How did I miss this one?

It looks like this has been out since early 2010, and I just found it today. I still don’t know what to think of it.

I like the food and atmosphere. It starts out at a hanok in the rain (get it? Rain?). And then Rain comes out and basks in his genderless glory while talking about how much you crave for a “ball” of bibimbap on “a day like diss.”

This is a great ad if you turn down the volume and cut out the bits with Rain looking like a Noxema model. EJ said this, too. Well, not the Noxema part. But she said it looked great if Rain wasn’t in there.

Then there’s the script, another reason to turn down the volume. Rather than talk about what’s so great about bibimbap, they give quick clinical instructions on how to make bibimbap. “Lightly stir-fry or boil seasonal vegetables.”

And then the dreaded health benefits at the end. These days, I’ve lightened up about promoting the health qualities of Korean food. But this is a prime example of putting health before taste. Two mentions of healthiness and one single passing mention of taste.

The YouTube page promotes the website hansik.org, which is given the task of promoting Korean food to the rest of the world–in Korean. A classic case of Koreans promoting overseas to impress other Koreans. More proof that this heavily funded international campaign is as much for domestic consumption as it is for actually… promoting… Korean… food.

This is also a textbook example of Korean marketing’s over-reliance on celebrity endorsements, even when the market barely knows who it is in the ad. If I hadn’t told you it was Rain, would you have recognized Ninja Assassin? The American public only knows Rain, if they can remember him, from a comedy stint on Stephen Colbert a couple of years ago and as an actor on two bad movies. If you insist on getting a celebrity, why not get one people recognize, like Kim Yunjin, Sandra Oh or Daniel Dae Kim? I also hear Gwyneth Paltrow is a big fan of bibimbap.

Ah, but it was a rainy day today, and I did have bibimbap for lunch. A good one. And I did feel wholesome afterward–like going to church on Easter. Maybe Rain wins this one.


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