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A reimagined experience, double-digit growth

Korea Tourism Organization
With an ambitious goal of reaching 20 million visitors by 2020, the Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) needed to differentiate the country from other East Asian destinations and spotlight Korean culture across the global stage. Aware of a need to shift the tourism paradigm from“seeing”to“experiencing,” KTO asked us to create a campaign that would refresh the nation brand and stimulate tourists’ appetite for all things Korean.

After determining the characteristics that define travel experiences in Korea—diversity, vibrancy, creativity, and intrigue—we created a brand slogan that would transfer the “ownership” of Korea from KTO to the people: “Imagine Your Korea.” As part of this larger brand refresh, KTO requested a tangible promotional item that would capture all of these qualities and embody them in a fun, unexpected way. The focus? Nothing says “Korea” more effectively than Korean food.

First, we needed to hone in on the types of Korean food that would attract the most interest and exemplify K-food culture. By interviewing tourists in Myeongdong, one of the nation’s top destinations, we were able to learn more about how non-Koreans engage with K-food, which became the basis of a special souvenir book.

Rather than relying on text, we created an experience that introduces K-food culture through friendly illustrations, objects, and interactive features. From showing tourists how to eat certain foods (by including physical gadgets they can experiment with) and offering tips on how to survive fiery-hot dishes to instructing them on the proper way to make a ssam (leaf wrap) using a paper mold, this unique book captures the “true Korea” in a memorable way.

Following the launch of the refreshed tourism brand, the number of visitors to Korea is increasing by double digits (16.6 percent in 2014) year on year and reached 14 million visitors in 2014. This has catapulted KTO toward its 20 million visitors goal. Recognized by the design community as well, our work for KTO was recently shortlisted at Cannes Lions.

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