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Korean ad agency Cheil fine tunes CSR

August 2015

South Korea is commemorating the 70th anniversary of its 1945 liberation from Japanese colonial rule by creating an unusual grand piano to generate interest in the reunification of South and North Korea.

The reunification of the two Koreas that resulted from liberation is an ongoing issue. Many families were split apart when the boundary between the countries was established. Travel between the two is not allowed, except for occasional brief trips permitting handfuls of South Koreans to meet their surviving Northern relatives.

Working with Cheil Worldwide, an advertising agency in the Samsung Group, the project saw the Korean Ministry of Unification commission a piano made using barbed wire instead of regular piano strings. Gongmyeong, a Korean musical group, known for unusual music performances, collected the barbed wire over three months from the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) that separates the two countries.

Until the end of September, the piano will be exhibited and performed in public at a number of places.

According to Gongmyeong, the tension and sharpness of the tough border wire made the work difficult. Especially problematic was getting the piano to produce the exact sounds needed.

Using old, thick barbed wire gives a sound closer to the thud of percussion than the ringing tone of a piano.

The project was first proposed by Cheil Worldwide Inc. as part of the firm’s CSR programme. It was their second North Korea project this year. In March, Cheil introduced a smartphone app designed to help people, particularly teens, cope with the differences in language between the two countries.

Since the two countries were separated, the Korean language has developed differently in North Korea and South Korea and with travel prohibited between the two, learning the differences is difficult.

According to a 2012 study by the National Institute of the Korean Language, North Korean defectors understand only half of the Korean language used in the South.

Cheil partnered with DreamTouchForAll, a non-profit education organization, and Community Chest of Korea, a charitable organization, to develop the Univoca South Korean-North Korean Translator, which works like a digital dictionary.

The app includes 3,600 words used in Korean language textbooks for high school students. When a user scans an unfamiliar word with a smartphone, the translated text appears.

Users can also manually input text for translation and suggest more words to add to the app in future updates. 

Cheil Worldwide | Asia | CSR


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