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Destinations Asia

First look at Psy’s tourism ads for South Korea

@jclampet

Skift Take

South Korea’s previous tourism ads starred young K-Pop stars that attracted a primarily Asian market, but its newest campaign led by the international star and airing on global TV networks is expected to draw a broader base of visitors.

— Samantha Shankman

Psy was the natural choice when the Korea Tourism Organization looked for a new face to promote South Korea overseas. The YouTube phenomenon now stars in a series of six “Wiki Korea” TV ads that started airing overseas this week.

Each of the 15-second ads teaches viewers a new Korean word meant to highlight the country’s culture. For example, banchan is the various side dishes that come with the main menu and olle-gil is an eco-friendly road on Jeju Island.

The tourism board hopes the traditional words will become synonymous with Korean culture and used overseas.

“Like the Italian word ‘pasta’, I hope everyone gets to know what samgyeopsal is and know that the best way to cook pork-belly meat is how samgyeopsal is cooked (grilled),” said KTO CEO Charm Lee.

The six ads highlight the most popular tourism activities including shopping, eating, outdoors, and nightlife.

The campaign has its own website ibuzzkorea.com where future visitors can more Korean translations, enter a contest for a trip to Korea, and watch videos.

A compilation of the six videos are embedded below.

Warning: You might want to put it on mute after hearing Psy’s shrill “Wiki Korea” for the sixth time in a row.

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