Seoul’s New Slogan Is “I.SEOUL.U,” Leaving Many Scratching Their Heads

Source: Seoul Korea Facebook

Your new slogan for Seoul, South Korea’s capital city is…wait for it…

“I. SEOUL. U.”

Confused? It’s not just you.


Source: Seoul Korea Facebook

The Seoul Metropolitan Government needed a new slogan to replace its rather meaningless “Hi Seoul” slogan, which was chosen by politicans, so it reached out to the public for ideas, launching a contest that received over 16,000 submissions from around the world, although most were from Koreans.  A branding agency narrowed down those entries to a couple of hundred, and from there, a panel of Koreans and foreigners and a panel of experts narrowed the candidates down to 20 and then to 3, respectively. The final three were “Seoulmate,” “SEOULing,” and “I.SEOUL.U.,” with the winning slogan being decided by a public vote.


Source: Seoul Korea Facebook

“SEOULing” didn’t get much support, with “Seoulmate” polling higher than “I.SEOUL.U” on an online poll. But at the on-the-spot poll held yesterday, October 29, at the event to announce the new slogan, “I.SEOUL.U” pulled ahead to win, becoming the new slogan for the capital city of South Korea.

“I.SEOUL.U” was supported by all nine experts and about 60% of the 1,140 citzen present to vote yesterday. The slogan was submitted by a Korean student who studies philosophy in college, winning three million won (approximately $2,700) as a prize.

Reaction to the new slogan by the international communtiy and Korean community was skewed toward ridicule and disbelief, with many taking to social media to express their opinion.

seoul Korea slogan 2-2

Some saw the singer IU in the slogan.

Translation: “Are they just trying to promote Seoul by just inserting it between IU?”

Some were more focusd on BTS being there at the event to sing.

Still, others loved the slogan and thought it really conveyed what Seoul meant to them.

seoul Korea slogan 3-3 seoul Korea slogan 1-1

A Durex (a condom manufacturer) evangelist in Korea had its fun with a play on the slogan.

The general opinion seems to be that the video presentation for “I.SEOUL.U”  at the launching ceremony yesterday was better than all the others, and made a good argument for the slogan. Unforunately, that’s not how slogans work; the words should be enough without a long video to explain it, and while the Korean audience sitting there watching the video might have liked the meaning it conveyed, it doesn’t mean the international audience will feel the same way.  It’s a slogan for a Korean city, yes, but it is obviously meant to be read by a worldwide audience. “I.SEOUL.U” slogan doesn’t convey its meaning intuitively, leaving a lot of people asking, Koreans and non-Koreans alike, “What does it mean?”

What about you, readers? What do you think of Seoul’s new slogan?