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Monday, July 30, 2012

News photo
Know your country: Yoon Kyun Shin carries the South Korean flag during Friday night's Opening Ceremony. AP


Advertisers have fun with 'Flag-gate'

Staff writer

Scanning the headlines of newspapers (print editions) that are rarely available in Japan, is a delightful way to spend some time in the morning in the British capital.

The Independent, for instance, offered this attention-grabbing headline on Friday morning: "10-man Spain shocked by Japan's relentless approach."

The same edition used a bit of humor to raise attention for one of its advertisers, Specsavers, which took advantage of its Olympic section ad to promote its vision tests (via specsavers.co.uk and a handy phone number).

How so?

A simple ad displaying the North Korea flag was placed a few centimeters above the South Korea flag. This occurred a few days after a South Korea flag was mistakenly displayed on video screens in Glasgow, Scotland, prior to the North Korea-Colombia women's soccer match. An Olympian public relations disaster. A grand mess.

That'll make people look very carefully before identifying the national flags of both nations — that is, if that actual test is administered.

Nevertheless, it's clever marketing — or at least timely.

Speaking of which, the same issue featured a geography skills test that will challenge even those who read National Geographic every day of the year.

Calling the aforementioned blunder "Flag-gate," The Independent ran a full-page, nine-question test — "The Answer Is Blowing In The Wind."

Flags in full colors were displayed side by side, two per question, nine in total (with North Korea and South Korea as the bonus round).

The difficult questions included: Somalia or Kazakhstan? Slovenia or Slovakia? And Australia or New Zealand?

Answers appeared upside down, and the page can become an obscure collector's item and an impromptu educational tool for baby-sitters and those entertaining house guests at any time, especially during the Olympics.

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