Dynamite deal brings BTS closer to PH Army
Members of the Filipino Army had something to crow about last Thursday when BTS—that’s Jungkook, V, Jimin, Jin, Suga, J-Hope and their leader RM to fans of the phenomenal Bangtan Boys—was launched as Smart’s latest endorser by way of a splashy two-minute ad.
The telco-brand ad, conceptualized in support of Smart Prepaid’s “Live Your Passion with Purpose” campaign, was finally shot in Seoul last Jan. 16 on a gorgeous set that astutely reimagined seven versions of the Penrose staircase for each of the seven members of the K-pop sensation.
It’s a metaphor snug fit for a continually evolving “idol” group that has been breaking one glass ceiling after another since its “official” debut in 2013 via “2 Cool for Skool.”
Set to the tune of BTS’ No. 1 song “Life Goes On,” the ravishing lead single from “Be,” that then segues into its record-breaking funk-and-soul disco anthem “Dynamite,” the catchy ad deftly captures the optimism and feel-good vibe that characterize many of the septet’s artistic endeavors.
We see Jungkook and company grooving to their hits while inspiring words and perk-me-up catchphrases are seen lighting up the set, each meant to boost BTS followers’ sagging spirits in these trying, stressful times—like “keep chasing your passion” (Jin), “keep exploring” (V), “keep living your purpose” (Suga), “keep learning” (RM), “keep moving” (J-Hope), “keep inspiring” (Jungkook) and, of course, “keep connecting” (Jimin). Get it?
It carries the perfect message for people languishing at home and losing hope in the midst of all the doom and gloom brought about by the pandemic and the government’s inept handling of it—about how perseverance, hard work and belief in oneself can beat seemingly insurmountable odds!
But getting BTS management to agree to this collaboration is another story, said senior vice president Jane Basas, head of Consumer Wireless Business at Smart, who described the yearlong negotiation as “a long and uphill journey.”
“It was one of the hardest negotiations that everyone had to do for the brand,” Jane admitted. “But it was all worth it in the end. We actually started as early as the first quarter of 2020, because we wanted the brand’s [positive] message and vibe to resonate with younger Filipinos—particularly, the Gen Zs—a generation known for its strong voice and capabilities. They can change the world with what they can do. “So, we were looking for talent that can help deliver that message vividly—and there was only one capable of doing just that: BTS. So, sometime June last year, we got in touch with our contacts, particularly Joyce Ramirez of Publicity Asia, and asked her if it was possible to reach out to Big Hit Entertainment, now renamed HYBE, the company that manages BTS.
Closing the deal
“There was a long negotiation from June or July. And for about seven months, we didn’t know if we could close the deal or lose the contract—but we really wanted it badly! So [much like the mantra that the company lives by], we just kept pursuing it, not letting go of our passion in getting the contract closed.
“As it turned out, it became the best Christmas gift for us because, on Dec. 25, we got word from Seoul that the contract was finally approved! Then, we also had the best New Year’s gift because, on Jan. 1, we had it signed by Big Hit. So, on the first day of 2021, we knew it was going to be a ‘dynamite’ year for the brand.”
Indeed, it’s the sort of dynamite deal that is bringing BTS closer to the Pinoy Army.
Moreover, dynamite was also what the group delivered in the music video as they danced and pranced around the set retrofitted to suit the fun and playful mood they were in. But the boys were even more relaxed in the Q&A that followed before the end of the launch.
Judge for yourself. Here are excerpts:
Are you aware of the kind of support you have from your fans in the Philippines?
RM: Yes, during our previous tours to the Philippines, a lot of our fans showed their support by waiting for us even in hot weather. I‘d like to visit again the soonest time possible to hear the cheers of Army there.
Jin: The Philippines is a great country. I’d really like to visit and go on vacation there.
Suga: I enjoy watching Philippine basketball occasionally because the level [of play] is very high.
J-Hope: I love the Philippines. The food is also delicious.
Jimin: We know very well that you’re always sending us messages through social media. You also do other activities, like uploading videos that cover our songs and dance moves.
V: I heard that there are a lot of Army in the Philippines, so I’d like to see you all soon.
Jungkook: Yes, I’m very grateful to all the Army who support us from far away.
You’ve been open about your individual and collective struggles in the past. In your own words, what is BTS’ passion and purpose?
RM: Our passion and purpose involve encouraging and inspiring people by way of dancing and sharing the kind of music we love.
Jin: My passion is to please the Army. I will do my best to do that with all my effort.
Suga: What motivates us is [the thought that] the Army is waiting for us there.
Jimin: The passion of the team comes from longing [to perform again] onstage and wanting to do music. And the reason and purpose of course is [to please] the Army.
V: I want to give encouragement and healing to Army’s life with great music.
Jungkook: I often think about what I can do right now—what I want to do and what I need to do.
Any message for the Army and Smart subscribers?
RM: Wouldn’t it be smart if you put your heart into something in every moment [of your life]? It’s been a while since we met with Army and everyone in Philippines. Let’s meet soon after this long winter is over. I miss you a lot!
Jin: [Making] smart decisions has always been important to us—and it seems to have produced good results for us. Be happy, everyone! I am encouraging you so you can walk on the path of happiness!
Suga: [You’ll make] a smart decision if you think about things carefully. I hope everyone stays healthy in 2021 so we see you again in a concert hall soon.
J-Hope: It’s a simple fact that when you have a purpose, you’ll have reason for living, and this becomes your driving force. Facing the world with a sense of purpose is an important factor to enjoy life. Stay healthy and be happy! That’s important till the day the pandemic ends, so we can come to see you again in person. Peace!
Jimin: I think life is a wonderful thing. Even before we die, there are things in the world that we cannot experience at all. So, wouldn’t it be nice to have a purpose … to see things and enjoy life? Dear Filipino Army, I hope my heart can reach you and thank you for always supporting us. We look forward to seeing you soon.
V: Challenge yourself to break the big walls in your life! No matter how many times you fall, don’t give up!
Jungkook: First of all, it would be nice if you had a clear purpose. Think about it and do what you need to do. To our beloved Army, lead a smart life. I’ll be rooting for you. Please, stay healthy.
The group has seven members with seven distinct personalities. But what do you think is the secret to BTS’ great teamwork?
RM: We’ve been together for a long time, and all the members are really nice.
Jin: We’re all very close.
Suga: We respect each other. Of course, we can’t avoid arguing sometimes because we’re people, but when that happens, we deal with it wisely.
J-Hope: We’re considerate of each other.
Jimin: We try to understand each other more because each member is different.
V: I think the secret is good teamwork. We have the same desire and the same heart.Jungkook: I think it’s [mutual] understanding and consideration for each other. INQ
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