At a Bridge in Seoul Where Koreans Frequently Give Up, Samsung Steps In


  At the Mapo Bridge in Seoul, which now sports positive imagery.

South Korea has one of the developed world’s highest suicide rates — and Seoul’s Mapo Bridge has the sad distinction of a suicide hot spot. More than 100 people have tried to take their own lives there in the past five years alone.

But a recent partnership between the city of Seoul, Samsung’s Life Insurance division and the Cheil Worldwide agency aims to provoke second thoughts among those who come to the bridge overwhelmed with despair.

The Mapo, which spans the Han River, is now equipped with interactive guardrail sensors that light up as people walk by, offering messages of hope such as “The best is yet to come.” The bridge also displays kind words, jokes and other messages that were chosen in consultation with psychologists and other experts, according to Ad Age.[more]

Other messages include “Come back again for some fresh air” and “Have you had dinner yet?”

The bridge also features an “Image Zone” that displays warm photos of smiling children, couples and the elderly, and a statue, “Just Once Again,” depicting a moment of consolation being shared between two friends.

Samsung Life Insurance, a subsidiary of the Samsung Group and South Korea’s largest insurance company, has dedicated 500 million Korean won (about $458,000 USD) in annual funding for the project. 

Samsung is South Korea’s biggest “chaebol” or conglomerate, and plays a dominant role in the country’s corporate culture. Savvy advertising is among the factors credited for its strong customer loyalty base in consumer electronics categories.

Below, Samsung Life Insurance’s video on the partnership — click here to view it with English-language captions — had received more than 1.8 million views since being uploaded to YouTube on Dec. 23rd: