Selling vodka to Korea by flying a kite in France

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Selling vodka to Korea by flying a kite in France

Korea has finally been invited into the international league of Swedish vodka imbibers.
Earlier this month, more than 400 guests celebrated the launching of Absolut Vodka’s local advertising campaign. The “Absolut Seoul” campaign is part of the Absolut City of the World series, the 11th in the Asia-Pacific region. The Absolut Seoul campaign features a traditional Korean kite in a blue winter sky, with the kite’s center cut out in the shape of the famous vodka bottle.
According to Peter Wijk, the company’s communication manager for the Asia-Pacific and the Middle East, the production scheme was conceived in Sweden nearly four months ago, the kite was made in Korea and the image was photographed in France.
The fourth floor of Como Building in Cheongdam-dong was decorated in a “Swedish Ice Hotel” theme for the event. A six-meter-high ice gate had a passageway in the shape of the vodka bottle, and a pile of glasses dubbed the Ice Bar was made entirely made of ice, over which a new cocktail, “Absolut Seoul,” was poured. A local food stylist introduced a variety of fusion dishes made with flavored vodka. A fusion samulnori, or Korean percussion band, performed in front of the giant kite featured in the poster.
“Korea is a whiskey and spirit country, and vodka is pretty new to them,” says Mr. Wijk. “We’re trying to introduce a culture popular outside Korea and ways to enjoy vodka by throwing a cool theme party.”
When the decision was made to create an advertising image for Korea, the local creative team sought out 100-year-old No Yu-sang, a master of traditional Korean kites who has been designated Intangible Cultural Property No. 4 by the government. Mr. No worked with his 67-year-old son to create a kite that bears taegeuk, or the yin-yang symbol. Taegeuk is also part of Korea’s national flag.
The tradition of Korean kites goes back to the 13th century when they was first used as a symbol to pep up the deflated spirit of war-stricken Koreans, and flying them has been a major Korean pastime over the centuries.
Today, there are more than 100 different kinds of kites in Korea. The kite used in the Absolut campaign is called bangpaeyeon, or shield kite; traditionally, it was flown on one of Korea’s major holidays, the first Full Moon’s Day of each year.
The company says the introduction of vodka through the image of Korea’s ancient game is intended to pay tribute to the tradition and innovation of the Korean capital.

by Ines Cho
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