What message would you put on it? Would it be informational? Inspirational? What would be the most efficient and effective use of the flyer?
Who would the target audience be? What characteristics do they share?
Given the propaganda they’ve been subjected to their entire lives, what imagery might be insulting or inflammatory? Welcoming and accepting? Threatening or aggressive?
What cultural values do the North Koreans share? What’s the cultural link between the North Koreans and South Koreans? Between the United States and North Korea?
What access to media is available to North Koreans?
The situation of media and freedom of information aobe all other things, is the one of the most complicated areas in North Korea. The documentary on Frontline was really insightful, but also this documentary report by VICE, gives some new visions of the life and facade in Pyong Yang.
In a way the company I am working right now, once had the same method of sending messages to bypass the iron wall of the USSR. RFE/RL used to send balloons with bulletins and newsletters so people could access to the information that the government was not censoring or blocking them from.
I myself had a pleasure of meeting with some of these activists who are sending balloons to North Korea with DVD and CD. The situation in North Korea is very hard to penetrate; Country is almost fully isolated, no message could get through, radio receivers are not working properly to get outside radio waves, the mobile technology is so limited, the internet connection is not widespread.
In this black hole of disinformation and misinformation, all people are fed to are the state media and their biased message.
It is hard to penetrate this kind of mindset from outside. We are not there, we are not experiencing the situation and we clearly had no idea about the level of danger is facing inside North Korea. The situation is very black, but still, there is hope. After all, the history shows the no border control works for ever – take Soviet Union for example. What I would advise for messaging, is the human connection. After all, we are all humans, homo sapiens, we are social, tend to live with each other since it is our best chance of survival. We could remind people in North Korea that we think about them, they are not alone and they are not isolated – even though the current authorities would like people to believe it – and in this line of reasoning, any reminder that there are so many similarities among us, might be a good help, an appropriate advice and a good message to sink into their psyche.
That is why I came up with these front and back flyer. The front one is gray – to show that there is no black and while in this world – also shows the nature and how a human could overcome it. These messages are there without even a word. Then comes the message in two parts: That nothing could stop us and then, we are connected and human connection does not care for any kind of permission of border control.
The back flyer gives the message of hope and equality and sameness in design. We see all the same blue sky, we all walk on the same earth and we are all humans. So we cannot omit or back away from our nature because of some dictatorship. We are all humans and the same laws of humanity falls upon all of us.
This way and with these two messages, we are not hurting, we are not calling for action and not calling for any violence, but somehow we are trying to have a discussion and opening a door to our target audience. If they want, there could be better and more ways of communication and we are there for that purpose.
In some ways North Korean people are aware of their situation; they are dealing with famine and hunger all their lives and there are not much hope in their future. Reminding them of this doom and gloom state of life might get them numb. They are in a same boat together. It might not look remarkable or glorious, but something shares and connects these people together and they know what hardships in life they are facing. Yet, we cannot clearly say what the situation is since we do not have it is really hard to judge but most likely, whatever could send them the message of humanity, family, togetherness, hope and happiness could be a great product to be send over via balloons.