‘Dokdo is Korean Territory’. Seo Kyoung-duk, specialist of publicizing Korea, put this advertisement in New York Times when some members of a local government in Japan submitted a bill to designate February 22th as ‘Takeshima Day’.
On November 11th, G20 Seoul summit will be held. Seo also placed an advertisement on internet homepage of Wall Street Journal from October 11th during a month to promote G20 Seoul summit. If someone clicks the button, then it connects to official G20 Seoul summit web site.
“I want to make a public relations officer at Time Square in New York City. It will work only for Korea” It is the answer about what Seo wants to do in the future. Like this, he strives to publicize Korea. The Hanyang Journal met him and talked about brand power of Korea.
Q. What do you prepare for G20 summit?
A. I gather the dream of a cosmopolitan. I plan the event that ‘Dream of World’. It has been passed about 100 years since we have lost the sovereignty of a nation in 1910. To look back upon the past 100 years and to plan the future 100 years, I prepare ‘Dream of World’ event. Designer Lee Sang-bong helped me. We gather dreams to a citizen of the world, America, Europe, Asia and Africa. We will gather 20,100 people’s dreams and attach them. It will be exhibited in Gwanghwamun Square.
People usually pray their dreams about their personal things. For example, they want to get a high powered-job or make lots of money. Otherwise there are some interesting dreams that one married man, swear me to secrecy, his dream is to meet many ladies. Also, dreams reveal differently by countries. One African said that his dream is to be a soccer player. One American said that his dream is peace of world and one European said his dream is to raise status of EU.
Q. Unfortunately, there are some criticisms about Seo’s activities. For example, advertisement of Dokdo just strengthen dispute and advertisement of G20 is just excessive nationalism.
A. When place an advertisement in New York Times about Dokdo, I tested 1,000 foreigners how they understood my typography. If Dokdo advertisement understood just promote international quarrels, I would not place that advertisement. G20 summit is the same. I understand why they criticize to me but it is not fair to automatically blame. I think that we already decided to do it, make use of it. G20 Seoul summit is good opportunity that enhances the national brand image. G20 summit is global issue that comparable the World Cup and the Olympic Games. About 5,000 eminent organs of public opinion will visit Korea. Most of the newspapers covered the G20 summit on the front page. Some people may think G20 summit is nothing to do with them and it is just associate with people who high in dignity. In this case, please remember the global financial crisis in 2007. Because of subprime Mortgage crisis in America, Korea also had big crisis. Agenda that dealt in G20 summit may also affect us more directly.
Q. View objectively, brand power of Korea is high or low?
A. It is much better than before, but still dissatisfaction. ‘Korea discount’ is still exists. ‘Korea discount’ means that when Korea makes telephone and other advanced country also makes same function and design telephone, ours are much cheaper than them. It means that our national brand power is lower than them. ‘Korea discount’ should be change to ‘Korea Premium’. To be ‘Korea Premium’, obey the fundamental is important. Please walk on right side facing traffic and do not take pictures at museum. When I go abroad and visit historic site, I saw many scribbles written Korean. Imagine that some foreigner visitors scribble on the wall of our historical site. Become ‘Korea Premium’? It starts from obey global etiquette.
Q. Say something to Hanyangians.
A. Students may have some worries. I also have pessimism about university life. When I entered university, I felt a sense of distance that imagined university life and real life. So I decide to do something. If you want to do something, just do it. It is a serious problem that some university students just dream their workplaces, not occupations. Some says that ‘I want to get a job at major company’, not like ‘I want to be someone like that’. I want Hanyangians do not stick to where you work. Instead, I recommend you to think what you do.
Specialist of publicizing Korea
Born in 1974
Graduated at Department of Landscape Architecture, Sungkyunkwan University
Graduated at Graduate School of Life and Environmental Science, Korea University
Visiting Professor at Sungshin Women’s University
Consultant at Presidential Council on Nation Branding
Wrote a book named Infinite Challenge towards the World
Spokesperson of Independence Hall