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Psy named South Korea tourism ambassador
He made the district of Gangnam the hottest keyword last year. Can he do the same for the rest of the country?
Psy's new song, "Gentleman," has confirmed he's more than a one-hit wonder -- the music video already has 244 million views on YouTube since debuting two weeks ago.
So it makes sense that South Korea is using the gyrating dance-pop sensation for publicity abroad.
Psy has been tapped as South Korea's tourism ambassador and has just finished taping a series of TV commercials to show off the country, according to the Korea Tourism Organization (KTO).
He's certainly a better fit than the former spokesman -- Kenny G, the curly-haired American saxophonist, has held the honorary ambassadorship since October 2012.
According to the KTO, Psy will hold the honorary position for approximately a year. He held the same post for Seoul's Gangnam district last year.
In the new commercials, which will air in 70 countries beginning next month, the comedic singer helps showcase things to eat and do and places to visit in South Korea, such as the late-night shopping district of Dongdaemun and "Cosmetic Road" in downtown Myeongdong, known for its rows of flashy makeup shops.
"We have been looking for ways to tap into new media like social marketing and YouTube, and since Psy has become a world star that way it made sense," said Kang Jong-soon of KTO's brand marketing team.
"Through him, we're trying to introduce the more modern and fun Korean cultural concepts such as bul-gum," said Kang.
Loosely translated to "Fiery Fridays," bul-gum is the Korean equivalent of the West's "TGIF" sentiment and is the oft-cited excuse to drink large volumes of soju on Friday nights.
Psy accepted minimal payment for the gig. Officially representing South Korea was meaningful work, he said.
He'll be traveling in style too: earlier this month, Asiana Airlines announced that Psy would be its honorary brand ambassador for a year.
He gets free tickets to the highest-class seats on any Asiana flight for the year.