How to Get Ahead in Korea…

Samsung Mini-notebook advertisementWhile I wouldn’t go so far as to include it in my “Creative Korean Advertising” series, this advertisement certainly did get my attention when it was in the form of the entire back page of today’s Korea Times, and not just because I have a shaved head myself! Click on it for a full-size image, and you’ll soon see what I mean.

Meanwhile, apologies for the lack of posts recently, but my father-in-law literally fell off a cliff last weekend, and had to be taken by helicopter to the closest hospital. He’s okay (ish), but he’ll be in hospital for a long time, and with my wife going back and forth to her hometown to see him, my looking after the children while she does, and all my other work and paid writing commitments, then my blogging plans for this week have lost out to my getting a whole 5 hours of sleep a night I’m afraid(!). But blogging-wise at least, things should be back to normal within a couple of days.

15 thoughts on “How to Get Ahead in Korea…

  1. What awful news about your father-in-law. My father-in-law likes to go hiking for his photography, and it takes him to extremely strange places. I hope our family won’t have to go through the same thing someday!


  2. Thanks, but he’s really okay. Actually all things considered, he’s quite lucky, as although he has a couple of cracked ribs and the area around his spine is severely bruised, he still has full use of all his limbs and so on.


    1. Thanks. Off to see him now in fact. Well, to be more accurate I’ll be chasing my kids around the hospital, and my wife will see him!

      I’ve only just noticed, but they’ve been changing the colors and matching color-captions in the ad each week. I’ll take a closer look at what they say when I get back.


  3. James sorry to read about your father in-law, thankfully he’s not too seriously injured, takes old buggers a little longer to recover than us ‘youngish’ scally wags though-suppy him with lots of kiwi fruit and let me know if he needs a pot of Marmite. With the weather like it is visiting the hospital today isn’t a bad option, it’s a good chance for some family bonding and hangul practice~
    The model in the ad looks curiously feminine, bushy eyebrows tells me it’s a he-however she may be a naturalist? I thought you were going to shed light on How to Get Ahead in Korea! Feeling a little let down, but you have provided some ideas anyway on How to Shave My Head in Korea. I wonder whether seeing this ad actually encourages people to go out and a buy a mini laptop that can sense things?


  4. My hopes for your father-in-law’s recovery. One hates to disfigure Korea’s mountains with guardrails and such, but many trails are not maintained. I always assumed the Buddhist monks did this.


    1. Sorry to disappoint Bernie, although I do like my puns. And a mini-notebook is definitely one of the first things I’ll buy once I have the money, as my current laptop at home isn’t all that portable really, even though it’s only 2 years old.

      I don’t know where the name “Sens” came from, but I don’t think it’s any play on the word “sense.” At least, not in all the ad for it I’ve seen for it over the years. I hear what you’re saying about the model being a little androgynous though.

      My father-in-law seems fine, and to tell the truth I had to escape from the 12+ relatives visiting: it got a bit hot and claustrophobic, what with 8 people in the ward and all the other patients’ relatives visiting and all. Hence here I am on the hospital computer, wishing I had a mini-notebook instead!

      Thanks Baltimoron, although I’m not sure of the exact circumstances of the accident sorry, and whether it was anything to do with trail being maintained properly or not.

      Personally I don’t mind all the guardrails and such, but I do hate the addition of new statues in the midst of temples that are hundreds of years old and so on.


  5. I kinda don’t get this AD. what do they mean with nice try? it’s just weird.
    would love to have such a mini laptop though. the one I have is much too heavy and to big to carry around


  6. I don’t really get the English either, not that nonsensical English isn’t anything new for Korean advertisements.

    Technically, this one is from last week (sorry), and the accompanying red text in Korean underneath literally says “Say My Uniqueness.” Instead, the one yesterday had a blue mini-notebook, “Unique!” underneath in blue, then “삼성을 넘어선 스타일을 말하다” in blue, or “Say Superior Samsung Style.”

    Your guess is as good as mine…


  7. weird. they should make a small print explaining the ad…but maybe it is the uniqueness. absolutely no logic behind it^^


  8. btw, just found out about your blog and was reading it the whole day yesterday. went don’t know how many pages back. awesome!


  9. Wishing a speedy recovery for your FIL.

    Speaking of Samsung and ads, a couple months before, you had an article featuring the Whisen air conditioner and I had commented the rival company, Samsung, had a more successful ad:

    chile: I think the rival air conditioner from Samsung has the better star and more successful ad. Yuna Kim’s Sing Sing song in the CF is popular. She has a fitting, cool image to endorse the product since she’s uh, an ice skater. Plus they didn’t sex her up. They actually made an age appropriate CF.

    James: Possibly, but while it’s more appropriate for a wider audience, it’s definitely a little clown-like too. I think each is ultimately marketed towards quite different consumer groups really.

    chile: I have to politely disagree about the clown-likeness of it. I think it’s cute, catchy, and again, age appropriate for Yuna Kim. Clownish or not, the concept seems to be working because it’s a popular and easily identifiable CF right now. Can you explain the different consumer groups? Because I can’t imagine young kids or even teenagers buying giant air conditioners. Air conditioners are air conditioners and I don’t see one CF aiming for an exclusively different consumer group than the other. Families, newlyweds, young singles, I think all of these groups would prefer Samsung’s CF over Whisen’s CF.

    James: We’ll just have to agree to politely disagree. In hindsight, in my last comment I did overemphasize the differences between the two groups I think each air-conditioner is marketed towards – there’s considerable overlap really – but whereas the Samsung commercial comes across as cute overall the Whisen commercial definitely aims more for sophistication, and I can imagine many newlyweds and young singles that don’t plan to have children especially preferring to have the latter. Certainly air-conditioners are air-conditioners at the end of the day, but the whole point of branding is to get people who can afford to to pay more for essentially the same thing (think Levi’s jeans) and while Yuna’s commercial is “cute and catchy” both can in fact be off-putting for many people.

    Exchange here:

    It’s been reported recently that thanks to Kim Yuna’s ads for Samsung, the company has finallly been able to overcome Whisen in air conditioner sales.

    More info in English:

    What’s the point of all this? I guess I’m trying to say as nicely as possible without sounding like a jerk, “I told you so.” ;) Forgive this lapse of immaturity, but I just really wanted to point out that, indeed, Samsung’s ads were more successful even if you may think Whisen’s were more sophisticated.


    1. Thanks Yue, and Chile also. And by all means feel free to gloat Chile(!), but in my defense me saying that Whisen’s ads were more sophisticated isn’t at all the same as me saying that Whisen’s wouldn’t be more successful: indeed, so enwrapped is the Korean public with absolutely any Korean that is successful on the world stage, regardless of which field and their lack of interest in them ealier, that with Yuna in them then virtually any quality and/or style of commercial would have resulted in many more sales for Samsung.


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