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Joe McPherson - How should Korean Government promote Korean food

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Hi, I'm Joe McPherson and I'm going to talk about 10 ways to promote Korean food to Americans now, as recently as just 10 years ago, Americans really had no idea what Korean food was, and if you asked them they'd usually say it's either dog meat or smelly kimchi. But now Korean food is starting to pick up in America but not in the way people think. It's actually with means of galbi tacos, Korean fried chicken, Frozen yogurt, and whatever that is. So, here are 10 tips I have about promoting Korean food to Americans. The first thing... Taste before Well-being Americans respond very well to food that tastes good. We appreciate the food is healthy, but if you promote it as healthy first we think it tastes bad. So we'll just run away. Another tip... Tradition plus Innovation. You can have both. People will like traditional food, some people will like all that new fusion food. You can do both. Chefs over Dignitaries The government's been using a lot of money trying to impress Washington politicians throwing them expensive gala parties, when actually these politicians-- well, I call this Y2Y Marketing, it's "Yangban-to-Yangban" Marketing. All these guys just want to take the free meal and go home. But if you take chefs, and you bring them to Korea and let them see the farms, you let them tour the makgeolli breweries you teach them about Korean food, they become your missionaries. They will go back home, and they will spread Korean food for you. Festivals! More of these. Last year L.A. had a Korean BBQ festival. It was so popular they ran out of food. Subtlety over Noisiness Giant ads in The New York Times don't really work. Americans respond to subtle images. Giant ads like this come across as condescending, desperate and a little comical when the English is really bad. So, instead, I recently talked to an executive at a major Korean food corporation. And he said, "When I got there they said they didn't do any test marketing." What? So, first thing, you've got to test your market. Because people don't like to be told what they should like. You've got to find out what they do like and build upon that. The Kogi Taco trucks is a great example. Americans love tacos. So, put kimchi in tacos. Americans love kimchi now. Also instead of spending money on The New York Times go after traditional and new media. There are tons of food magazines, food blogs, Food Network-- there's a Food Network right there-- that actually speak to the audience more efficiently. Promote Korean products Hanoo beef, Andong soju, black garlic, even todok The chefs that I know that have tried these things, they love this stuff. They keep saying, "Joe, how do I get this stuff into my kitchen?" They're waiting for this stuff right now. Fun over Pretension Americans love Korean food because it's fun. It's grilling meat in the middle of your table with family and friends. Now, Korean food can go into fine dining, but the examples I've seen so far... I mean, white tablecloths, expensive wine lists, and snooty waiters do not make Korean food sophisticated or pleasurable. In fact, a lot of these restaurants that I've seen, they take appearance over taste. If the chef is spending all his time putting food together with tiny little tweezers he's not cooking. He's just showing off. And only very naive diners will really be impressed by that. There's also some type of movement to make- Some people want Korean food to be very expensive in the U.S. and that's not really smart in a down economy. Just as simple as that. Back at home, we should develop the food tourism department. Noryangjin. Noryangjin is the largest freaking fish market in the world! Have brochures, have signs, have walking tours. Really, people love Noryangjin. Accessible menus. Look at this. These are real menu examples. Let's um... Let's fix the English. Just either standardize the English, or we have a country full of these English teachers... You could ask them. Improve service. The customer is always right. I kind of find that that's not really true in a lot of Korean restaurants. Restaurants should be more responsive to customers, just simple taking orders, food allergies, or single diners. Because a lot of tourists come by themselves, and they feel very uncomfortable at galbi restaurants that say, "No you can't come in here because you're by yourself." Support all open markets. Especially the multicultural ones like the one in Ansan and Hyewha-dong's Filipino market. In fact, the Jongno government's right now trying to kick out the Filipino market, which is really a shame because it's one of the greatest flavors of Seoul. Now, the promoters of Korean food finally should realize that making Korean food more like Japanese food or French food is not going to make it popular. The fussy little pretentious food Paris and Japan already got that market covered. But any real foodie will tell you that the real good food is not in Paris... It's in Provence. Provence is the countryside. Provence is where all the good peasant cuisine is. And that's what Korea is. Korea has all the great peasant dishes, such as makgeolli, boribap, samgyeopsal. So really, if want to think about it, Korea really is "The Provence of Asia." Thank you.

Video Details

Duration: 6 minutes and 7 seconds
Country: South Korea
Language: English
Producer: TEDxSeoul
Views: 850
Posted by: tedxseoul on May 19, 2010

Joe McPherson gives a talk about approaches for Korean food marketing.

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