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Korean Cool Is The Ultimate National Marketing Ploy [NEWSWEEK]

August 9, 2014

 

South Korean rapper PSY performs before a TV broadcasting 2014 Brazil World Cup Group H game between South Korea and Russia at a public viewing venue in Seoul, South Korea, Wednesday, June 18, 2014.(AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

South Korean rapper PSY performs before a TV broadcasting 2014 Brazil World Cup Group H game between South Korea and Russia at a public viewing venue in Seoul, South Korea, Wednesday, June 18, 2014.(AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

[NEWSWEEK]  In 1992, a man named Chung Injoon, director of what was then called the Korean Overseas Information Service – a government organisation currently known as the Korean Tourism Culture and Tourism Institute – sent a Betamax tape to the Korean consulate in Hong Kong via diplomatic pouch. The tape contained not some secret microfilm or documents about national defence, but a Korean television drama called What Is Love All About?

Chung says that he and the consulate used public funds to finance the subtitling of the series into Chinese, and sold all of the advertising spots in advance. The network didn’t have to do any legwork and the show became so popular in the region, says Chung, that during its airing on Thursday and Saturday evening, “there were no people or cars on the street.” Everyone was at home watching the programme.

To this day, Korean public funds are used to translate Korean soaps into other languages – not just mainstream languages like Spanish, but also more obscure ones, like the Paraguayan indigenous local dialect of Guarani.

The so-called “Korean Wave” of pop culture that seems to have taken the world by storm was set in motion two decades ago. [READ MORE]

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