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City Branding Trend: Be Truthful and Show the Reality

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SOURCE Seoul Metropolitan Government

Seoul, Korea Captivates Global Fans Through Its Bitter-sweetness

SEOUL, South Korea, Feb. 28, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Every city has its own distinct image and a nickname. Paris is about romance. New York is about high skyscrapers, and don't forget the Big Apple. How about Seoul, South Korea? The Seoul Metropolitan Government took on an ambitious global project to answer this question, asking global citizens to submit 5-minutes-or-less video clips about Seoul. This creative and unique city branding project resulted in an unprecedented movie featuring people's diverse, honest, and truthful perceptions of Seoul. Read on for details!

(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20140228/HK74246-a )
(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20140228/HK74246-b )
(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20140228/HK74246-c )

The producer of Old Boy, Director Park Chan-wook is back with a new hit titled, "Bitter, Sweet, Seoul". It is the final product of Seoul's first-ever global crowd-sourced movie project (Seoul, Our Movie). The film was made as part of Seoul Metropolitan Government's global brand marketing project that aimed to explore various experiences and feelings that Seoul can provide. This was done by having global citizens submit videos about Seoul on YouTube and a microsite.

11,852 clips, equaling 159 hours 35 minutes and 4 seconds, were submitted from all over the world. Then, PARKing CHANce, a film production team led by Director Park Chan-wook and his brother Director Park Chan-kyong, selected the best clips and edited them to make approximately an hour long movie about Seoul.

The film "Bitter, Sweet, Seoul" is currently receiving high ratings and praises from the public as it embraces both the diversity of the participants and the directors' inimitable creativity, which has led to a production of a well-made art film. 

Indeed, as its title suggests, "Bitter, Sweet, Seoul" is strikingly different from many other city promotion videos that mostly showcase the beautiful sceneries, high skyscrapers and rich cultural contents. Instead, it portrays the past and the present, tears and laughter of people living the life, and honest and inspirational moments that happen in various parts of the city. It is innocent, without being overly decorated. Lastly, it intrigues people about the real life in Seoul by narrating interesting and different episodes that people living in Seoul encounter in everyday lives.

Director Park Chan-kyong, a brother of Director Park Chan-wook and the co-producer of "Bitter, Sweet, Seoul" said, "I thought it was a very good opportunity to show how Seoul has different people and different lives. We think that Seoul is just the same Seoul and we all have pretty much same perception of it. However, there are various people with different lives."

It was probably a challenge for the Park brothers to select and compile the best from 11,852 clips. But Director Park Chan-wook, without a single sign of concern, said, "It was a pleasant challenge as I was able to come up with various ideas by looking at all those clips. Everything went successfully."

Overall, the project ended with success. Its preview session was especially praised for its attempt to connect with global fans as it was broadcast live to the world via YouTube. Also, the Seoul Metropolitan Government set up an online channel in cooperation with Google Korea and provided global fans a chance to chat real-time with Directors Park Chan-wook and Park Chan-kyong, and the mayor of Seoul Metropolitan Government.

The Mayor of Seoul Metropolitan Government, Park Won-soon, stated at the global preview and press conference of "Bitter, Sweet, Seoul", "The greatest significance of this project is the fact that everyone from all over the world made this movie together. This is what makes this project truly meaningful." He expressed satisfaction on the final production and stated that "by sharing each other's own experience and feeling of Seoul, we were able to create a special movie that illuminates the undiscovered images of Korea. The honesty and truthfulness of Seoul shown in the movie is what actually distinguishes the city."

City Branding Trend – Be Truthful and Show the Reality

Seoul is not the only city that has been pursuing creative and engagement-focused branding projects. New York also has launched a project called "Recalling 1993", where New Yorkers could drop by a phone booth to dial a certain number and hear about what happened in particular areas of New York in the past. In this campaign, New York did not try to hide the sad history of the World Trade Center bombing or other historical accounts that are not proud. Instead, it embraced it as part of their life and history, and provided people with flashbacks of the bitter-sweetness of New York.

Seoul's latest global movie project is probably the first attempt where someone tried to portray the truth of a city by using others' participation. Would you like to know more about Seoul? Would you be interested in visiting Seoul? This movie will help you see the true side of the city. However, this movie will not help you grasp what Seoul is really about, because Seoul is what you make of it and how you live it. Your own unique experience and feelings of Seoul is what completes the brand of Seoul.

Please, check out "Bitter, Sweet, Seoul" at www.youtube.com/seoulourmovie to find the true side of Seoul. And keep your eyes fixed on PARKing CHANce, the production duo of Director Park Chan-wook and his media artist brother, Park Chan-kyong.

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