At the end of December 2009, the Chosun Ilbo published an article stating that the current spelling of "makgeolli" might cause some non-Koreans to mispronounce it as makjolee. The author suggested that the spelling should be changed and this would popularize this alcohol overseas. He recommended a few different options such as maggoli, makkoli, and makoli.
I wish that the author had done some research to test this opinion, because it caused quite a stir with the aT Center (The Agro-Trade Center) and amongst the Korean public. The aT Center is a government organization that has been heading the Korean Food Globalization project and my company (O'ngo Food Communications) has been working with them on several different projects including how to market makgeolli overseas.
Back in October of 2009, our company and the heads of many makgeolli companies had a meeting to discuss changing the name of makgeolli. I will tell you the same thing I told them: it is not cost efficient, it will cause needless confusion, and it won't put the drink in people's hands.
It goes on to talk about the ad for bibimbap placed by those "Infinite Challenge" guys in December, which reads:
for lunch today?
Bibimbap is a dish mixed of cooked
rice with various vegetables, beef, garnishes and
fried red pepper paste. It is said that this dish came
from the customers of memorial service and rural villages.
The dish is very convenient to provide, just mixing of cooked
rice with various vegetablees, namul and red pepper paste together.
If you're creating a list of bad ideas for globalizing Korean food, you'd better stick "topokki" in there. Last year some people decided to change the name of the food to "topokki," saying
"Using a name that’s easy for foreigners to pronounce is our first step to help the spicy rice cake gain global popularity.”even though the pronunciation doesn't reflect what Koreans actually call it.
His main point is Korea should do its _________ and know its _________ (I won't give it away), and those are two things you can apply to pretty much any endeavor aimed at foreigners here.