You might have heard about Seoul’s new slogan “I.Seoul.u” and you’ve probably seen the ridicule of it. For good reason! It’s pretty bad… what is that even supposed to mean?
Foreigners living in Korea are often frustrated with the terrible English in professional settings. English that could easily be fixed but isn’t. It can be puzzling when so many young people speak English well and there is this desire to speak English, why isn’t more care taken with English? From what we can tell is that the people usually in positions of power are older and more arrogant. We’ve heard stories of people working in companies where they are overruled by bosses who have less English skills than them.
We’ve also heard from insiders that this was the situation with this slogan too. Without naming anyone, someone in power was already set on the “I.Seoul.u” slogan before it even went to a vote, and so those connected with this were not surprised that it was the one chosen because someone at the top made sure it was. Also reports have come out from foreigners at the dinner where there was a “vote” that they were told it had already been chosen. I think we can assume that no English speaker voted freely on this slogan.
It’s such a shame. Other countries have good slogans that actually make sense, but Korea has such a reputation for inane, ridiculous and confusing slogans. It’s really not the right way to attract tourists.
The only benefit has been that at least people are talking about it, but I’m not sure if it’s prompting anyone to visit Korea. Korean tourism advertising constantly has problems and those in charge obviously don’t have the knowledge of what foreigners might actually be looking for. And can someone please tell me why there are buses in Seoul that say “Visit Seoul!” on the side of them? If someone is reading that… they are already in Seoul…