Does anyone know of any studies done comparing the effectiveness of English vs Korean in advertising in Korea? I'm routinely surprised by the amount of English in Korean advertising (and other promotional material like websites) and always wonder about the effectiveness of using English vs Korean. For example, many headlines and keywords are written in English, so has anyone studied the effectiveness of this method vs just using Korean? It seems like the latter would attract more eyeballs, but there might be a "cool factor" with using English. Bonus points if broken down by age and education levels.

  • +1 Interesting question. Anecdotal note: my uncle collects Coca-cola products, signs, and memorabilia. He asked me to get him a Coca-cola sign written in Hangul. This is nearly impossible; all the signs are in English. So I determined this: just as much as my uncle wanted one in Hangul, Koreans want their Coca-cola signs written in English. You may have also noticed (i have) Koreans will wear nonsensical English emblazoned T-shirts...but I've also seen people with nonsensical tattoos that they think are asian writing, too. So there you go. Foreign enamor at its best. Commented May 12, 2017 at 14:30
  • Note, I chose a somewhat dumb tag to submit tag to be able to submit this, and I don't think I have enough reputation to create a new one, but what do people think about creating an "advertising" tag? It seems like it could be broad enough to include a variety of questions. Commented May 12, 2017 at 14:38

1 Answer 1


Google Scholar with '영어 광고 효과' (with no advanced search) gave interesting quote from 한혜령. (2014). 국내 TV 광고카피 속 영어의 탈규범 현상. 사회언어학, 22(3), 201-226. http://dx.doi.org/10.14353/sjk.2014.22.3.201, it's paywalled but I've got a copy thanks to my institution subscription. Other than that, I could not find direct comparison with ads with Korean and English.

영어 광고 문안은 얼마 전까지만 해도 광고 맨 뒤에 슬로건으로 들어가는 형식을 취하였다


그러나 최근 영어 카피는 광고 텍스트의 맨 끝뿐 아니라 광고 맨 앞, 광고 전반부, 심지어는 광고카피 전체를 이루기도 한다.

(Another examples)

이처럼 영어가 국내 광고 속에서 만연하는 이유는 한두 가지로 제한할 수 없지만, 적어도 다음과 같은 몇 가지 요인을 생각해 볼 수 있다. 우선 관련 연구에서 지적하듯이 영어 사용 광고가 가치인상의 효과를 발휘한다는 판단이 작용했을 것이다(김정은 2004; 김혜숙 1999). 즉 영어를 사용함으로써 상품의 고상화, 최신성 및 국제성의 부각, 광고 자체의 고급화를 꾀하고(김혜숙 1999), 영어권에 대한 긍정적 이미지인 합리성, 과학성, 진보성 등(우실하 1997)을 제품과 결부시킴으로써 부가가치를 만들어내려는 광고 전략 이라 볼 수 있다. 한편 김정은(2004)은 광고에서의 외국어 사용이 서양우월주의 및 서양을 모방하려는 사대주의 또는 오리엔탈리즘(Said 1993)을 반영한다고 보았는데, 이로 인해 영어를 쓰면 왠지 “있어 보일” 것이라는 우리 사회나 광고계에 만연한 믿음이 광고 속 영어 사용을 부추기고 있는지도 모른다.

Citing more than this might not be considered fair use, so I'm stopping here.

Author has stated "Historically English was used as a slogan in the end of ad" but "recently, English appears in the front, intro, even compose all the ads". Previous research of the author has found that "Using English increases value of product".

"Using English makes product look like elegant, new, international, and gives positive perception of English speaking cultures – rational, scientific, progressive". Also other research reflects toadyism like western supremacy, making advertising agency believe that using English makes they look like "they have something valuable".

So, while I can't find any direct research like "Comparison of Korean and English advertisements and their effectiveness" but this is the best guess we can make about why they are using English in the ads, for now and as far as I can guess.

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