Tag Archives: advertising

Brilliant Advertising

Wall Street English is a company that runs English academies around the world. They are well established in China, Russia and several other countries with large ESL markets. I started noticing their ads around Daegu early this year.

The ads always feature beautiful college-age western women. They’re sexy, they have absolutely nothing to do with English or education, and they stand out against the sea of ads directed at Korean tiger parents.



The reason these ads are so brilliant is because they appeal to the students, not the parents. No wonder this company is doing so well.

Until next time.

– Taft

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Disturbing LG Advertisement

Gender equality and domestic violence are major social issues in Korea and at home in the US. In the states, these issues have gotten a surge of attention lately, thanks in part to conservatives and their brilliant coning of the phrase, “legitimate rape”. In contrast, I rarely hear about them in Korea. Domestic violence is an issue that hits close to home for me because of my time in law enforcement. That’s why I was appalled by a new LG advertisement that makes a lighthearted joke involving domestic violence.

Though this violence is tame compared to what we see on TV and in movies every day, I’m bothered by the fact that it’s part of a cute commercial that millions of children and young adults will see. If this ad were to air in the US, I am confident that it would stir up a firestorm. But, as far as I know, it hasn’t caused too much of a stir in Korea.

Am I being overly sensitive, or is this a sign of a serious cultural problem. What do you think? Leave a comment below.

Until next time.


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Anyone Remember the Scopes Trial?

Last year, I noticed a new advertisement popping up at some of the convenience stores in my neighborhood. There are several versions – each featuring monkey doing human activities.

When combined with the name “Africa Cigarettes”, these advertisements pissed a lot of people off.

Africa Cigarettes - South Korea - Racist

According to a news article I read a few weeks ago, Africa Cigarettes are in hot water after this ad campaign was labeled racist. In response, they agreed to pull this advertising soon. Although I question their definition of “soon”, considering the fact that I read one of these articles weeks ago and took the above picture this morning.

I doubt there was any intention on the part of the company to be racially insensitive, but I find it funny that an entire organization failed to recognize the potential for backlash. I would think that the company would have at least one Gyopo (foreign-born Korean) on their staff.

This problem reminds me of something I read recently. The article, which I can’t find now, discussed the importance of diversity in the business world. The author was not concerned with political correctness or fairness toward minorities. Rather, it said that organizations lacking diversity can be compared to a person wearing blinders.

Considering the lack of diversity in most Korean workplaces, I think this is a great example of that very problem.

Until next time.


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