JUL 17, 2010

Member Interview - Emily Cho

  |   By Stream Lee

Occupation: Airlines/Aviation industry

Based in: Seoul

Last Education: USC


Privy Member Stream Lee interviews Korean Air's Emily Cho

Emily Cho was introduced to me as the lady who “makes things happen”, so it came to me as a surprise that the brains behind the stunning $19 million ad campaign in 2007 for Korean Air, came from such an ingénue. But don’t let age fool you. Ms. Cho who masterminded the airlines largest ever global advertising coo continues to break down stereotypes as she heads the Integrated Marketing team for Korean Air with some of the most innovative marketing campaigns found in Korea.

  1.  Stream: Emily thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to speak to Privy’s exclusive members. First could you tell us what your official title is, what your job entails and where you get the inspiration for some of your ad campaigns?

Emily: My official title is General Manager of Korean Air's IMC Team, part of the Corporate Communication Department. We oversee the domestic (Korea) and global advertising of Korean Air, and coordinate co-marketing projects with other brands.

Our ad campaigns in Korea are focused on creating a link between Koreans and destinations all around the world. By telling a story about the destination, our ads have helped many Koreans venture out and travel all around the world.

Korean Air's global campaign is based on creating a brand image for our airline. Asian airlines are traditionally known for great service and beautiful flight attendants. We wanted to break the Asian image and be positioned as a global premium airline. In other words, 'sexy,' not 'Asian.' So the concept was to seem like a fashion ad, and surprise the viewer at the end with our logo.


2.  Stream: Korean Air claims to have one of the largest global networks in the airline industry. Many of our Privy members spend significant amounts of time, globe trotting from one business meeting to another and I'm sure they would like to know where do you see the future of air travel going? What changes can people be expectant of in the years to come?

Emily: I think any globetrotter already knows the strengths of taking advantage of airline alliances, for example SkyTeam or Star Alliance, and One World. I think the best service airlines can offer to their customers is seamless connections from departure to arrival, and the alliances make it possible.


   3. Stream: You were born in Hawaii, schooled in Korea and the US, where do you consider home? And just how often does your life and career make it necessary to travel. And speaking of work and life, does being such a young professional woman, bring up any issues in the line of work you do?

Emily: Definitely Seoul is my 'hometown' as I lived here for all of my life minus the 4 years in LA for college. And the 4 years in LA makes it also very special to me. Both Seoul and LA are places that I let out a sigh of relief when I step out of the plane, like entering a comfort zone. I go to LA for business trips at least 3 times a year, and I'm always glad to be back.

I usually travel about 6 times a year for business trips, and mainly Paris or LA. Recently, I was lucky to include London and New York as well onto the list of frequent destinations. But the most exciting business trip is going along with the advertising team that shoots our ad. I got to travel to Brazil, South Africa and Australia for that. It's great because you get to see and go places that tourists don't typically go.


   4. Stream: As you know Privy is a very peer advice oriented community, so please tell us where your favorite city to travel to in Asia is and why? And what are some of the best restaurants and nightlife you would recommend to people who were coming to Seoul?

Emily: My favorite place in Asia is Tokyo. I love Japanese culture because it's similar to Korea in values, but very different at the same time. Tokyo is very 'alive', and I love the way the past mixes so well with the modern to create a beautiful city.

Restaurants that I would recommend in Seoul? It depends on what type of food you want, since Seoul has a wide offering in different types of cuisine. But my friends and I usually hang out at Itaewon for good food and diversity. For Korean food, Myongdong is a great place, and for dessert, we go to Garosu-gil in Kangnam. Nightlife? I'm the wrong person to ask~ my idea of a nightlife is hanging out at a café with my friends! But Hongdae is an ideal place for a nightlife.


 5. Stream: What are some of the things that Korean Air sponsors and cares about and or is affiliated with?

Emily: Korean Air has shown its commitment to culture by sponsoring the Louvre, the British Museum, and the Hermitage Museum over the past two years. We also have sponsored endless number of exhibitions to come to Korea, as well as sending Korean artists out to the world.

For the environment, Korean Air has planted trees in Mongolia since 2004 to help prevent desertification of the area, and have expanded it to China as well. Korean Air also is a partner of Million Trees LA (MTLA), which is a group committed to planting a million trees in LA.

Finally, in sports, Korean Air runs a sponsorship program called 'Excellence Program'. Our affiliated athletes are Yuna Kim, the number 1 figure skater in the world, Tae-hwan Park, the first Korean gold-medalist swimmer, and 2 young professional golfers, Kevin Na and Ji-hye Shin. Korean Air sponsors them certain number of tickets per year so that they can travel around the world in the best condition for their games.


   6. Stream: And finally just for fun, what are some of the things a busy professional like you does to unwind?

Emily: My first step to ending a day is driving. The 40-minute drive home allows me to recap on what happened on that day and shake off some of the stress and worries of work. I also love to play games, such as Starcraft, or Diner Dash. I recently got hooked onto this game called Café World, which is a Facebook application game, and now I have my co-workers doing it as well!

During the weekends, I usually meet up with my friends, and they usually have a new restaurant or café picked out to go to. Finally, I have four Westies at home, so every weekend, I drive my dogs out to the park and I walk (they run) around for about 30 minutes. When the weather is warm, we stay out longer because I usually bring a book. So I sit on the bench reading, while the 4 of them run around.





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