life on a new scale

I have always recognized that sometimes advertising is tough to evaluate because of cultural differences. and possibly because I just finished an international project I am even more aware than usual.

Local culture, or even regional culture, has a variety of visual and non visual cues & quirks that if you are not from that area take a little while to shift your attitude from “wtf?” to “oh … the people here like this.”


Note to USA folk. Unfortunately the world of culture <and anything else for that matter> does not revolve around us and what we do and say and wear. Our antics & quirks are … well … often our antics & quirks. Fortunately other regions have their own antics & quirks that they need to deal with.

Ok. All that said. When you go to the international communications level you have to pay attention to the nuances <because anyone going global will obviously be smart enough to avoid the real quirks>.

Korean Air is the reason I decided to write about this today. Korean Air has a global advertising campaign <supposedly to elevate the brand to a whole new level> called “For life on a whole new scale.”

I have seen the magazine advertising in The Economist and the television ads on CNNinternational <and BBC>.

Every time I see it I stop and pay attention because in some ways I like the imagery and in other ways it seems like something someone <in US or Britain> would have done maybe 20 or 30 years ago. But, beyond that, there is something that nags at me.

I am sure it is appropriate for and/or logical to Koreans, but it seems slightly dated <in imagery as well as how it depicts women> to me.

Korean Air (for asia):

Korean Air:

By the way … I don’t think it’s bad (note: their last campaign was bad … really bad).

Old campaign

The idea behind this campaign is really really good.

And I absolutely love the final image of someone sitting in an airplane window (the image at beginning of post).  Yet. It is a nuance … but I am not sure the woman they put in the window was right.


I just feel like it could have been done in a slightly different way and still depicted Korean culturally <which is important to the airlines> and yet been a little more global in its feel (outside of Asia).


That’s me.

Regardless. It is a great airlines. And the idea behind the campaign is a really really good idea. But even great ideas need some subtle nuances incorporated into the execution to insure it is seen as equally good wherever it is shown. Something is slightly off in the execution of this idea.

Written by Bruce