In mid-April, I went along with my friend, business partner and co-worker Kyoung-hee Lim to have dinner at an Indian restaurant, thinking that we would probably mention that we run a magazine and would like to have them advertise if they were interested. We ordered one palak panir (I love that stuff) and one tomato and cheese nan. The food came out, and we were surprised at the amount of nan, but it was cut up so we assumed they just make a really big nan at this place. We went to pay, carrying up a magazine and business cards to introduce ourselves. When we looked at the bill, we saw that the guy had charged us for two nan. I said, “But we wanted one.” He said, “But one is not enough for two people, so I gave you two.” I said, “But we’ll never come back again.” He said, “But one is not enough for two people, so I gave you two.” I said, “Okay”, we paid the bill, and we walked out. That restaurant never got a card or a magazine.
I went for a take-out sandwich the other day at what I thought was a potential advertiser and paid W9,500 for a crabmeat sandwich with no side dishes. Seemed a little steep, but I thought, hey, it’ll be worth it for a good sandwich. I got home and was left wondering where the crabmeat was hidden amongst the bread. No follow up with them.
The ads in 10 are as important as the content. There are no advertisers in this magazine that I wouldn’t visit myself in a heartbeat. Mostaffa at Marakech Night runs a tremendous Moroccan restaurant with some of the best Middle Eastern food you’ll ever get. A Reuben sandwich from Suji’s Restaurant and Deli is piled high with roast beef and fresh sauerkraut and paired with fresh pickles and real coleslaw – some customers actually complain it’s too much meat! (Go in and tell them it’s perfect before they reduce the portions, please!) The boys at Holy Grill in Daegu put together one of the most delicious, best-run Western restaurant-bars in Korea, bar none. I went to a little jazz bar across from the InterCon Hotel in Samsung-dong that put on such an incredible show that I just had to chase them for an ad. Tokyo Jazz just started advertising this month. I skeptically went for treatment at Jaseng Oriental Hospital after a couple days of back pain, and after one hour of being adjusted and stuck with needles, I woke up the next day just fine. We gave them a small free ad for 3 months before they finally relented and signed up as a long-term advertiser. I’m proud of our advertisers, and I hope they’re proud to be in 10.
At the same time, the advertisements are separate from the content, and it’s going to stay that way. I’ve caught hell on more than one occasion for having a review or an interview or whatever that wasn’t about our advertisers, but rather about a competitor. And every time I hear it, I explain that separation of ads from content is exactly why people read 10, and that’s why we put out more magazines than any other English magazine in the country (we’re in almost 8,000 hotel rooms every month – and that’s just the hotels!). At the same time, we don’t avoid reviewing or interviewing our advertisers because they offer exactly the kinds of terrific products and services that English speakers in Korea are desperately searching for – from brunch to a root canal, you can find them in 10. But in our articles even then they are often profiled right next to non-advertisers who provide the same service. So when you do visit one of our advertisers, let them know that you went because you saw them in 10 – because without them there wouldn’t be a 10 in your hands right now. And we’ll be sure to keep finding more great places for you to visit for the products and services you so desperately need and love.