I like to put my money where my mouth is, so here's a real set of 4 commercials that illustrate my point that Korean cultural promotion can be much more effective by touting EXPERIENCE-based narratives, rather than the standard hodge-podge of fan dances, palaces, and strings of random imagery united by nothing other than the common theme of being somehow "Korean" in the simplistic, nationalist sense.
With this kind of marketing, you have to get right to the USP, but also tell the viewer "this is what you will get or experience if you come here." You have to tell the viewer why they would plunk down thousands of dollars to come all the way across the world to KOREA, specifically. Just because Koreans are a proud people have 5,000 years of history - in short, because Koreans WANT you to come? How selfish, on a certain level. And totally uncompelling.
I'm not saying THESE particular spots or this campaign is the one. It is here to illustrate my point and show directly what I am talking about. Hopefully, it might act as a good tool for discussion, perhaps someone at STO or KTO might read this and find it useful. My point is that this style of campaign is more in line with what the target audience needs, as opposed to what Korean suits have been giving them, and wasting millions of dollars of Korean taxpayers' money. I and a few others could make these videos for a pittance.
This campaign will work because:
-- it tells a story, which good ads do
-- it doesn't suffer from "Korean myopia," i.e. Koreans showing foreigners what Koreans want to show them, as opposed to what they might WANT TO SEE
-- it does it serially and non-linearly so it can be told across a range of media
-- it presents lesser-known aspects of Korean culture for an "ahhh" feeling, while also working with some things people already know about Korea
-- it appeals to anyone from the open-minded backpacker who might add Korea to a trip to Asia or visit a friend there, to the middle-aged European couple who might bring the entire family and tour Asia for six weeks in the summer
-- it presents what Korean promotions never do: the "unique selling proposition" of Korea vs. other places
-- it presents Korea's strengths without nationalistic bragging
-- it doesn't present false superlatives that disappoint and offend (in being both untrue and inherently denigrating)
-- use of imagery is tight and controlled, not a hodge-podge of confusing codes and standards
-- it will be in a western "friendly/casual" tone, not the Korean "officious/formal" one
"COME HOME TO KOREA" Campaign (4 varied short films, have the potential to go viral, especially the comedic one.
"WHERE THE REAL FUN BEGINS"
[Grandiose, sweeping view of the Great Wall.]
"When you come to Asia, you have to visit the Great Wall of China..."
[Drum beat cues us to fade in of MT. Fuji]
"...and you cannot miss the majesty that is Japan's Mt. Fuji..."
[Fade to black.]
"But once you've done the tourist thing..."
"Let the REAL fun begin!"
[Explosion of images of night club dancing, clinking soju glasses, roasting meat, fashion show runway, traditional festival in the city, movie shoot, fashionable kids in the street waving, getting a massage, all punctuated to fast-moving, edgy music.]
"When you come to Asia, come home to Korea." [by the end]
[Snappy graphic and final, upbeat voiceover]
"Korea. Where the REAL fun begins."
[Slow-moving visuals of the open spaces of 경복궁, 창덕궁, 덕수궁, reed flute, Oriental sounds]
[ This is a detailed, interesting presentation of why Korean palaces are different from other places in Asia.]
"They are defined by their open spaces and emptiness as much as the buildings. They concept of feng shui guides their construction and channels spiritual energy into them. In a Korean palace, what you don't see is as important as what you do."
[We pull back into the air from a lone foreign figure, closing her eyes and taking a deep breath with a smile, all the way out to the entire palace, swoosh through a city, into the graphic.]
"Experience Korea, go deeper."
"FEEL THE STILLNESS"
[Cuts from popular films showing monks, both silly and solemn, from meditating ones from 'Kung Fu' to the Shaolin monks of the '39 Chambers']
"You've seen temples. You've seen monks."
[Popular shot of shirtless Bruce Lee]
"You probably know what focused concentration can do for your body."
[More serious long shot starting on a single monk meditating, pulling back to reveal an entire room or even field of people doing something the same, group exercise, meditation]
"Maybe you've even tried mediation to clear your mind and clean your soul."
[Stunning shot of Korean mountains, temples on the hills]
"Now come home to Korea, which has the most mountains and temples in Asia!"
[Zooming in on a large group of Korean monks meditating, ends on a close shot of a single, obviously non-Korean, young person mediating along with the rest]
"In a Korean temple stay, you don't have to just watch. Come be one with the monks, one with the mountains. Be a monk for a day. Or a week. Feel at home."
[Fade out on meditating tourist-monk.]
[Slow fade-in on logo]
"Come to Korea and feel the stillness."
"WE USUALLY BREAK THE BOARDS'
[Shot inside Taekwondo hall, large and traditional, wooden floor, big Taegukki in the back, students practing forms in unison. We cut to a small group gather reed around the master, looking serious and poised in front of a stack of concrete blocks]
[British-accented male voiceover, very David Attenborough]
"9th-degree Taekwondo and 7th-degree hapkido grandmaster Hong-Seok Kim, coach for the Korean national team during the 1988 Olympic games and author of the martial arts bestseller "Way of the Tiger," will channel his Ki energy into breaking 3 concrete blocks, which according to physics calculations, would require 3000 foot-pounds of perfectly-directed force to even crack."
[Master Kim has been meditating, measuring the block with his hands and head, solemnly preparing his Ki energy during this extremely long voiceover. Now, he prepares for the decisive head thrust.]
[Master Kim's head makes violent contact with the blocks, at which point he rears back and falls to the floor in agony, curls into fetal position, moaning. His assistants and official suits rush to his aid. We kinda saw this coming, but were taken in by the serious tone.]
[Now-discombobulated narrator haltingly finishes the commercial as shaky-cam resets to final shot of the hall, and we fade to the official logo.
"Umm...Korea! Where we usually...ahem...break the blocks...most of the time...
[quietly, as if off-mike, in lower-class Brit accent]
"THAT look like it bloody hurt? Is he bleeding...?"
[Simple fade out.]