May 29, 2022
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S. Korea candidates woo young voters with ‘deepfakes,’ hair insurance

S. Korea candidates woo young voters with ‘deepfakes,’ hair insurance

SEOUL — South Korean presidential candidate Yoon Suk-yeol bought a lift on Thursday when a rival dropped out, but when the conservative former prosecutor wins subsequent week, it might even be because of “deepfake” avatars and viral brief movies.

Opposition chief Mr. Yoon and the highest liberal contender have gone to uncommon lengths within the nation’s tradition-bound politics to shed the picture of grumpy previous males, courting young voters who might show decisive in what has been an in depth race.

The candidates are vying to switch liberal President Moon Jae-in, who got here to energy 5 years in the past with assist from voters of their 20s and 30s. They’ve since abandoned his occasion in droves.

Mr. Yoon, 61, who has been narrowly forward of Lee Jae-myung, 57, from Mr. Moon’s governing occasion, received the backing on Thursday of a fellow conservative working a distant third, who joined with Mr. Yoon in a mixed ticket. Mr. Moon is barred by phrases limits from looking for reelection.

A former high prosecutor, Mr. Yoon has loved steadfast help from individuals over 60, whereas Mr. Lee leads with these of their 40s and 50s, leaving a battleground for youthful voters. Their help has swung dramatically towards some conservative challengers, however disapproval rankings are excessive for each high contenders amid scandal and mud-slinging.

Messrs. Yoon and Lee each established marketing campaign process forces geared toward capturing or profitable again young voters.

A digital avatar of Mr. Yoon, his marketing campaign says, is the world’s first “deepfake candidate,” explaining coverage concepts and taking digs at his rival. Lee’s staff responded with its personal AI-powered character.

Mr. Yoon’s slogan “OK, Let’s go!” — shouted at rallies with his signature uppercut gesture — has gone viral on social media, creating countless memes and video spoofs.


Kim Dong-wook, a 30-year-old adviser on Mr. Yoon’s social media marketing campaign, is attempting to shake the candidate’s picture as ggondae — a bossy previous particular person stubbornly insisting on his opinion.

“I’ve found him to be more open to change,” stated Mr. Kim, a former assume tank researcher. “He was portrayed as passive and at times lacking confidence in the media, so I wanted to help change that and add young voices to his policies.”

Mr. Yoon’s youth staff, chosen by public audition, includes individuals aged 23 to 38, together with a start-up founder, a former skilled gamer, a psychiatrist and a house purchasing govt.

The staff bought off to a rocky begin with clashes and resignations. When Mr. Yoon lastly met with the staff, Mr. Kim says he identified the candidate’s ggondae picture whereas others urged him to hear extra to young voters and sack “political parasites.”

“His face turned darker” after the criticism, Mr. Kim stated, however “there was no censorship and he listened carefully and took notes. And in the end he accepted most of our suggestions.”

The staff created 29 YouTube brief movies on Mr. Yoon’s and the occasion’s pages, discussing coverage concepts and producing greater than 14.5 million views, in a rustic of 52 million individuals.

The technique has helped raise Mr. Yoon’s recognition with 20-somethings above 40% from round 30% in early January, in accordance with Realmeter.

“There was a lesson that brief yet strong messages could have a massive impact, especially on young generations and people who are apathetic about politics,” stated Park Min-young, a Yoon adviser who has written about generational political shifts.


Liberal contender Mr. Lee, after assembly with young males and moms, proposed permitting public healthcare insurance to cowl hair loss remedy.

In an appearance-obsessed nation the place cosmetic surgery is widespread, many young males consider baldness can hurt profession and marriage prospects, however uninsured therapies are costly.

A 15-second video clip wherein Mr. Lee did a spoof of a hair-loss business sparked explosive response on social media in addition to complaints from some consultants and rival candidates that he was pushing a populist agenda.

He courted youthful voters in January by calling for legalizing the estimated $1 billion tattoo business, which operates underground as a result of South Korean regulation permits solely medical doctors to carry out the process.

Mr. Lee is very concentrating on young individuals who joined candlelight vigils main as much as the 2017 impeachment and ouster of conservative then-president Park Geun-hye.

Lee Jung-in, 19, a candlelight protester who now heads a gaggle of some 30 youth campaigners for candidate Lee, steered a profitable motion to decrease South Korea’s voting age by a 12 months to 18 in 2019.

“It is extremely rare that teenagers would have a chance to speak at rallies during any presidential elections, and political parties are generally not good at embracing young people,” stated Lee, who is just not associated to the candidate.

“We’re aiming to persuade other young voters to join us, which I believe would bring a big change in further democratizing the country’s politics.” — Hyonhee Shin and Hyun Young Yi/Reuters 

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