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[Opinion] "Park Geun-hye Marketing”

Posted March. 31, 2008 03:03,   


“Though we don’t have blood ties, we were like siblings who shared laughs and stood there for each other.” So goes the narration in a TV advertisement while the pictures show the old times of the Grand National Party (GNP) when it used to use a tent as its headquarters. In the following scene, former GNP Chairwoman Park Geun-hye criticizes the party’s nomination at a press meeting. “In the end, I was fooled,” says Park. People who caught that on television might have wondered what it was all about. It is the TV advertisement of the Pro-Park Alliance that aims to deploy the so-called “Park Geun-hye marketing.”

The advertisement of the Pro-Park Alliance is reminiscent of “noise marketing,” a marketing strategy often utilized in advertising entertainment programs or movies. It is a sales skill to trigger gossips about a product to draw the attentions of consumers. In the presidential election last year, candidate Huh Kyung-young, who also was nicknamed “Huh the Matchless,” deployed an exemplary noise marketing involving Park Geun-hye. “When the Grand National Party picks on us, it is all the better for us in that it will increase the noise marketing,” confessed a staff of the Pro-Park Alliance quite frankly. Among the candidates of the Pro-Park Alliance in Gyeongsang provinces, words are spreading that they should “hang up the photograph of Park Geun-hye and cry in front of it whatsoever.”

Many criticize the “Park Geun-hye marketing” for turning politics into a comedy, but former Chairman Park herself is silent on it. In Dalseong, Daegu, her local electorate, she spent most of her time greeting citizens and shaking hands with them instead of giving a speech. There is no way that she is not aware of the fact that the brand name “Park Geun-hye” is being made use of in the election campaign of the Pro-Park Alliance which aims to upstage Grand National Party candidates.

The Pro-Park Alliance argues that the approval rating for the Pro-Park Alliance jumped from 0.2 percent to 7.1 percent over the period during which former Chair Park continued her “quiet support,” ranking third after the GNP and the United Democratic Party. Co-chair Seo Chung-won of the Pro-Park Alliance expressed confidence, saying, “The approval rating will rise as high as 12 percent and we will be able to secure about 7-8 seats in proportional representation.” But marketing experts say that there is a roof on “noise marketing.” It might be effective for stimulating the curiosity of people temporarily, but repeating it continually will harm the credibility of the party. I wonder what the case will be with the Park Geun-hye version of noise marketing.

Editorial Writer Kim Chang-hyeok (chang@donga.com)