A woman wearing a hanbok is holding her clothes. In the background of the Hanbok, Seoul’s major attractions such as Gwanghwamun Square, Gyeongbokgung Palace, and Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP) are ‘overlapped’. Below is the phrase. ‘Unforgettable Experience in Seoul‘.
It is an advertising campaign that the city of Seoul is trying to promote throughout New York, US to promote Seoul. It was scheduled to be posted on more than 1,000 digital screens and 150 bus stops in Times Square, Soho, etc. from the 18th December to the 14th January in 2018.
A Seoul city official said on the first day of December that “This ads with the charm of Seoul will be spread all over New York and attract 60 million New Yorkers and tourists. Recently, the Hanbok experience is very popular among foreign tourists, so I chose this design to convey the mystery of the Orient.”
However, the criticism that “Women are sexually commercialized” after the advertisement was raised. “It reminds me of a sex tourism image” mainly in online. It is argued that the phrase “Unforgettable experience in Seoul” is intertwined with the image of women’s sexuality, causing a fanciful imagination.
The city of Seoul decided not to use the advertisement on the 3rd of December. An official of the Seoul Metropolitan Government said, “We will discard the misleading advertising bill and plan to advertise another advertisement with the motif of Gwanghwamun Square and DDP.”
It was confirmed that the ‘Seoul promotional materials’ did not go through internal deliberation by the Seoul Metropolitan Government. An official in Seoul said, “I was not able to give a proper design guide to my agency when I was making it out of time, and I was not able to bring it to my hearing.” The City of Seoul is required to take the deliberation of the ‘Advisory Committee on the Analysis of Gender Impact on Public Relations’ composed of outside experts. Gender discrimination, and so on.
A female policy specialist who wanted to be anonymous said, “The image of a woman is limited to a traditional female image, and the silhouette and the phrase are highlighted, which can lead to misunderstanding.”
There is also a rebuttal saying that it is overblown. An advertising planner said, “It seems to be an advertisement that pursues harmony between tradition and modernity. If you look at the ads in a sensitive way, it will be difficult to get creative and various advertisements.” Another official in the advertising industry said, “The creativity that overlaps the place symbolizing Seoul is highlighted by the Hanbok which symbolizes Korea, but I think it would be nice if I could express the female model more casually.”
The city of Seoul explained that the ‘Seoul Advertising’ in New York was part of the ‘Co-marketing of the City’ with New York City. Instead of paying advertising fees to New York City, the city of Seoul decided to post “New York Advertising” in Seoul, New York.
New York commercials are taking bus stops and taxi rides from Gangnam dae-ro, Seoul Station and Yeouido to Seoul on the 1st and 31st of this month. “Famous, Original, and New York City.” A Seoul representative said, “Seoul and New York City have saved about 250 million won in advertising costs through cross-advertising.”