Sohn Hye-won, a renowned designer and branding specialist as well as a representative of South Korea’s opposition Minjoo Party, is slamming the administration of Park Geun-hye’s newly created national slogan “Creative Korea”– charging that it plagiarizes a French campaign.
Sohn says that “Creative Korea” mirrors the “Creative France” campaign created by the Business France agency which the French government uses to promote international investment in the country.
“Using the word ‘creative’ in front of the name of the country in the slogan, and using the red and blue colors in the logo design, are blatant acts of plagiarism,” Sohn said.
“It is especially embarrassing that the plagiarized slogan is celebrating creativity.”
“We are not only one using it. Many others, such as Creative Britain, Creative America and Creative Africa, used it for various campaigns.”
Sohn said that, as designer she felt especially ashamed reported the Joongang Daily.
“I am embarrassed that the culture minister is my direct junior from school days,” said Sohn, referring to the fact that she studied design with the Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Kim Jong-deok at Hongik University.
“I am also embarrassed that the president made the final decision here,” added Sohn in what came off partly as the voice of a designer and partly that of a party politician.
Other members of her party also chimed in on the attack.
“It is a national disgrace that the government copied the slogan and design of another country,” said Rep. Woo Sang-ho, floor leader of the Minjoo Party. “We will find out who is responsible and hold them accountable.”
The government spent $3 million on the campaign according to Sohn who said it should be withdrawn before any more money is spent.
“They said the slogan and logo will be used to promote Korea during the Rio Summer Olympics and the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics,” she noted, “but it must be removed right now.”
The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism has rejected the charges.
“The word ‘creative’ is not registered as a brand,” said Park Young-gook, culture and arts policy director of the ministry. “We are not only one using it. Many others, such as Creative Britain, Creative America and Creative Africa, used it for various campaigns.”
Park also defended the colors.
“The French flag is red, blue and white and the Korean flag uses red, blue, white and black. So the color spectrum is limited,” he said, adding that the two logos use different design fonts. “In conclusion, it is wrong to say our campaign is a copy just because it used the word and same colors, because the font is different.”