Monday, March 31, 2008

KOREAN AIR: How May We Service You?

Korean Air:
You think our turbines have suction power...
The ad copy (click image) reads, in part: "That's why our delicate service (no teeth!) with a smile remains constant throughout the flight..." Now, the ad was scanned from the March 31st Asian edition of Newsweek. And as tipster Juditha wrote, there certainly is a cultural difference with how female flight attendants (and really, all females) are perceived in Asian culture. But. Still. If the airline keeps running ads in this vein (sorry!), their male passengers are not going to stop at unbuckling their seat belts. previous ads with overt oral sex imagery: Fragoli liqueur, Too Much Teeth!; Naples Lumber—sometimes an electric screwdriver isn't just an electric screwdriver; QSOL servers won't go down on you either; OXYDO sunglasses—The Magic Flute; and Queens auto dealership, $"69" down.
update: go to PollsBoutique to vote in a poll about the imagery of this ad.

6 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

JeezUS! Bad enough but culturally more acceptable if this ran in Asia, but in Newsweek? All the women CEOs will be rioting. You know, all 3 of them.

12:51 PM  
Blogger Raquel said...

Korean Air: you'll love us long time.

11:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"JeezUS! Bad enough but culturally more acceptable if this ran in Asia, but in Newsweek? All the women CEOs will be rioting. You know, all 3 of them."

It was run in Asia - The Asian edition of Newsweek. I thought that was clear.

9:40 AM  
Anonymous crista said...

I was linked to your site through another blog. I just wanted to say I dont think this add is trying to be overt oral sex imagery (is that what you are saying? or am I wrong?)

I think its reference to Korean (and Asia) custom of bowing in front of your elders, parents, to people you respect, or in general to show deference to someone and submission. (ie students serve their teachers drinks/food on their knees) Its a position of servitude not necessarily the same 'on your knees' sexual connotation we have in the US. Obviously all of this still is problematic as far as the the female subjugation at the will of the korean air clients and bascially almost just as offensive. But I thought that cultural reference was probably really important as well, as Korean, and other Asian cultures would read it with that in mind. Probably why that add was not used in the US market.

12:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i agree with crista - i am korean american and although i understand what you're saying, i don't think that this ad is trying to say anything sexual. to me it conjures up being treated like royalty - in the old days the servants of royalty had to kneel and bow at all times when presenting the king with food/drinks/documents and then scoot out the door, never showing their backs. it is a sign of respect. with that said, this should not run anywhere outside east asia as it can be misconstrued by everyone else.

1:17 AM  
Blogger Eliott said...

You think the print ad is bad? You should see the visuals in their TV spot that runs in high rotation on CNBC, among other channels.

5:17 PM  

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