Garlic Ad Was Too Sexy for South Korean Farmers

Farmers' groups complained that it 'sexually objectified' garlic
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 6, 2022 10:10 AM CDT

A rural South Korean town is getting roasted over its video ad on garlic that some farmers say stinks of obscenity and has even sexually objectified the agricultural product. The controversy surrounds a 30-second video posted around two years ago on a YouTube channel for Hongseong County, a small town of about 100,000 people known for its local "Hongsan" garlic, the AP reports. The video shows a woman touching the thigh of a man named "Hongsan" with a full garlic head mask and saying words like "hard" to apparently describe the quality of the local garlic. It's also a parody of a famous scene from 2004 hit Korean movie Once Upon a Time in High School.

The spicy ad, which reportedly generated about 190,000 views, had been largely kept underground, but began to take root in the larger public when it was aired on electronic billboards at a Seoul express bus terminal and a downtown street in the central city of Daejeon last month ahead of the garlic’s release. One farmer who saw the video notified some farmers’ groups, while South Korean media also began reporting about it, leaving a bad taste in people's mouths. "We can’t repress our astonishment," said a joint statement issued by the local branches of two major farmers’ organizations—the Korean Peasants League and the Korean Women Peasants Association.

Calling the video "suggestive" and "inappropriate," the statement said it "sexually objectified” garlic. The farmers’ groups asked Hongseong to apologize and punish those responsible for the video. Hongseong officials said Wednesday they’ve withdrawn the video from their YouTube channel and had stopped airing it on the billboards last week. The county hasn’t issued any official statement on the issue, and officials said they are discussing how to respond to the farmers’ requests. Many South Koreans believe garlic, one of the essential ingredients in Korean cuisine, boosts stamina. Some think it can improve men’s sexual functions as well. (More South Korea stories.)

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