What the QOOK?

From the Joongang Daily:

KT’s services for households including Internet, IPTV and home phones will now be under the QOOK brand…The company said QOOK stands for subscribers “cooking up and selecting quality services in any way they choose” 

Er… um… Am I missing something in Korean, or are you just as dumbfounded?

  • yuna

    Yup. You are missing something in Korean.
    Read the Korean article on it.
    It’s a double entendre in Korean & English.
    And the primary meaning it’s meant to convey is 쿡 the onomatopoeia for sound of pressing a button. Because you perform most of the actions of pressing buttons on remote, or phone or what have you. If you press a smaller button the same sound becomes 콕, (or something you poke).
    I thought it could also convey the onomatopoeia for staying put in the depth of one’s room or one’s home – 방에 쿡/콕 – , (방콕) 쳐박혀 있다… But that hasn’t been discussed.

  • WeikuBoy

    I’ve seen a pair of TV commercials (adverts) for this company, usually shown back to back, the first of which seems to make light of homelessness. But no doubt I’m missing some cultural nuance, perhaps the same unwritten “contract with the lower class” our friend Jon Huer recently discovered.

  • yuna

    The thing that upset more Koreans is actually the use of their logo 집나가면 개고생이다…
    Although it’s a common expression, you suffer when you leave home, (it’s a more direct version of east of west, home is best) “개” is a derogatory slangy adjective when placed in front of a noun.
    The point of the campaign was to have many people to ask what the product was before revealing all.

  • yuna

    east OR west

  • Dram_man

    Yuna> Explains it a bit, however I fail to see how you can get from “Q” to “K”. I would think it would be roughly “Kwook”, then again I am not romanizing the word, Koreans are.

    That said though, is the average Korean able to grasp the English idiom “to cook-up” something non food related. The KT guy certainly gives the impression that such a assumption was the main inspiration behind the campaign.

  • yuna

    The sound 쿡 i think is well described by qook. It’s definitely far from cook (the double o is not long enough) — it could be kook, but that has a meaning already. Qook is fine.
    Many Koreans thought it was a rice cooker commercial (cutchen or 쿠쿠 밥솥), it looks cute and catchy enough for a Korean telecom bundle service type. And kwook isn’t quite the sound of 쿡.
    It’s like their SHOW campaign, 쇼하고 살자, 쇼! Because 쇼를 한다, 쇼를 해 is also quite a derogatory term, if someone is making a fool of themselves.
    As for “cooking up” yeah, I think he actually didn’t use that expression very well but it’s more like playing Nintendo *cooking mama* kind of feeling. You sit there in the middle cooking UP serving UP all the different things with all sorts of ingredients?
    MY, should I be working for KT?

  • Sonagi

    Native English speakers would be uncertain how to pronounce “qook,” but that doesn’t matter since this Romanized name, like most other brands, is by Koreans for Koreans.

  • Dram_man

    I do not know the service exactly, but if I understand the technology (not necessarily how its implemented by KT), I can see how somebody could “cook-up” an evening of entertainment by choosing programing on demand.

    Based on the TV spots I think the implication you mention about the Show campaign, initially anyway, was intentional. The spots seemed to say “look at all the silly and personally embarrassing things you can see”

  • Dram_man

    Sonagi> Well you bring up the quandary crystalizing in my mind. Sure you can sit there and say the name is by and for Koreans, yet why then the use, from creative inception, of a rather complex idiom and then the omission by the PR guy about the implications of the word in Korean?

    It seems to me that this brand has some intended international future.

  • yuna

    And finally if you see the logo, I think the visual effect was an important factor in the choice of the spelling. I hear the next TV ad to watch out for is man on the moon when they “쿡” 찔러 넣다 plant the flag into the lunar soil. What a historic step for the mankind has to do with an internet/phone bundle service I don’t know… But let them have fun.

  • foobat

    get ready for the barge of retarded Korean commentary if your ‘family’ name is QOOK (쿡/Cook).

  • yuna

    It looks like viral marketing (that’s what it says it employed in the same article link I posted above) for this brand is working on this site as well as in the rest of the country. Korea has the right critical size population and population density — for such a (heinous, some might feel) campaign.

  • http://www.jdlink.co.kr Linkd

    Did somebody say “viral marketing”?!

    Just in case you haven’t seen “Mow the Lawn”, a viral video for the Quatro women’s razor, it is a MUST SEE.


  • Dram_man

    Linkd> I do not know if it’s because I am getting older or there is something going on, but that was disturbing.

  • bumfromkorea

    My Korean-speaking side of the brain totally gets what the advertisers are trying to do, and it totally agrees with yuna. My English-speaking side of the brain nevertheless finds it hilarious.

  • DLBarch

    Wow! I would have to say that any Korean brandname that comes within a mile of sounding like the old vile pejorative “gook” is a disaster in the making.


  • NetizenKim

    Korea Telecom is offering IPTV? WTF?

    Here in the United States, IPTV is to the cable companies what clean and efficient rail transit is to Big Oil.

    While you undeserving dorks enjoy fiber straight to the home and symmetrical 100Mbps bandwidth in Korea, I’m puttering along with ~800kbps download/150kbps upload speeds offered by the local service provider. Streaming high definition video via internet to my 47-inch LCD screen remains an hopeless, agonizing exercise in frustration.

    The state of cable TV programming is atrocious, a cesspool of stupifying, uninspired crap-fest. As high fructose corn syrup is one of the leading factors in the obesity epidemic cable TV programming is a major cause of American idiocracy and the decline of independent critical thinking, informed and intellectual public. This is because content providers and cable companies operate on a business model that mostly neglects consumer preference. Furthermore, each cable company (Comcast, Cablevision, Time Warner) is a local monopoly. It’s like a patchwork fiefdom of Big Cable that has greed to divvy up the market amongst themselves. There is no direct competition. Quality suffers. Inane, vapid reality TV shows abound.

    Technology is the only instrument that can empower the individual consumer to have an alternative to Big Cable and to sever the coaxial umbilical cord. There is much interesting quality content on the web if one knows where to look. Tools such as Boxee, Hulu, Netflix, Youtube, and TVersity allows you the capability to stream content via internet to the living room screen. One can pick and choose his own programming rather than let Big Cable providers do it for you. But the average consumer has neither the patience nor ability to wean himself off stagnant, traditional cable. Joe the Plumber just wants to sit on the couch, crack open a beer, and press a remote control button. Millions remain apathetically content to pay $50 a month for mediocrity.

  • Arghaeri

    I thought “kook” was a racial slur term for vietnamese?

  • Sonagi

    On our side of the pond, “kook” means “crazy.” “Gook” is the racial slur John McCain used in referring to the Vietnamese, but the term can be used to insult any person of Asian ancestry.