Korean heir releases jam for good cause

Park Seo-won.

Doosan Group heir Park Seo-won has once again gone off the beaten track, selling fruit reductions in order to help farmers struggling with blemished products.

Park, who now serves as the chief creative officer of the country's oldest advertising agency, Oricom, said Monday that the company had released a series of jams named Ireonjjaembyeong (Such a Jar of Jam).

"Just because they (the fruits) have fallen a bit earlier than their peers or have been scratched by branches, they should not be regarded as unworthy. I wanted to change that perception with the jam," Park stated in a press release. The product's name is a pun on the Korean curse "ireon jembyeong," adding fun to the shopping, observers say.

The jams come in two flavors: "jam made with pears that sparrows had their eyes on" and "jam made with chestnuts that squirrels had dibs on."

The jams are made with fruits that fell from trees before harvest or had minor blemishes on their surface and were concluded unsellable. Such products are known to have the same taste and nutrients as those on store shelves, and making fruit reductions out of them could help the farms, the company said. Oricom joined hands with social enterprise Inseason, which will handle the manufacturing while Oricom will conduct marketing and distribution.

This is Park's latest attempt to spread a social message for a commercial purpose.

Well known for thinking out of the box, Park released a series of condoms last year through Big Ant, another independent advertising agency that he leads, named Right Way of Thinking and marketed as Damn Good Idea overseas.

"When men pick up (a pack of) condoms at the store and read the name Right Way of Thinking, they might be very cautious about what they are doing," Park said, explaining the concept behind his business at the Herald Design Forum in November. Park also released shoelaces to fund meals for underprivileged children.

Park was once considered the black sheep of the family ― he confessed that his academic achievements were below expectations and he was never interested in setting an example or leading Doosan Group, the country's 12th-largest business conglomerate by assets.

Instead of studying business administration, he went to New York School of Visual Art and established Big Ant in 2006, and was praised for producing ground breaking campaigns including the antiwar promotion "What goes around comes around" and others.

"I'm not the best example of a 'from rags to riches' story. I had a family and other conditions that helped to support me till I found my dream. Still, I would like to challenge youngsters to pour their hearts out and try their best, just as I did at the design school and thereafter. I think the toil is worth every penny in the end," he said in a previous interview with The Korea Herald.