Creative Korean Advertising #23: Namdaemun Market

( Source: KOREA.NET )

Not an original concept for an advertisement by any means, but then considering Korea’s abysmal record at self-promotion then it deserves praise just for its grammatically correct English(!), let alone how aesthetically-pleasing it is.

For Namdaemun market (남대문 시장) in Seoul, the background to it is explained in the notes to’s Flickr page:

Starting March 2010, the Agency for Traditional Market Administration will place a full-page advertisement in ASIANA, the in-flight magazine of Asiana Airlines, in line with promoting Korea’s traditional markets worldwide. The agency came up with ten representative traditional markets in Korea – including Seoul’s Dongdaemun Market, Jidong Market in Suwon, Jagalchi Market in Busan, Seogwipo market on Jeju-do Island and so on – and each market will be advertised in this monthly magazine until December.

The project kicked off with the nation’s biggest, Seoul’s Namdaemun Market, a place that “has everything from women’s and children’s clothes to ginseng and seaweed, to flowers and kitchenware.”

Alas, traditional markets everywhere in Korea are in slow but sure decline, so best of luck to them. Unfortunately however, the English remains very awkward in the next 3 examples in the series here, here, and here also, but I did like luxuriating over all the details in the last one for a market on Jeju Island:

( Source: KOREA.NET )

(For all posts in the Creative Korean Advertising series, see here)


2 thoughts on “Creative Korean Advertising #23: Namdaemun Market

  1. I think there’s awkward and sometimes bad English in all of them. It’s so infuriating, and could perhaps even have fitted into your sociological images series, considering how incredibly normal it is for such publications to be written by Koreans and never be properly checked by native speakers.

    I was also disappointed to see this: “the market is in for a major transformation from a traditional marketplace into a tourist attraction.”

    What does that mean? I have no idea, but whenever I see “tourist attraction” in Korea it instantly tells me this is somewhere I probably don’t want to be going. That could just be me, though. Traditional markets all over the world have become popular with visiting tourists precisely because they are traditional, and often that makes them quite unique to that particular country. Gimmicks aren’t the way forward, and neither is trying to build a tourist attraction that I would guess won’t have had any significant input from tourists.

    That said, I’ve never been to this market (although I’ve been to most of the others), and I don’t know exactly what they’re planning to do to make it into a “tourist attraction” so maybe I’m just being pessimistic!

    • Yeah, have to admit that in hindsight the English looks worse and worse the more you look at it. I was too enamored with the visuals I guess.

      I don’t think I’ll ever mention bad English in a Korean Sociological Images post though, because no matter how frustrating and short-sighted it is never to have things checked by native speakers, it’s already been covered countless time elsewhere. But the ideology behind “the market is in for a major transformation from a traditional marketplace into a tourist attraction” line would certainly be a good one, but for Robert Koehler for one already covering that sort of thing a lot too!

      I’ve never been to that market on Jeju Island either, although I have been to Jeju for a long weekend. Unfortunately for them, it just seems to far out of the way for everybody.

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