Using ‘Gangnam Style’ to attract Stylish Tourists to Gangnam…

hey folks, the Seoul Tourism Organization made a new PR video to promote visits to Seoul called, “What is Gangnam Style?”
See what you think of it:

There’s a contest to enter after watching it, offering 2 tix to Seoul + some Amazon gift cards — but it ends on Dec 12th.
Post opinions of this vid in the Comments…

And as long as I have you here, a few more personal announcements: I’ll be interviewed on TBS radio at 1130 on this coming Tuesday the 11th, talking about the prospects of my campaign for getting Korea’s most sacred mountains registered as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. I’ll be teaching a course on traditional Korean Buddhist art at Dongguk University for their winter semester Dec21 ~ Jan 18, if anybody would like to register for that. And, I have put a very valuable matched-pair of paintings from my Korean folk-art collection up for sale, See: if interested, if you are a serious collector or know somebody who is.

  • imememememe

    this video is retarded. totally retarded.

  • wangkon936

    Milk it for all it’s worth Korea. This Gangnam Style thing is going to have a half life of milliseconds pretty soon.

  • s-girl

    It’s kind of schizophrenic. At times it’s purely educational, but then the comedy guy comes out and dances . It kind of interrupts the flow.. Wish it were edited down a bit. Some of the “statements” could be shortened a bit. Like we don’t need 10 seconds of the club. 3 would be enough.

  • Erik Cornelius

    There’s no central narrative tying this together. A “day in the life” style video with a proper host – even a comedically inclined one – would have helped the video flow better. My guess is that the audience for the video was very broadly defined – people with some interest in Korea – so they tried to make a video that would appeal to everyone and, in doing so, made a video that would appeal to no one. An interesting but poorly executed idea.

  • Madar

    Gangnam is the worst place in Korea to promote for tourism, unless your goal is attract poor third world tourists. My brother was in Gangnam on business and he viewed as I do, a business district that is almost exactly the same as any business district anywhere in the world. Boring! It was deep sea fishing and eating fresh caught sushi in the boat, the old markets that are still thriving, traditional architecture, interesting food, a traditional booze festival, the DMZ, the mountains and the new green spaces in Seoul that he found fascinating. That is the kind of stuff that should be marketed. I know many older Koreans are proud of Gangnam as it’s a sign they have “made it.” And they are ashamed of many of the truly interesting bits of Korea, as they feel it shows how the country was when it was “backward.” But if the people who believe tourism is all about a bringing in foreigners just to brag about how Korea is now developed win the day, and mow under most of the interesting traditional areas of Korea rather than protecting them, this tourist boom will be short lived.

  • platethief

    Seems they’re appealing to similar sorts of nouveaux riche who will identify with the ‘trendy people’, without realising how thoroughly unappealing such pretensions are to most. Still, if it gets these people spending, then it’s a success.

  • que337

    Yes, it is tastelessly unappealing, but IMHO, it is better than falsely advertising Japan’s safety to promote tourism and economy:

  • SomeguyinKorea

    Ironically, Psy’s music video was shot in Seongnam and Incheon.

  • SalarymaninSeoul

    There are plenty of gyms in Kangnam, the fat guy should go there and lose some weight

  • wangkon936


    It depends. If you are a Chinese, Japanese, Indonesian, Malaysia or Filipino middle class tourist wanting to visit Korea, then you may want to visit Gangnam (particularly Apgujung) just to drink coffee from the coffee shop that was featured in their favorite Korean drama. It may sound weird, but there are literally millions of people who would want to do this. They are, usually, not white but their RMB and yen is just as good (if not better) than your dollars or Euros.

  • ricki592955

    excellent post

  • Madar

    Don’t worry, Wangkon, I was including “your” RMB and yen.

    If you want coffee shops that are in dramas, I can think of three more interesting districts of Seoul to visit that are loaded with them. As for people jonesing for a glass and steel fix: the Japanese tourist has Tokyo and a few other cities to visit, Malaysia is just a train ride to Singapore, and as for China, even my Korean business friends are so overcome that they talk about Shanghai’s development blowing anything Seoul has out of the water. As for the Philippines and Indonesia, I’ve been to both, and I’ve lived in the third world in South America, and those two countries, without a doubt, qualify. A few rich elites might come, be impressed, and buy some brand items, but those are not deep wells to tap for tourist dollars.

  • platethief

    I’m sorry for you that you have issues which you feel you can only vent on an internet chatroom.

    Please seek the help you require.

  • ricki592955

    interesting video

  • wangkon936

    How long have you been on this blog? I have no yen or RMB.

    In terms of pure numbers and where the tourists are coming from, I suggest you get a little educated.

  • wangkon936

    So… almost 80% from East Asia and the Pacific rim. Over 800k in the month of October alone. Yes, we are talking about millions. Don’t know how many specifically go or wanna go to Gangnam, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s a lot.

  • Anonymous_Joe

    If it will have a half life in milliseconds pretty soon, wouldn’t it have a half life in milliseconds now, and a half life in milliseconds milliseconds ago, and….?

    I get your point: Gangnam Style’s 15 minutes is on it’s last leg. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • wangkon936
  • Madar

    I don’t have dollars or Euros, and I found what you said a bit insulting, so I replied with your yen and RMB. Check your first comment.

  • Madar

    Yes the boom is going well. But if you really think they are coming to see and be impressed by Gangnam you are delusional. They have the same thing at home, as for the most part we are Japanese and Chinese. Again, your “been in TV dramas coffee shops” are all over, I live within a 10 minute walk of several I can think of off the top of my head. They all have big signs with pictures of the given show at the door. Seoul has a lot more to offer than Gangnam.

  • Madar

    I’m sure it’s a nice day or two trip for many, but again, not the heart of a tourist industry.

  • Sanshinseon

    Thanks all for your relatively (fer this blog!) substantial & useful comments…

    Yes, GS may be into its very 15th minute, but what a hellava run it’s had! One that almost any musician or videographer would have to envy — for any such product to be so famous and maintain such popularity for four months, in our hyper-ADD-world, wow! If asked 5 months ago, not one of us could’ve predicted the global success of a goofy song-vid from Seoul. Improved Korea’s global image more than a dozen government programs, surely…

  • wangkon936

    I actually didn’t mean to be insulting. I was just matching your arrogance in your original comment with counter, but reflective, arrogance. I can’t help it if you can’t take it.

  • wangkon936

    I think Gangnam should be a component to a tourism strategy, but not the main component. You are right in that there are probably many other things to see and do in Seoul other than Gangnam. It is odd what ends up being popular with tourists though. For example, I think Hollywood Blvd. and Rodeo Drive are crappy places to go and I think there are comparatively better places not to far away. However, those places are featured in movies (like “Pretty Woman” for example) so the tourists wanna go there. I don’t make the rules I just explain them.

  • wangkon936

    Best comment on Youtube:

    “[PSY]…Nostradamus predicted๏ปฟ him !!!”

  • Madar

    I was just giving it back to you in the same way and trying to highlight some of your “colorblindness”! Your the one who seemed to get pissy about it!

  • Madar

    It sounds like we are in agreement then. I’m sure it has some place, business districts used to impress me when I was young enough to find flying and being in an airport fun, so it might appeal to young people with rich parents? But what I’m hearing more and more from people with money goes something like this, “Every 5 star hotel in the world is the same, (of course this is planned to keep you comfortable but not entertained), every place has McDonald’s and Starbucks, why do I bother traveling.” If you want to get the people with money spending here in the long term you need to highlight and push the things which make Korea a truly unique travel experience, which IMHO is not Gangnam.


    17 out of 20 tour buses,(discount tours), in Seoul are filled with Chinese, 2 in 20 Japanese and only 1 in 20 if filled South East Asians. I live buy a bunch of tour bus “discount shopping” stores designed to fleece these guys, so I have a good read on it. When I go to business meetings in the five star hotels are booked full with 60% Japanese, 19% Western hodgepodge and 19% Chinese. It’s the Japanese and Chinese pushing up the tourist numbers in Seoul.

  • tatertot

    Regardless of how you actually feel about Gangnam, it was a pretty good video (in terms of drumming up interest in visiting Gangnam).