How Korean Air’s “primitive energy”-ad went viral from Asia to Africa

  1. Korean Air’s marketing department was seriously pushing the airline’s website. On every other website I visited from Tokyo (where I live these days), a Korean Air banner popped-up. I clicked on the banner at some stage and saw the airline offered flights to Kenya. Honestly, I was somewhat amazed that an airline from this part of the world started offering flights to East Africa. As a bit of an aviation buff, I know it’s quite a long stretch and I wasn’t sure of the economics behind it. So, just out of curiosity I read their ad, which has since been pulled and tweeted the now infamous line.
  2. WvanCleef
    Hilarious @KoreanAir_KE commercial promoting flights to Nairobi, Kenya. “indigenous people full of primitive energy” http://pic.twitter.com/hFIX799R
    Sun, Jun 17 2012 23:51:15
  3. I thought it should be retweeted at some stage (this doesn’t happen to me everyday). It took an hour or so, but then the Voice of America’s Seoul bureau chief Steve Herman (@W7VOA) hit the RT button. Within minutes of his RT, at least 10 others decided to retweet.

    By the time Monday morning had started in East Africa, Kenyans woke up as the RTs increased. All hell broke loose.
    Some people laughed.
  4. Others wanted an apology, also from yours truly.
    (obviously, I meant “hilariously stupid”, a tiny number of people failed to understand.. *sigh* poor souls)
  5. madonah12
    So @KoreanAir_KE has decided to apologize but to only @WvanCleef i think he should write one big one for Us.
    Mon, Jun 18 2012 04:06:52
  6. madonah12
    @WvanCleef @KoreanAir_KE As av told him. He needs to review before sending such. Let him apologize to Kenyans as one.
    Mon, Jun 18 2012 04:12:17
  7. MizMuli
    @WvanCleef @KoreanAir_KE That’s not hilarious, it is insulting, illiterate & clearly written by someone who has never left Korean borders.
    Mon, Jun 18 2012 07:29:56
  8. Meanwhile, Kenyan tweeters were all over the twittersphere, thanks in particular to #KOT
  9. WanjikuMzalendo
    @wvancleef Many people have mentioned this promo by @koreanair_ke on #KOT I’ve read it in full I cant help but LOL….cultures at crossroads
    Mon, Jun 18 2012 03:57:52
  10. In Kenya, #PrimitiveEnergy must have been trending on Monday 18 June
  11. DuncanKungu
    I use #PrimitiveEnergy every morning to rise from my bed.
    Good morning.
    Mon, Jun 18 2012 02:09:57
  12. After hours of tweets and well over 100 RTs @KoreanAir_KE came with an apology to me and the twitter community
  13. KoreanAir_KE
    @WvanCleef Regarding our recent notice of Nairobi, we are checking on this issue accordingly.We sincerely apologize for this situation.
    Mon, Jun 18 2012 04:03:13
  14. WvanCleef
    @KoreanAir_KE Thanks for your message. There’s no need to apologize to me personally, but many people seem quite angry indeed…
    Mon, Jun 18 2012 04:06:27
  15. KoreanAir_KE
    Regarding our recent promotional notice of Nairobi, we are checking on this issue accordingly.We sincerely apologize for this situation.
    Mon, Jun 18 2012 04:22:57
  16. The only Korean-born guy I know personally (who happens to visit Kenya quite often!) was less cool about the whole episode :-)
  17. JinHoV
    @MorlyFrishman, all I know is that thanks to @WvanCleef, I will always have to lie to my Kenyan friends about which country I was born in.
    Mon, Jun 18 2012 06:03:48
  18. While the last Kenyan guy I met in person (sometime ago in Amsterdam) was cracking jokes all along
  19. smusyoka
    @ckibinda well, Kenya is Africa and Africa is this open Savannah where people sleep with lions roaming and only the chief has a car.
    Mon, Jun 18 2012 06:08:12
  20. Still, @musyoka had the best idea of the day!
  21. JinHoV
    @smusyoka, it was @wvancleef who brought you the news about these ideas some Koreans have. I would follow him just to keep an eye out.
    Mon, Jun 18 2012 06:08:08
  22. smusyoka
    @JinHoV @wvancleef hehehe, tell him Kenyans owe him a round!
    Mon, Jun 18 2012 06:09:51
  23. WvanCleef
    LOL, I’ll drop by if @KoreanAir_KE throws in a free flight! #Tusker “@smusyoka
    @JinHoV @wvancleef hehehe, tell him Kenyans owe him a round!”
    Mon, Jun 18 2012 06:12:43
  24. smusyoka
    @WvanCleef this @JinHoV owes our NBO team a crate!
    Mon, Jun 18 2012 06:14:12