Nation abuzz with support for G20 summit

  • Published : Nov 7, 2010 - 18:03
  • Updated : Nov 7, 2010 - 18:03

From the government down to grassroots groups and individuals, people are expressing support for the G20 summit, looking to use the event to promote the image of Korea and themselves.

About four months before the meeting, the government opened the official publicity campaign to raise the awareness of the G20 Seoul Summit. The Presidential Committee for the G20 Summit appointed three internationally acclaimed Korean megastars as its goodwill ambassadors. On July 28, the 2010 Vancouver Olympic figure skating champion Kim Yu-na, Manchester United striker Park Ji-sung and actress Han Hyo-joo were appointed as publicity envoys from SaKong Il, chairman of the committee.

A 20-meter high, 100-meter wide poster featuring Kim and Han in front of Seoul City Hall bears the slogan: “The world’s future opens with Korea.”

Their designation spurred other government agencies to follow suit.

On Oct. 21, Gangnam Police Station in southern Seoul, which has jurisdiction over the summit’s venue, selected actress Choi Ran and comedian Park Joon-hyung as G20 “law and order goodwill ambassadors.” They took to the streets for a joint campaign by Gangnam-gu Office, Gangnam and Suseo Police Stations and the Korea International Trade Association to appeal to pedestrians and motorists to adhere to traffic rules and driving manners.

Seoul City added rocker Kim Jong-seo to the list of goodwill ambassadors for the summit.

To promote Korea is not a job only for officially appointed goodwill ambassadors.

Popular girl group Girls’ Generation joined in on G20 Seoul Summit promotions by showing up at an event on Oct. 25. In the event, the singers promised to work as “star supporters of the G20 Seoul Summit.”
Pop group Girls’ Generation pose after attending an event to promote G20 Seoul Summit on COEX Millenium Square in southern Seoul on Oct. 25. (Yonhap News)

Businesses also acted in concert, performing in the role of goodwill ambassadors. On Sept. 28, SK Telecom was praised by local media for inviting foreign government officials to its event hall and showing them the future vision of Korea’s telecom industry.

The cultural sector was no exception. A concert took place at Sejong Cultural Center late last month as an event to express wishes for the successful hosting of the summit. Wives of foreign ambassadors in Korea, including those from G20 countries, took to the stage to sing a medley of songs from around the world. Organizers of a traditional archery festival and a hiking convention also wished the Seoul summit well.

Large businesses placed adverts showing the G20 Summit logo a traditional lantern with a red and blue shade. On Oct. 29, SK telecom put a full-page ad on a local newspaper with a phrase “we welcome the Seoul G20 Summit Meeting.” Samsung Electronics and IBK “wished for the successful hosting of the Seoul G20 Summit.” STX, SK and Shinhan Investment Corp. made similar remarks on their adverts.

Even some small restaurants lining the Cheonggye Stream put stickers bearing the lantern logo and welcoming messages on their front doors.

Efforts to raise the awareness of the summit meeting do not end there. Individuals who have worked to spread the good image of Korea have rolled up their sleeves again.

Self-styled Korea publicity expert Seo Kyoung-duk, guest professor at Sungshin Women’s University, has opened a G20 Seoul Summit publicity blog ( with high school and university students. The blog explains the concept of the summit meeting, its meaning to the host country Korea and preparation for the summit. On Aug. 18, he set up a board covered in fabric in Time Square, New York City on which passers-by could write messages of support for the summit. He has collected messages from 20,100 well-wishers at home and abroad, and will combine them into one giant sheet and display it near Gwanghwamun during the summit.

Konkuk University Professor Min Byoung-chul has stepped up an etiquette campaign aimed at the summit meeting. His efforts include campaigns for motorists to give way to ambulances, netizens to make positive replies to internet postings, stop smoking in public places, and for people to hold doors open for other people.

The most prominent publicity effect, though, seems to come from news media, particularly broadcasting networks. Floods of newspaper articles aside, KBS, SBS, MBC and cable news channels have reported every day or every hour on the summit, together with flashy graphics.

To back up the nation’s G20 Seoul Summit promotion, Seoul City recruited 5,817 volunteers for the summit meeting in a ceremony on Seoul Plaza Oct. 31. They will offer information and administrative assistance in earnest from this week.

By Chun Sung-woo (