to give in then.

Addie informs the staff that they have received the GeumSan Construction Ad. After a round of groans, he assigns people for research and elevates Jiyoon from intern to copywriter proper.

On the other end, TaeBaek receives a new task. Distribute flyers. JingGa tells him to observe the faces of the people who reads the flyers. Of course no one does. Heh. So after a long day and his mission accomplished, all he saw was frowns. Next JingGa makes him check for mistakes on flyers. He is to read them aloud 100x. LOL. I can't tell if this is training or he's toying with him.

Addie steps it up on Operation Charm Jiyoon. A late night coffee and kind encouraging words. He asks if her parents oppose her dreadful working hours but she claims they're dead. When he smiles looking at Jiyoon fumbling about in the office, it makes you wonder if he's already charmed by her instead.

And Jiyoon is not totally oblivious either and wonders if Addie is interested in her.

TaeBaek and Jiyoon catches up in each other's day in a shop where his grandma works. Grandma mistakes Jiyoon for his gf despite their explanations. Heh. Jiyoon does come right out and asks about his relationship with Ahri, thinking they used to date. Taebaek only admits to a one-sided crush. They leave when TaeBaek receives an SOS call.

Gangsters are messing up JingGa's place because they messed up the flyers (actually TaeBaek did because he was supposed to check for mistakes) - they did not include the telephone number in the flyer. Fortunately, things take a surprising turn when the head gangster's pregnant wife shows up with a touching sob story. The gangsters are turning over a new leaf but are not getting anywhere. Right now they are banking on the flyers to help spark their business - a chinese restaurant. TaeBaek vows to  make them an ad that would guarantee daebak business in the name of.....JingGa. HAHA. What's nice is everyone else from YiCha to Hatsan want to pitch in too.

The location of the shop ain't bad. Food (jajangmyun) is ok, just the pickled radish needs some working on. Problem is the menacing looking staff who just about scares off potential customers. BUT, they deal pretty well with the tough guys. JingGa has an eureka moment (I love that added twinkle to his eyes whenever that happens.Lol). Trick is to play to their strengths - VIOLENCE. So they're going for a conceptual restaurant with Violence as their theme. Everyone helps from the new signboard to the decorations. Granny and SoRan too, though Soran spend more time fighting SunHye for YiCha's attention. I get a kick out out of watching granny teaching the gangster ahjussi how to make proper pickled radish.

Seems like Addie finally relents to meeting the GS Constructions reps, though Ahri probably regrets it coz all he does is rankle them. He wants to help Ahri preserve her job but he insist on doing it his way.

It's a slow start but business is good for the gangster restaurant. Curiosity brings in the customers. Even Jiyoon shows up in support, though she is rather late (she was tied up at work). The entire gang celebrates at the noraebang.

Coincidentally, Ahri has arranged for a second meeting with the reps for Addie at the same place but he's late....and probably deliberate. Ahri has to entertain them on her own.

JingGa finds Jiyoon familiar and learns that she works for GS Ads. He asks hesitantly if Director Kang is still there. Similarly, Jiyoon asks if he knows Won MiSook (her mum I presume), relieved to hear that he thinks he's a great copywriter.

Addie finally shows (with a zip at the back of his suit!...what fashion is that) but declares he's rejecting them as client. Oh uh. Outside, Ahri is fending off unwanted advances from a drunk Rep Lee. Addie and Jiyoon is just out the door and witness the exact moment that TaeBaek punches the guy.

Episode 4

TaeBaek gets a slap for his interference. Addie warns off Lee who wants to retaliate. A furious Lee leaves with the equally furious Chairman much to Ahri's dismay. Addie tries to stop her from going after them but she shrugs him off. TaeBaek blames Addie for not protecting his subordinates but Addie replies that TaeBaek's fists did nothing but put Ahri in an awkward position.

TaeBaek sees Ahri getting rebuffed by the Reps. He apologizes but she lashes out at him. She just wants him out of her life. Best if he pretends they are strangers coz there is nothing he could do for her. He should've worked hard like she had. Now they are yards apart and should just stay that way - out of each other's life. It's harsh but it sheds some light on the decisions she made. He did promised to be successful by the time she returns but as it turns out, he's no better than when she'd left.

The intense confrontation finally allows TaeBaek to bid farewell to his first love. And it strengthens his resolve to succeed. And fast. He pesters JingGa into getting other ads- bigger ads. He knows JingGa used to be a hotshot and he wants to help him regain his old glory.

But first they need a client. Getting a client is more difficult that producing an ad. TaeBaek is confident (when has he not been. heh) so JingGa challenges him to win a contract from the insulated bottle (thermos) company. The Chairman of the company - Chairman Nam - is a well-known miser. Just his luck for TaeBaek to bump into a "janitor" to whom he badmouths the chairman, which of course turns out to be the real chairman. To his credit, Nam does hear him out but refuses an ad. He once had GS Ad made an ad for his company that did nothing for his sales. Their discussion is interrupted by men from BK Group who's here to discuss on buying out their company. Both the men and TaeBaek are cast  out, with coarse salt.

Addie announces that their new client would be BK Group and assigns Jiyoon to check on Baek Hyun Jin (Jiyoon's other name). he wants Jiyoon to come to him for help? Meanwhile, Ahri is the sacrificial lamb in the BK Construction fiasco. She receives no help or sympathy from Hwang and is too pissed to answer Addie's call or messages. She considers visiting her mum but watching mum being handled by customers reminds her of her humble roots and how she'd done so much to climb out of poverty. She calls Addie and asks to meet him.

JingGa gives TaeBaek a hint - treat his clients like potential lovers. Learn how to impress them as you would the girl you like. Tae Baek ask Jiyoon out for a late night snack and  a copy her company's ad for the "100year Insulated Bottle"(name of the product). He notices her research on BK Group and tells her about how BK Group forced his family out on the streets without proper compensation for their home and mum suffered and died after that. Jiyoon feels guilty and uneasy.

When Ahri meets Addie, she tells him the truth about her humble roots and her relationship with TaeBaek. She wants to interview for a job - as his aide. Hwang is unreliable and she deems him much more trustworthy. He muses that they are both similar in that they aim high.

TaeBaek has not given up yet and follows Nam around as he goes around checking public phones and vending machines for loose change. He finally finds Nam volunteering in a a charity place offering food for the homeless. He learns that Nam makes donations annually to the foundation because he used to be homeless for a period of time.

TaeBaek comes up with a proposal. Nam only spends krw20,000,000 and he guarantees a return of more than 2 billion within the week. If he fails, he'll return the money but if he succeeds, he gets the thermos ad. 2 billion is needed to build a homeless shelter.

Taebaek meets with opposition all around from JinGa and gang. It's success vs bankruptcy and too big a gamble. But TaeBaek is prepared, he reads a line from an interview JinGa gave about daring to fail and JingGa is trapped by his own words. I love the stunned look on YiCha's face when he realized dad uttered those cool lines.

TaeBaek turns homeless for some 1st hand experience. It's so funny the way he approaches it like some sort of valuable experience that the homeless ahjussis think he's mad. So he had to explain himself and the ahjussi is more accommodating. He even introduces TaeBaek to a recent homeless man who once work in ads which so happens to be his previous boss. Boss has fallen on hard times after being swindled. Taebaek also meets another abandoned grandpa who reminds hi of his own grandma. He takes special care of him.

Ahri uses her connections (and womanly attributes) to dig up everything on BK Group. Bottomline, if they want to win over Chairman Baek, they would have to secure the "100year Insulated Bottle".

Jiyoon reports that she couldn't contact Baek's daughter and even if she could, it would not be helpful since they are allegedly estranged. Addie plays along but claims his interest borders on the personal also since he's quite curious on the heiress who refused her father's help.

With all the info they had, Addie-Ahri combo now decides to make an ad for "100year Insulated Bottle" to impress Baek. I'm still quite confused why they come up with that too....since technically Baek doesn't yet own that company.

TaeBaek is adjusting well to his homeless lifestyle, taking special care of grandpa and conducting interviews with other homeless guys. Even JingGa drops by and smiles at his efforts. He drops a bill note with a message:

A customer's heart is akin to a snow mountain, only sincerity will melt it.
Jiyoon also pays him a visit, amazed by his "professionalism". Pleasantries aside, TaeBaek asks why she always seems to help him out. Does she like him? Heh. I know, it's too early. Anyway, she replies that watching him is like watching sports. She just wants to support him. Me too!

TaeBaek wakes up to find a crowd around the grandpa who passed away in the cold night. T.T He cries and something changed in him. He strides back and immediately draw something. He shows it to JinGa who's already prepared to join his battle. Yay, he's gonna sign the agreement.

The ad is out. It's two full pages of blank brownish background (resembling a blanket). In a small corner, it reads: "Tonight someone will use this paper as a blanket, please provide a warm home to these people in need".

The ad is pretty well received and the gang waits anxiously for the results. They've done it! They got 1.5 billion and someone added 5 billion on the last day. TaeBaek is unhappy that it's from BK Group but at least Nam agrees to let them produce the ad for his company.

But of course we'd have to have a cliffhanger because all major players decide to convene at the charity home where Nam volunteers. TaeBaek and Jiyoon as volunteers as well. Chairman Baek wants to meet Nam. The combo team wants to meet Baek. But the most nervous player of them all is Jiyoon who's still trying to protect her secret identity. Aw yeah, let's party.


  1. I have no idea why, but I like this drama a ridiculous amount. Maybe I'll always be a sucker for an underdog story. Or maybe it's because the leads are starting out with a solid friendship of respect/admiration. This drama just makes me happy and I just drop into a world that is interesting and for some reason all the challenges and wages are actually interesting. I kinda fear the last half of this drama though.

    1. Yeah TB totally channels the underdog vibe and I always smile when he's up to something. LOL. Kdrama always suffer from second half meltdown so we can only pray hard that it's not too bad. *Fingers crossed*

  2. Thanks so much for recapping this!