SEOUL, Nov. 30 (Korea Bizwire) – The final presentation video for the selection of the host city of the 2030 World Expo prepared by the city of Busan has drawn widespread criticism after South Korean port city was handily beaten by Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in the ultimate vote.
The video, unveiled at the voting venue in the Palais des Congrès on the outskirts of Paris on November 28, featured prominent figures such as former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Prime Minister Han Duck-soo, SK Group chairman Chey Tae-won, and Na Seung-yeon, the promotional ambassador for Busan Expo, making appeals before the presentation video.
The video, set to the catchy tune of Psy’s hit song ‘Gangnam Style,’ which gained global popularity in 2012 along with the viral ‘horse dance,’ showcased a lineup of renowned personalities including conductor Jung Myung-hoon, vocalist Sumi Jo, former TVXQ member Kim Junsu, idol groups Dreamcatcher, Zero Base One, Monsta X, and SHINee’s Taemin, each echoing the slogan “Your Choice.”
However, a notable shortcoming pointed out by critics was the minimal representation of Busan in the 33-second video, with only 9 seconds dedicated to scenes related to the city. The iconic Gwangan Bridge appeared twice, along with glimpses of Busan’s fireworks display, leaving viewers questioning the promotional strategy that failed to highlight Busan’s landmarks and distinctive features adequately.
Online communities and social media platforms have been flooded with critical posts, with particular emphasis on the use of ‘Gangnam Style’ as the background music. Many expressed their bewilderment, with comments such as “I doubted my ears when ‘Gangnam Style’ started playing,” “Isn’t ‘Gangnam Style’ a song from ten years ago?” and “Why use ‘Gangnam Style’ in a video promoting Busan?”. Some questioned the choice, especially given the current global popularity of various K-pop hits, deeming it unrelated to the Busan Expo and outdated.
Critics also raised concerns about the prominence of K-pop idols in the video, with remarks like “Is K-pop the only thing Korea can boast about?” and accusations of the video appearing amateurish and lacking in sophistication. Some even drew comparisons to the Expo bid of Saudi Arabia, suggesting that Busan’s failure could be linked to Korea’s budget allocation for the Expo.
In response to the criticisms, President Yoon Suk-yeol admitted shortcomings in leadership, expressing regret during a national address on November 29. Prime Minister Han Duck-soo also apologized, acknowledging the inability to fully respond to the support and encouragement of the Korean people. Meanwhile, Busan Mayor Park Hyung-jun hinted at the possibility of reevaluating the Expo bid for 2035 in consultation with citizens and the government.
M. H. Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org)