Anita Davis
May 25, 2010

Weber Shandwick wins US Meat Export Federation in Korea

SEOUL - The US Meat Export Federation (USMEF) has appointed Weber Shandwick as its PR agency-of-record, charged with promoting the organisation's marketing activities in Korea and improving its image in the country.

Korean beef bulgogi
Korean beef bulgogi
USMEF, a nonprofit trade association, appointed Weber Shandwick following a competitive pitch. According to the agency, Weber Shandwick was selected for its experience in marketing for the food industry as well as its understanding of the red meat market – an advantage when marketing to Koreans in what has historically been a sensitive industry.

In 2008, a crowd of approximately 40,000 rioters clashed with police in Seoul in protest of the South Korean Government’s plans to lift its ban on imported US beef. In April of that year, South Korea agreed to recommence imports from the US after nearly five years of closed trade relations, due to the 2003 outbreak of mad cow disease. In 2008, demonstrators averred that US meat was still not safe from the disease.

“USMEF Korea is operating within a sensitive market and we needed a partner that understands the situation and is well-positioned to take us to a leadership position,” said Jihae Yang, director for USMEF Korea. “Weber Shandwick showed us a strategic consulting approach, and we were thrilled by the concept of creating advocates for our brand. It was a timely match for what we needed.”

USMEF additionally looks to develop existing international markets for pork, lamb and veal produced in the US. It has offices globally including Seoul, Tokyo, Beijing, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Singapore and Taipei in Asia-Pacific, as well as representatives covering China.

The USMEF is one of 10 clients at Weber Shandwick Korea, which opened in November 2009.

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