Clinic hit for promoting cosmetic surgery on campus
By Kim Bo-eun
A cosmetic surgery clinic deceptively obtained permission to open a promotional booth on the campus of a women’s university to solicit students in a bid to make money.
Students were lured to get plastic surgery at discount rates at Sookmyung Women’s University’s campus in Seoul by the clinic’s booth on Friday and Monday.
The school shut the booth Tuesday, saying the clinic went too far in marketing its services.
Based in southern Seoul, the clinic had told the administration beforehand that it would provide information and free tests on dermatology, without mentioning plastic surgery.
The school said the clinic breached its earlier agreement on operating the booth so the promotional activity was suspended.
While it was open, however, students had been streaming in to get information.
A banner read that the clinic had partnered with the student council and that up to a 66 percent discount was available for students and faculty.
Staff from the clinic talked about the importance of appearance at job interviews and that the female students needed to pay attention to their looks. They introduced various skin care options including Botox injections and skin care.
Among the students drawn to the booth were many seniors seeking jobs.
“I think I was enticed by the idea of being able to give a better impression at job interviews,” said a student surnamed Lee.
Some students, however, were skeptical about the clinic.
“It’s a problem that these clinics are taking advantage of job-seeking students,” said a student who identified herself as Park.
This is not the first time a cosmetic surgery clinic has used college campuses to conduct promotional events.
In a social atmosphere in which plastic surgery has become increasingly accepted and common, clinics target students as customers under the pretext of doing better at job interviews.
One can spot plastic surgery billboards without much difficulty as they are plastered everywhere from inside subway stations and on buses to main streets and underpasses.
However, the incident at the university raises the question of the boundaries of advertising and commercial activities.
“What the clinic ended up doing was entirely different from what they initially said they would do,” said a student of the council. “We are definitely against clinics promoting cosmetic surgery on campus since it makes it seem as if the school supports it.”