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South Koreans question vodka advert taking shape of protests
December 13, 2016 / 12:01 PM / a year ago

South Koreans question vodka advert taking shape of protests

SEOUL, Dec 13 (Reuters) - An advertisement featuring historic South Korean protests against President Park Geun-hye, with the crowd seen from above in the shape of a vodka bottle, has stirred debate over whether it is right to use such a sober movement to sell alcohol.

Park was impeached in a Friday parliamentary vote over an influence-peddling scandal that has drawn hundreds of thousands to festive candle-lit protests every Saturday, calling for her ouster.

The advertisement captures a time-lapse image of night-time protesters in Seoul’s Gwanghwamun Square with a slogan, “Absolut Korea: The Future is Yours to Create.”

Pernod Ricard Korea, which imports the vodka, did not respond to a request for comment. The ad was posted on Absolut Vodka Korea’s Facebook page.

“Do not commercialize our democracy,” one reader posted on the page, where the comments were mostly negative.

“Our candlelight demonstrations have been peaceful and festive but it’s not a happy moment,” photographer Kang Young-ho, whose website includes pictures of Park, told Reuters.

“It is a spectacular view but using someone’s trouble for commercial purposes is wrong,” he said.

Some saw the advert as clever recognition of the peaceful demonstrations.

“The ad compliments our citizens as a model for democracy and non-violence,” Kim Young-jun commented in a Facebook post.

Park remains in the presidential Blue House, not far from the protest site, stripped of her powers while she waits for the Constitutional Court to deliberate on the parliamentary vote, and rule whether to uphold it or not.

That could take the up to 180 days.

Another protest was scheduled for this coming Saturday. (Reporting by Nataly Pak; Editing by Tony Munroe, Robert Birsel)

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