Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Infinite and possible publicity stunts

Twitter is currently ablaze with Woollim's confirmation that Infinite's second maknae Kim Myungsoo (also known as L, but I'll refer to him as Myungsoo here) did indeed date an ulzzang (an "ulzzang" is like minor celebrity, a guy or girl who gains popularity online by posting selcas) called Kim Doyeon. The agency even implied that the two might still be together, only estranged due to Infinite's "One Great Step" world tour.

Back in September, Doyeon topped Twitter trending topics for her tweets which insinuated that she was dating Myungsoo and posting pictures allegedly of her and Myungsoo together. Then Woollim released a statement saying that Myungsoo and Doyeon were just friends, triggering Inspirits to accuse the poor girl of being an attention seeker.

Woollim eventually came clean about Myungsoo and Doyeon dating after the girl tweeted that Inspirits (or should I say those who are half Inspirit and half sasaeng) stole petrol from her car, threw garbage at her office and even threw bottles at her. She threatened to bring this to court.

You might want to think well Myungsoo is 21 (22 in Korean age) and Doyeon works and drives, so she's at least Myungsoo's age, why not let them date. And let's applaud Myungsoo for being able to squeeze a bit of personal life into his crazy gruelling schedule. that really the case? Was Woollim's confirmation that the Infinite visual was dating really an act of coming clean?

When Inspirits first became aware of Kim Doyeon in late September, Infinite was in the midst of the OGS' Asian leg. Also, on the very same date that Doyeon topped trending topics for the first time (September 26), Infinite released "Request", a single for their Samsung promotion campaigns. And let's look at other things surrounding the revelation of the two Kims' relationship. Last week, Woollim released two teasers of "Day and Night", a comeback single of their duo Tasty. Also last week, Infinite won "Worldwide Performer" and "Best Male Group" (beating Shinee and EXO from K-pop industry titan SM) at the 2013 M-Net Asian Music Awards (MAMA 2013) in Hong Kong, and the boyband has just kickstarted the European part of OGS, with a concert in London being held tonight (yes a Wednesday.)

Aaand let's not forget that sometime in their US tour which has just wrapped, member Jang Dongwoo revealed that Infinite would release a new single just before the end of the year.

You don't have to be a Communications Science expert to have every right to suspect the whole Kim Doyeon brouhaha is nothing but a publicity stunt. What I don't understand is with all the new level of popularity brought by OGS world tour, endorsements (Infinite are brand ambassadors of Samsung and Natuur Pop, and this year they added Pepsi to the list), award wins, comeback albums and singles, why would Woollim create this "Myungsoo dating Doyeon" stunt to bring attention to any new Infinite release - or Tasty for that matter? Sure, Tasty is nowhere near as famous as their labelmate Infinite yet, having debuted just last year, but "Day and Night" is Tasty's second comeback of the year, which means the duo's popularity is rising. Can't they just "rise from the ashes" the way Infinite did when they debuted back in 2010, without the help of any scandal?

Or is it some kind of a warning that we shouldn't be shocked when Doyeon is revealed to be a K-pop trainee of any agency (not necessarily Woollim)?

If it is indeed a publicity stunt, then the biggest blame most likely lies on the cutthroat Korean music industry, in which new girlbands, boybands and solo artists emerge everyday. So much so that when a new singer or group appears, they should consider themselves lucky if they live to see their comeback mini album, which typically consists of four songs and only one of those songs is promoted.

"Keep them talking, that's the game," says PR expert JJ French in "St. Trinian's", but at least in this case with Infinite and Kim Doyeon, perhaps I'm the only one who doesn't get the drift.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

The confessional booth function of this blog

Hey babe.
Thanks for coming everyday, although you know I update once a month at best.
I don't feel right saying this in an e-mail.
And I know there will other, possibly better opportunities to say this.
But my heart wants to do it now and it thinks there's no better opportunity.
You're one of the best things that have ever happened to me, despite the weird stuff that have been going on in the past 11 years.
And it's one of my best decisions to let you run free, be yourself.
It doesn't matter whether you will come to me at the end.
Just the fact that you've stayed with me for nearly 12 years is enough.
"I love you" is too cheesy, and I don't know if I'll ever get to hug you again.
But whatever life throws in the way, please know that I'm here for you.


Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Be water...or be alcohol?

I may be late, but I guess the controversy surrounding Bruce Lee (or rather, the CGI Bruce Lee) endorsing Scotch Whiskey brand Johnnie Walker is still going on. This commercial really divides the fans, those who condemn Johnnie Walker for using Lee's image for "everything he stood against" (and Shannon Lee for "being so greedy"), and those who applaud Johnnie Walker for respecting the legend's legacy in an awesome CGI work. I belong to neither, and instead I wonder how this advertisement works...

That's the Mandarin version. The Cantonese version is soo badly dubbed, and at 0:13 is a cut off Lee's 1971 Pierre Burton Show interview in which he stated he didn't speak Mandarin.

Apparently this ad attempts to appeal to your emotion, especially if you're a Bruce Lee fan or happen to remember him from when he was alive. Bruce Lee fans like me are surely familiar with his famous "be water" philosophy and "keep walking" is not just Johnnie Walker's tagline but also another of Lee's philosophy, which his daughter Shannon has tried to introduce to the new generation of Bruce Lee fans through the "Walk On!" range of Bruce Lee merchandise. That and of course his legend status made him a perfect endorser for Johnnie Walker.

It is expected that Bruce Lee fans will take heed from their idol: be flexible like water, break some rules, set up your own rules and eventually you'll be a success. And when you're on top, celebrate with Johnnie Walker, which is created for people who keep looking forward and never gives up like Bruce Lee and John Walker himself. As much as I like Bruce Lee and admire Johnnie Walker for being around for 197 years, this concept doesn't work on me. I don't drink.

But anyway, for those who flame Shannon Lee for selling her father's image as an alcohol endorser, let's all cherish the fact that 40 years after his death, Bruce Lee is still very much relevant - and bankable. Of course it's not something everyone can achieve. Rephrase - it's not something every STAR can achieve.

Ok, now the part of the commercial that really bugs me...

It's so damn annoying that the body double for Bruce Lee, actor Danny Kwan (who, as you can probably tell, is known for his uncanny Lee resemblance), is not even given a voice in this behind-the-scene. He had to endure shooting the ad with spots on his face and without him the ad would've been impossible, so they should have at least let him deliver his two cents on playing Bruce Lee in an ad that people knew would be a controversy.