Be the Reds!

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"Be the Reds!" was a phrase popularized on T-shirts during the 2002 FIFA World Cup by supporters of the Korea Republic national football team. The team's jersey color is red, and its supporters are known as the Red Devils, having similar nomenclature as supporters of the Premier League's Manchester United. While the true intentions of the creator of the phrase are unknown, many believe it to be a literal translation of a phrase in Korean, thus the practical translation should read "We are Red" or "Be Red". Since then, it has become a national symbol of South Korea at football.

Origin[edit]

The first incarnation of the T-Shirt featured a white brush stroked silk screened logo on a red T-shirt. The logo also appeared on hats, bandanas, socks, wristbands, backpacks, shoes, napkins, underwear, and probably other things as well. This was possible because the original logo was purposely not copyrighted or trademarked, to ensure widespread distribution of "Be the Reds!" items for supporters of the Korean soccer team everywhere. Originally, the alphabet "R" in the logo was designed to represent the number "12", meaning that those who wear "Be the Reds!" shirts are the twelfth Korean players on the ground (as there are eleven players in a soccer team).

Controversy[edit]

In late 2003 someone trademarked the phrase and began selling "Be the Reds!" items commercially. In retaliation, the person who first made the logo on a T-shirt copyrighted the font in which it was written, thus forcing the owner of the phrase to print his shirts in a different font. Those shirts did not sell as well as the phrase owner had hoped. Because of those two trademarks, no further "Be the Reds!" items (in the original font) have been made legally since 2003. The Korean Football Association has since abandoned the slogan, opting for their own trademarked one, "Reds Go Together!" for the 2006 World Cup. In 2010, there are competing slogans, KFA's All the Reds! and Red Devils' "The Shouts of Reds! United Korea!"

Other uses[edit]

The original London internet café Cyberia was bought by Koreans and rebranded as "Be The Reds" as BTR in the early 2000s.

In late 2002, Korean soccer star Ahn Jung-Hwan made his Japan debut (in the J-League) playing for the Shimizu S-Pulse. As their colors were white and orange, one group of entrepreneurs created "Be the Orange!" T-shirts written in the same font. Few were bought, and the adapted slogan never caught on.

Some fans of the J-League's Urawa Reds have also been seen wearing "Be the Reds!" memorabilia, as it calls out their team by both color and name.

While it never caught on as a widespread fad, a few supporters of Major League Baseball's Cincinnati Reds have also been known to sport clothing bearing the same phrase.

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