Importance of ‘apology’


what happened to them?


 In 2015, there were two companies that made Korea sensational. It is ‘SAMSUNG’ that moves around the world and ‘MAXIM’ that is a U.S.-based magazine.

 In common, the two companies dealt with the crisis by apologizing to the public for their crisis. However, after announcement, consumers’ perceptions for ‘SAMSUNG’ and ‘MAXIM’ changed in different directions.



First In August 2015, the September issue of Maxim was published. The main character on the back cover was Korean actor Kim Byung-ok.

 On the cover, he stands smoking and next to him, there is a car that contains a victim of a crime. besides, There is a phrase ‘THE REAL BAD GUY’ on the cover.


Maxim’s september issue in 2015

after it was published, it received strong criticism from domestic and foreign media for the idea of glorifying sexual crime. In response, Maxim Korea posted first statement.


Maxim’s first statement


  “Hello I am Lee Young-Bi, Head editor of magazine MAXIM. In this September issued in 2015, our cover picture was produced by editorial department, aiming to set the actor Kim Byung-ok as an evil person like in the scene of the crime Noir film.

  As you can see from the context of the whole picture, it is true that it is directing about the crime of abandoned dead body and murder, but it doesn’t exist a sexual crime element in the cover. As some of you are worried about, sexual crime has not been portrayed as a sexual fantasy.

  I would be grateful if you think this as a dramatic representation of a crime scene drawn to show the context of this picture like the scenes directed at the story progression of the work and the atmosphere in the movie.”


There is no ‘apology’ in the first statement! So after released it, public opinion did not abate, and criticism has become more aggravated.

 Eventually, about two weeks later, Maxim Korea released a written apology. But because of their first statement, no apology and denial and excuse, negative public opinion for them lasts until now.



However, in crisis situation Samsung’s attitude was different!

 in 2015 they had a big problems related to MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome). ‘Samsung Seoul Hospital’s medical staff missed infected person and many people who visited the hospital as well as the medical staff were diagnosed with MERS.

 So Samsung Group Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong issued an written apology to the public.



Samsung group vice chairman ‘Lee Jae-Yong’


“Our Samsung Seoul Hospital has caused too much pain and anxiety to the public because we have failed to prevent MERS infection and spread. I sincerely apologize. Especially I am so sorry for those who had pain because of MERS and those who are still in treatment, and those who have been inconvenienced by the unexpected quarantine measures. My father has been in the hospital for over a year. I understand a little bit of the anxiety and pain you and your family have experienced.

 We’ll take care of the patients until the end. We will also work closely with the authorities to ensure that the MERS situation is completely resolved in the near future. We failed to satisfing your expectations and trust. I feel terrible for myself. I feel responsible. As soon as crisis done, we’ll make major innovation of the hospital. I will do my best to investigate how this happened. With this problem, we will improve care environment including the emergency room and sufficient sound pressure rooms for patients to be treated safely. From now, we will actively support the development of vaccines and treatments as well as preventive activities to combat these infections.

 I’m sorry to say, but our medical staff has been devoted to treatment and nursing for more than a month. Please give them encouragement and support. Again, I sincerely apologize to those who are suffering from MERS.”


After the announcement, Samsung has not only overcomed the crisis but also got a good image. Therefore, we need to pay attention to Samsung’s apology. 

 First of all, from the start of announcement, Samsung acknowledged their mistakes and apologized about that. According to previous study, the more companies acknowledge and accept their responsibility, the more consumers feel sympathy and reduce criticism of them.

 In other words, consumers gave a positive assessment for Samsung because they admitted their mistakes without making excuses or denying them. Samsung also presented concrete solutions to for their problems. He promised changing the system of their hospital so that similar problems would not occur in the future and compensation for victims.

 According to previous study, combination of ‘compensation’ and ‘correcting behavior’ in crisis situation can help consumers effectively accept an apology. Thanks to these strategic apology, Samsung were able to overcome the crisis as well as improve the company’s image.

*References : 「사과 포함 여부가 책임귀인과 위기 커뮤니케이션 전략 수용에 미치는 영향」 (윤영민,최윤정. 2008),「수용자의 관점에서 본 위기 커뮤니케이션 전략」 (윤영민, 2007)


 Therefore, now we know ‘Apology’ is important for not only overcomes problem but also makes good image!