OWL Magazine Korea

“Advertising with Humanities” by Park Woong-hyun & Kang Chang-rae

In the late 2000s and early 2010s, there was a craze for “humanities” in South Korea. It was a time when various humanities-related books, such as Ji Seong Lee’s “Lead through Reading” and Professor Michael Sandel’s “Justice,” were being published one after another.

During this period, South Korea, which had been focused on manufacturing, was in the process of transitioning from a developing country to an advanced one. In this process, there was a societal emphasis on focusing on “humanities,” which had been somewhat neglected for a while. It was also a time when Professor Michael Sandel’s lecture on “Justice” was being broadcast nationwide via EBS in a society lacking in justice.

“Park Woong-hyun & Kang Chang-rae, Advertising with Humanities”

In this societal phenomenon and atmosphere, one might think that a book with the title “Advertising with Humanities” related to advertising was also published. At that time, attaching the title “humanities” guaranteed a certain level of success.

Of course, Park Woong-hyun, an advertising creator, was not someone who ignored “humanities.” He was fundamentally interested in humanities, and given the societal focus on humanities at the time, it seems that this title was selected within the context and flow of the times.

“A book that unfolds Park Woong-hyun’s thoughts on advertising in an interview format”

The book is based on an interview conducted by Kang Chang-rae with Park Woong-hyun. Thanks to this, throughout the book, I felt as if I were witnessing a conversation between the two.

Firstly, the book briefly discusses advertising, and Park Woong-hyun talks about what he thinks constitutes good advertising.

“What makes good advertising?”

According to him, advertising shows how a company perceives the current era and society, and he expresses that good advertising is akin to good poetry.

Ultimately, advertising is a form of conveying a message and a process. Therefore, if we broaden the definition of literature slightly, advertising could also be considered a form of literature. Thus, to create good advertising, exposure to good literary works could be helpful, just as reading good writing is essential for writing well.

“The correlation between creativity and humanities”

Advertising is a form of “creative” activity. Therefore, a significant level of “creativity” is required. Hence, the book discusses creativity as a topic.

In the book, creativity ultimately means penetrating the essence. That is, it equates insight and creativity and relates to intuition. Furthermore, Park Woong-hyun and Kang Chang-rae both emphasize that reading many books is also important for gaining such creativity.

In the end, the essence of humanities is based on constant thought and contemplation. Reflecting on why the author wrote something in a particular way and what intention is behind it is ultimately the essence of humanities.

“Why didn’t I think seriously about advertising?”

In fact, until I came across this book, I hadn’t thought about connecting humanities, creativity, and advertising. As someone who hasn’t watched TV, the most popular medium, for years, it’s natural that I haven’t been exposed to advertising much. In fact, I haven’t seen any of the advertisements introduced in the book.

After reading the book, I realized that advertising also shares similarities with humanities. It made me think that creating various advertising messages, images, and videos based on humanities could also be a form of humanities.

“A good advertisement is context.”

The idea that a good advertisement introduced in the book is all about “context” also resonates with me after finishing the book. Creating appropriate advertising messages based on what people want and the current situation seems to be the essence of a true good advertisement.

To understand the context, you need to understand the overall atmosphere of society. And you need to understand the mechanisms behind them. Knowledge and information about various fields, such as why certain things happen and what culture they arise from, are needed.

Most advertisements need to be short and impactful. Most advertisements imprint something on people’s minds in less than 15 seconds. Ultimately, to gain the empathy of the masses, slogans based on “insight” are necessary. The driving force behind such insight is ultimately the power of humanities.

“Diverse advertisements introduced in the book”

If time allows, it would be nice to organize various advertisements introduced in the book. The book introduces various advertisements in which Park Woong-hyun participated, and below are some of them:

  • Hyundai Life Handbook
  • Naver Advertisement (the first advertisement made only with subtitles)
  • Next UCC Advertisement
  • Beanpole Advertisement (“Her bike came into my heart.”)
  • Samsung Elite Campaign (“2nd place is forgettable.”)
  • KTF Creative Thinking (“Age is just a number. Neckties and jeans are equal. Differences are acknowledged. Challenges to discrimination.”)
  • Pulmuone (We do not use genetically modified soybeans.)
  • E-Land Advertisement (Sincerity creates)
  • Maxim (“Foam you want to steal, Maxim Cappuccino”)
  • SK Broadband (See the unseen)
  • Think different (Think – IBM, Think different – Mac)

“Advertising with Humanities”

  • Authors: Park Woong-hyun & Kang Chang-rae
  • Publication Date: August 27, 2009
  • ISBN13: 9788992525633
  • Yes24: http://app.ac/XErnXmS93