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July 7, 2009 7:01 AM   Subscribe

North Korea's first TV advertisement for beer (BBC article with video).
posted by adamrice (35 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
I love the beer! I would have some every day if I can and I am glad to see it can be advertised.
Elliot Dobie, Pyongyang, North Korea


"Please don't kill my children!"
posted by DU at 7:06 AM on July 7, 2009 [10 favorites]


You know, this has to be the first beer ad I've seen that proclaims the ISO9001 certification for the brewery.
posted by birdherder at 7:09 AM on July 7, 2009


You know, this has to be the first beer ad I've seen that proclaims the ISO9001 certification for the brewery.

I think you're forgetting the short-lived Schlitz Sigma campaign. The DMADV slogan (Design, Measure, Analyze, Drink, Vomit) didn't go over as well as they had hoped.
posted by burnmp3s at 7:19 AM on July 7, 2009 [15 favorites]


Good to see what little wheat they have in the DPRK being put to good use.
posted by Pollomacho at 7:29 AM on July 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


You will drink it and you will like it. Is that a claim or a command?
posted by scalefree at 7:33 AM on July 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Recent events would set anyone to drinking. Gotta keep the peoples' interest in mind!
posted by yeloson at 7:39 AM on July 7, 2009


Good to see what little wheat they have in the DPRK being put to good use.

More likely barley and rice. And, to be fair, making beer is a traditional way of preserving grain.
posted by uncleozzy at 7:47 AM on July 7, 2009


If you go on a tour of the DMZ (on the South Korean side) your bus will stop for lunch and there's a gift shop where you can buy this beer (and North Korean soju as well). My sense is that it's part of a limited "sunshine" campaign to sell some North Korean products to tourists (if I remember correctly, you could also buy things like North Korean honey, nuts, and hard liquor as well).

It tastes like -- wait for it -- South Korean beer. It's very light, comparable to American lagers. I like it, but a lot of beer snobs don't. Goes well with seafood, which is a staple for Koreans.
posted by bardic at 7:48 AM on July 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


And, to be fair, making beer is a traditional way of preserving grain.

You only need to preserve grain when you have a surplus.
posted by Pollomacho at 7:52 AM on July 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Let Us Pour Extremely Frothy Beer In Accordance With The Socialist Lifestyle
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 7:55 AM on July 7, 2009 [6 favorites]


Article says the ad is 2.5 minutes. Video is 1.5 minutes. What are they hiding!?
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 7:57 AM on July 7, 2009


Well, to be fair, by "to be fair," I mostly meant "here is something that is technically true but not really relevant in this situation."
posted by uncleozzy at 7:59 AM on July 7, 2009 [7 favorites]


There's no jokes to be made about starvation in North Korea, but alcohol and drinking is a pretty major part of Korean culture.

Not in the mood to look it up, but in The Aquariums of Pyongyang, about a guy who made it out of the DPRK gulag, there's a (to my mind) strange anecdote about how even poor and working class North Koreans do a lot of drinking (the men at least) and that Dear Leader supplies families with gallon of booze when someone dies, so that the appropriate drunken wakes can be held.
posted by bardic at 8:00 AM on July 7, 2009


Such a peppy ad for a beer brewed from 100% Pure Tears of MiseryTM.

^Then again maybe it will inspire:
Facts about the patriots and the Declaration of Independence:

* Thomas Jefferson wrote the first draft of the Declaration of Independence in a tavern.
* The first signer of that famous document, John Hancock, was an alcohol dealer.
* Every signer of the Declaration of Independence drank alcoholic beverages. There was no abstainer among these American leaders.
* George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Paul Revere and Patrick Henry. One was a major whiskey distiller, one was a bar tender, one owned a vineyard, and one was a brewer.
posted by vapidave at 8:08 AM on July 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


Does anybody know which former German/British brewery they bought?
posted by rongorongo at 8:09 AM on July 7, 2009


Too bad Victory was already taken.
posted by HumuloneRanger at 8:10 AM on July 7, 2009


bardic, I just finished the book (recommended on the blue). The author states that the price of alcohol is high compared to monthly wages, with a premium liquor costing close to one months salary, so I don't think drinking is all that common. For the death (of his grandmother, I believe), the gov't did provide booze, but they needed to bribe/cash in favors to get approximately 10x as much to hold "a proper burial". And that was all before the famines of the late 90s, so it might be worse. My guess is that very few North Koreans will ever taste this.
posted by ShadowCrash at 8:23 AM on July 7, 2009


I'm definitely not trying to make light of the suffering in NK, just thought it was worth mentioning that even in a country that economically depressed it was my understanding that there was a monthly ration of booze. His grandmother was labeled a political enemy of the state as well.

Points taken.
posted by bardic at 8:28 AM on July 7, 2009


Here's another interesting site about North Korea. No idea if the site is credible or not, but it states that "not-so-affluent households raise several domestic cattle, collect medicinal herbs or brew liquor to sell. The remnants of the liquor are used as livestock feed. Selling two bottles of liquor made of corn as raw material generates about 500 won in profit". Getting caught doing this can lead to banishment to the countryside (internment camps?). I think 500 won is roughly $2, slightly more than an average day's wage I believe.
posted by ShadowCrash at 8:30 AM on July 7, 2009


Here's another interesting site about North Korea

It was previously posted about here.
posted by chillmost at 8:35 AM on July 7, 2009


rongorongo,

Ushers, from Trowbridge, Wiltshire.
posted by lukemeister at 8:35 AM on July 7, 2009


If a US brewer doesn't jump on this immediately and does an exact copy of it for the US brew, I will be horribly, horribly disappointed. The thing has hipster cred slathered all over it.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:37 AM on July 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


Thanks Chillmost. I think that's where I saw the link for the book, but I missed most the thread. Appreciate the link.
posted by ShadowCrash at 8:48 AM on July 7, 2009


Taedonggang Lager, The Official Beer of the Tenth Anniversary MetaFilter Meetups

Endorsed by Two Dear Leaders
posted by lukemeister at 8:51 AM on July 7, 2009


BBC's 30 second ad before each news clip almost qualifies as torture.
posted by acro at 9:00 AM on July 7, 2009


Thozdad: "The thing has hipster cred slathered all over it."

Agreed. Especially like the part at 00:36 / 01:32
posted by LakesideOrion at 9:07 AM on July 7, 2009


I find it interesting that they can show people actually drinking their beer. In the US, all the beer advertising is free of customers actually using the product. Who's the repressive dictatorship now?
posted by tommasz at 9:18 AM on July 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


DPRK Blasts Reckless U.S. Moves for Beer Invasion

Pyongyang, July 7 (KCNA) -- The commander of the U.S. forces in south Korea on July 6 blustered before those concerned of a possible large-scale beer invasion. Secret documents obtained by Rodong Sinmun asserted the U.S. promise to provide a Coors Brewery to south Korea as part of "OPLAN-5021".

It is the invariable U.S. policy of contaminating the Korean peninsula with Rocky Mountain spring water as a pretext aggression against the DPRK. The U.S. is now busy amassing its hops and grains at the south Korean port of Incheon. The commander of the U.S. forces on July 3 swaggered and boasted that in case south Korea is exposed to provocative beer that the "U.S. would buy them a different beer on the house". This provokes a vicious challenge to the unanimous aspiration and demand of the Korean nation for a beer that finishes smooth and fine.

Lurking behind the malted outpourings of the imperialist warmongers is a foolish attempt to ignite a new war on the Korean Peninsula on a legitimate basis and lay the blame for it on DPRK's Taedonggang Beer Factory. Should the U.S. truly "turn it loose with the Silver Bullet" despite the DPRK's repeated warnings, the DPRK will unleash a merciless barrage of stouts, porters, and lagers across the DMZ onto the south Korean puppet state.
posted by crapmatic at 10:42 AM on July 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm curious- what's the literacy rate like in North Korea? I saw an awful lot of text and very minimum voiceovers, only at the very end.
posted by Kellydamnit at 11:08 AM on July 7, 2009


I'm curious- what's the literacy rate like in North Korea?

Certainly higher than that of TV ownership. Your point?
posted by Skeptic at 12:56 PM on July 7, 2009


No point, really, it just struck me as unusual and I was curious. It seems like, here at least, you'll rarely see commercials that require reading.

But yeah, I see what you mean... if someone was well off enough to have a tv they would already be in the upper percentile in terms of income and presumably education.
posted by Kellydamnit at 1:14 PM on July 7, 2009


Was the TV ad intended at North Korea's middle-class consumer base? If so, isn't this equal to North Korea's military elite?

Or was the ad created for reasons other than marketing beer? Such as, perhaps, as a cargo-cult fetish object proving that North Korea is just as modern and slick as the rest of the world. Or for showing to foreigners to make North Korea seem less like a hellish totalitarian prison-state and/or armed camp. Or, indeed, for Kim Jong Il's personal amusement (he likes Hollywood action films; perhaps he also likes beer ads, or perhaps he woke up one morning and ordered his lieutenants to make a North Korean beer ad).
posted by acb at 5:03 PM on July 7, 2009


The commercial is definitely trippy, and incredibly long for a beer spot. Here is an interesting analysis article, based on the BBC post, from Sonya Grewal, creative director for Young & Rubicam in Chicago. She attempts to make sense of the madness in an interesting interview on decoding the marketing messages of Pyongyang, and also gets into some of the differences in marketing beer in North Korea and the US. Sonya Grewl: Kimg Jong Chill?
posted by TonyDanza at 12:22 PM on July 27, 2009


tommasz: I find it interesting that they can show people actually drinking their beer. In the US, all the beer advertising is free of customers actually using the product. Who's the repressive dictatorship now?

Seven officially forbidden truths about beer under UK Advertising law:
1. It makes you more daring, tough (or aggressive).
2. It can help a party go with a bang.
3. It makes increases the chances of sexual conquest by making you more confident and others appear more attractive.
4. You can drink it by yourself.
5. People under 25 drink it.
6. There are some people who do not drink in moderation.
7. Sometimes we buy rounds for each other.
posted by rongorongo at 3:35 PM on July 27, 2009


So UK beer ads all consist of old, pudgy men sitting stoically around a table sipping the product in sullen silence?
posted by Pollomacho at 11:01 AM on July 28, 2009


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