Institute for Far Eastern Studies (IFES)
In North Korea, a common metaphor for advertising is “flower of capitalism.” However, in the latest newspaper of Kim Il Sung University, an article stressing the need for advertisement law was published, suggesting a growing interest in commercial advertisement.
In the July issue of Kim Il Sung University newspaper (vol. 3, 2012), an article titled, “Basic Principles for Export Advertising,” argued that advertising activities are necessary to improve export growth and national leadership in the international community, and hence, an appropriate advertising act must be enacted.
It added, advertisement law must be enacted based on thorough examination to prevent capitalist elements from seeping in, and it should be pursed in the direction of promoting national economy and improve material and cultural lives of the people.
The newspaper also explained that the act should explicate the rights and responsibilities of the parties involved, sanctions for breach of law, and specify places for advertisements and target groups.
The role of state apparatus for advertisement was also mentioned: to monitor, control, and grant rights for advertising activities of businesses, as well as screen and provide registration of advertisements.
Also, sincerity, creativity, and artistry were named as important elements for effective advertisement to provide sufficient product information and attract consumer interest and motivate consumers to make purchases.
Kim Il Sung University is the first national and most prestigious university in North Korea. The position of the school also represents the interests of the North Korean government. Thus, it is likely that North Korean authorities are actively preparing laws and state organizations for advertisement.
Up to now, North Korea has established regulations for advertising in its acts for special economic zones, including Mount Kumgang Tourist resort, Kaesong Industrial Complex, and Rason Special Economic Zone, to attract foreign investments. However, this will be the first law dealing solely with advertising and advertisements.
Except for a small box-form of advertising appearing in the Pyongyang Times, there is no commercial advertising in North Korean media, including Korean Central Television, Rodong Sinmun, and the Korean Central News Agency.
Given the recent changes, the new Kim Jong Un regime is likely taking interest in commercial advertising to promote production of export items and advance into overseas markets.