If Nothing Else Works, Try Appealing To Koreans’ Inferiority Complex

That appears to be the thinking behind the ubiquitous posters of white guys not smoking that you can see around Seoul these days.  My favorite is a fat old wealthy industrialist leaning on the mantlepiece of a palacial fireplace holding a hotdog like a cigar.

Here’s another one.

2008_06 043

‘In developed countries* people consult with their doctors about quitting smoking.
There is a new smoking cessation technique more effective than you think waiting for you at your doctor’s’

The gist of the campaign is essentially ‘White countries don’t smoke anymore and neither should we.’  I should point out that Japan, one of the other ‘developed countries’, makes no appearance.

It always makes me sad to see this kind of marketing here.  On one level it’s somewhat equivalent to the concept of the ‘European secret’ as used in American marketing, but with way more racial implications.

Note, for example, that when you go to the website of the popular (?) Maasai Walking Shoe maker Ryn, you see this:


The Maasai Walking Shoe Website.

See, it’s all good that it was made in Africa, but until it has the white country seal of approval, it’s nothing in Korea.


*The word ‘선진국’ can be translated variously as ‘advanced country’, ‘developed country’ or ‘leading country’.  I used ‘developed country’ because it’s so fraught and charged.  I may be intellectually dishonest, but at least I’m honest about it.

~ by Joshing on June 30, 2008.

2 Responses to “If Nothing Else Works, Try Appealing To Koreans’ Inferiority Complex”

  1. “There is a new smoking cessation technique more effective than you think waiting for you at your doctor’s”

    When I read this I suspected that this is actually an advertisement for a quit smoking drug, but that by law the prescription drug is not allowed to be advertised directly, so they are sending smokers to their doctors (presumably, to be described this medicine).

    I recall during the 2002 World Cup, television was playing an ad where Pele (yes, that Pele) talked about erectile disfunction, but then helpfully added “your doctor has a medicine that can help you. Go see him” or words to that effect.

    Just my observation.

  2. I am Korean American. Korean inferiority complex of Koreans living in Korea is un-fucking believable. Then we Korean Americans have to deal with inferiority complex in the US as well.
    I once heard this white guy saying, “One time I was with a group of Korean friends heading to a restaurant. Upon a large group of caucasians exiting the restaurant, my korean friends told me to speak English to them, so they can speak English Loudly. That way the CAUCASIAN group will hear them speaking English, thereby impress them.” Korean inferiority complex is just unbelievable. Un fucking believable.

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