Your new slogan for Seoul, South Korea’s capital city is…wait for it…
“I. SEOUL. U.”
Confused? It’s not just you.
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.
“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.
— Edward Mishaud (@emishaud) October 29, 2015
Some saw the singer IU in the slogan.
I SEOUL U – 그냥 아이유(IU) 사이에 서울 끼워넣어서 홍보하려고 하는거 아닌가?
— 마네키네코 (@philia75) October 28, 2015
Translation: “Are they just trying to promote Seoul by just inserting it between IU?”
I SEOUL U sounds like IU's fanclub or something => LOLing at this comment XD
— 시카유 ~ (@melloviciousiu) October 28, 2015
Some were more focusd on BTS being there at the event to sing.
— 진로 (@sparkjinro) October 28, 2015
Still, others loved the slogan and thought it really conveyed what Seoul meant to them.
A Durex (a condom manufacturer) evangelist in Korea had its fun with a play on the slogan.
I DUREX YOU.
— 듀렉스 전도사 (@durexmania) October 28, 2015
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?