Chinese Campaign Backfires in Korea
Korean netizens have protested against a Chinese ad campaign for the online game World II.
In features Chinese pop singer Han Geng, who launched his successful career in Korea (for those of you who follow Asian pop, his band was called “Super Junior”).
In a video promoting World II, Han is yelled at in Korean by a bossy lady from Korea. Thanks to World II, the singer gets revenge on her in the virtual world of electronic games, boosting his self-confidence. He then returns to reality, puts on an incredible gig and becomes a superstar. The video ends with a shot of the Korean lady, lost in the crowd, looking up to Han in awe.
Picked up by Korean netizens, the video has upset many Koreans.
“I used to be a loyal fan of Han but now I feel betrayed,” said a typical post on a Korean discussion board. “He became a star in Korea but now obviously he has forgotten about that.”
Behind the News:
World II provides an interesting cross-cultural twist on the now familiar “geek turns rock star and gets the girl” theme. Not only does the main character of the ad turn a woman’s prior rejection into admiration, he also seems to turn his back on his initial Korean success and potentially alienate fans and potential clients for the brand. This may be an act of personal retribution, as following a number of lawsuits, Han’s contract with his Korean record agency ended unhappily. However what may be seen as humoristic in China has turned into a recipe for negative brand buzz abroad.