CategoryG05. Cultural Insight
Idea Creation HS AD Seoul, SOUTH KOREA
Additional Company SUPERHEROS Seoul, SOUTH KOREA


Name Company Position
HYUN JONG LEE HS Ad Chief Creative Officer
Hyo-Jin Kim HS Ad Creative Director
Jeongyoon Park HS Ad Art Director
Heetaek Kong HS Ad Art Director
Yongseok Hong HS Ad Art Director
Kyung-il Lee Saltlux Chief Executive Officer
Bo Hwang Saltlux Chief Creative Officer
Ian Suh Saltlux Professional Leader
Ivan Berlocher Saltlux Head of AI Dept.
Gyeongtae Kim Saltlux A.I. Researcher
Bogyeong Kim Saltlux A.I. Researcher
Jaeik Jung Dove to Rabbit Director
Greg Kim Dove to Rabbit General Manager
Yongmin Bae Dove to Rabbit Deputy General Manager
Ik-hwan Kim SUPERHEROS Director

Why is this work relevant for Media?

This campaign was timely launched after the Inter-Korean Summits in 2018 which led to the unprecedented peaceful mood between North and South, and our project successfully attracted Korean media who were curious to see our “A.I. North Korean friend” who make the impossible conversation be possible. Also, we used a mobile app and interactive OOH booth as a major touchpoint for the experience, which covers both online and offline. By utilizing YouTube influencers, we tried to make sure we choose the effective and relevant channel to connect with our target audience.


South and North Korea have been divided for the past 70 years since the end of the Korean War. During the time of division, there has been no cultural exchange between the two countries, and the North Korean often has been described as a military threat on the media. The stories about desperate defectors or nuclear threats have been told in the news and the movies, but it is rare to hear about the cultural side of regular citizens of North Korea. Since the peaceful mood was set after the Inter-Korean Summits in 2018, the Ministry of Unification wanted to start a campaign that can reinforce this peaceful momentum. The main goal was to create a fun and unique experience for south Koreans to get curious about the cultural side of North Korea.

Describe the creative idea / insights (30% of vote)

If it’s impossible to meet a real North Korean in person, how about we create one? We created the world’s first “A.I. North Korean”, a virtual character that can respond in real-time to any questions about regular citizens of North Korea from the smartphone. This virtual character responds in real-time to any questions about North Korea. It has machined-learned a massive volume of data- specifically on culture, education, history, art, and new technology of North Korea, which often has not been covered in the media before. This A.I. is generated with a voice-activated mobile app and interactive OOH display, so the audiences can have a conversation and they can ask anything to know better about North Korea. Furthermore, as we built the A.I. persona, we recorded a real North Korean defector and used voice-cloning technology to formulate an average character of North Korean with a friendly tone of voice.

Describe the strategy (20% of vote)

The Target audience was Gen-Z of South Korea who is tech-savvy, open-minded and has an international world view. We thought the concept of “the world’s first A.I. Pyongyang friend” who tells the stories of Pyongyang in terms of culture, art, history, and technology can easily grab their attention and spread quickly online through social media. The key message was to start a fresh new dialogue outside of the political frame that can reconnect the emotional gap between North and South. We introduced three different virtual characters that tell us the stories about today’s North Korea: Pyongrin Kim, a 5th grader who can share the stories of children’s education in North Korea, Sowon Lee, a Pyongyang city tour guide who talks about popular tourism spots and transportations in Pyongyang, and Hangil Lim, a student at the Kim-Chaek University of Technology, who talks about college lives and technologies or North Korea.

Describe the execution (20% of vote)

We chose an interactive booth and a mobile app as a major touchpoint to experience A.I. North Korean to our audience. On November 26, 2019, an interactive booth that can generate a real-time conversation was installed in the center of Seoul City Hall where the <Gyeoremal-keunsajeon> exhibition was held, which commemorates the 20th anniversary of the Inter-Korean language research project. In this way, we made sure this project was first-hand exposed to the people who have a high interest in the culture and language of North and South. The minister of Unification came to visit to demonstrate a conversation with A.I. North Korean, which got covered by major Korean news media. Also, we delivered the special mobile kit to the major Youtube influencers. They broadcasted their live reactions and share their unique experience with their audiences. With the power of social media, <My First Pyongyang Friend> had quickly spread online.

List the results (30% of vote)

The most important number is the conversation time which had reached up to 10,802 minutes in the first month of its launch. The total number of questions generated by South Korean audiences reached up to more than 11,610. After the campaign, more than 82% of the participants responded that they developed a positive outlook on North Korea while 89% responded that they are more likely to say “yes” to try a conversation with the real North Korean one day. However, unexpected news had followed after its launch. The 2019 North Korea–U.S Summit in Hanoi ended with a rather disappointing result, this project faced the worst scenario a month after its launch. For this reason, we had to close down this project earlier than we originally planned. And the relationship between North and South still remains unresolved up until today.

Please tell us about the cultural insight that inspired the work

South and North Korea have been divided for the past 70 years since the end of the Korean War. Most South Koreans never get a chance to meet or speak to real North Korean in real life. Also, the story about North Korea always has been limited under a political frame. After the inter-Korean Summits in 2018, an unprecedented peaceful mood was set. The Ministry of Unification wanted to take this chance to start a campaign that can reinforce this peaceful momentum. So, It was necessary to create a fun and unique experience for South Koreans to get curious about the cultural side of North Korea so that young generations of North and South can start a fresh new dialogue outside of the political frame.

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