Monday, January 16, 2006

Korean Ads Reconsidered

Last week I had a conversation with a friend of mine in the ad biz here in Korea. Its always nice to compare notes with him. While we racked up our complaints and observations, one thing was perhaps unsaid. "Will Korea grow out of this phase?" I was reminded of this thought as I saw over the weekend a catalogue of old cigarette advertising. Consider the following ads, and how much they are like current Korean ad conventions:

What is wrong here? First note the clutter, way to much information. Compare this with a Korean ad. Second, a rather weak link between the spokesman (Santa here) and the product. I am reminded how recently a private loan company used, no joke, peeing Santa's to promote the service. Finally note the two products. Normally these would go to two distinct markets, yet the advertisers in one shot, there by weakening the brands of both. Again sound familiar?

Here we have the co-opting of, at that time, the made up word "Streamlined" when in fact there is nothing in the product that relates to such thing. Echoes of the popular "Green" and "Well-being" anyone?

Note here the use of pseudo-scientific system of the "T-zone". Sound like a familiar tool in Korea today?

This all reminds me of something a friend said when I fell into the Advertising business in Korea a few years ago. He pointed out that being from the west we are so media savvy to ad tricks and devices we not just filter out such things, but look at the filter and go "Ewwww". All ad markets when through a "Ewww" time, perhaps Korea just needs to evolve some.


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