More Head-up-the-butt Ads

You’d think they’d learn, but they’re getting even more out of touch and even more comical–almost offensively so. Take this very sleek tourism ad highlighting Korea’s food scene. Now one of the strengths that international writers praise about Korea’s food scene is its excitement and energy.

This is to Korean food what eunuchs are to porn. Yes, it’s all pretty… pretty bland! Sterile. And we have to include topoki ddeokbokki and makkoli because they just can’t let those campaigns die. People are smiling, but they are eating their food like picky nine-year-old emperors. Some of you may like this ad, but it just makes me feel disappointed. Korean food can be marketed so much better than this.

Now check out this one.

Wow, you feel like you want to visit Korea after seeing all these cultural stereotypes?

As with many tourism videos and channels (including Arirang), they never get it that their job is to make Korea appealing enough for you to visit. They don’t really think about their intended audience. Instead they make ads and shows for Korean audiences–ads that puff up their chests, brag about trivial little things that they think are great about Korea, and reinforce already narrow cultural stereotypes of foreigners.

Cultural masturbation.

It’s funny about the accomplishments they tout in the video, which the placard says is intended for the U.S.

  • Korea will host the 2018 Winter Olympics–as if it’s the only country to ever hold a winter Olympics–marketed to a country that has already held quite a few Olympics.
  • World’s 7th largest exporter–so there are six that are ahead of you, including the U.S., which is #3.
  • Korea has popular TV dramas–popular in east Asia, but not so in the U.S. That part of the Korean Wave likely won’t crash into the U.S. as hard as it did in other countries with not-as-strong entertainment industries.

Seriously, who greenlighted this?

There are extremely smart and creative people in Korea, but it looks like those people aren’t in charge of the branding.

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16 thoughts on “More Head-up-the-butt Ads”

  1. I don’t find the food one too bad, though I think having them give a ‘it’s delicious’ nod after every bite was a little excessive.

    Reply
  2. Yeah. I think the first one is pretty, but just very sedate. It doesn’t have the energy that I associate with Korea. The second one is a little ham-fisted with the visitors in traditional costume but I disagree a little about pointing out things like being the 7th largest exporter. Many people in the U.S.—upon finding out we were moving to Seoul—had an opinion of the country that was stuck in the ’50s or ’60s.
    I would change the item about the Olympics, too, though. Aren’t they one of the few countries to have hosted the Olympics twice? Given that the country is about the size of the state of Indiana those things really say something.

    Reply
    • Good points. I guess my feeling was that those were topics that are typical topics to rally domestic audiences than attracting international audiences. They were meant to impress the locals.more than anyone else. —
      Sent from my Android phone with K-9 Mail. Please excuse my brevity.

      Reply
  3. “they are eating their food like picky nine-year-old emperors”that’s because all it showed was a bunch of skinny chicks nibbling at their food.they need to include a shot of ajosshis making huge lettuce wraps at a samgyeopsal joint, stuffing it in their mouth and then washing it down with a shot of soju

    Reply
  4. “they are eating their food like picky nine-year-old emperors”that’s because all it showed was a bunch of skinny chicks nibbling at their food.they need to include a shot of ajosshis making huge lettuce wraps at a samgyeopsal joint, stuffing it in their mouth and then washing it down with a shot of soju

    Reply
  5. “they are eating their food like picky nine-year-old emperors”that’s because all it showed was a bunch of skinny chicks nibbling at their food.they need to include a shot of ajosshis making huge lettuce wraps at a samgyeopsal joint, stuffing it in their mouth and then washing it down with a shot of soju

    Reply
  6. Agree that Korean dramas aren’t taking over the U.S. the way they are in Asia, but they are still pretty darn popular. At least in areas with significant Asian populations (LA, NYC, Honolulu, etc.).

    Anecdotally, in Honolulu, I heard a lot more chatter about Korean dramas than Japanese or Chinese dramas, and saw more box sets in stores as well (even at Don Quijote!).

    Reply

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