A post shared on Reddit that talks about how a local media companies are mistreating the currently budding MNL48 as a typical girl group, sparking the ire of some well-versed pundits and fans of idols alike. Mainly ignoring the nuances of what constitutes as Japanese Idol. The issue got me thinking if ABS (who is handling the promotion and marketing) is clueless or just doing its job to appeal the group to the broad market base.

Of course, to clear things out. I do not follow idol groups or partake in any of the activities that cater to such fandom. Beside what impression of what makes a Japanese idol from a third-person perspective.  But I feel that I have enough to say about this matter since I’ve covered Japanese inspired events in the past and has dealt with these particular fandoms. Mainly, those from Starmarie who frequent the country to do performances. Besides also that this is my blog and I need to write something dammit.

IS ABS-CBN CLUELESS

Is ABS not aware of what they are doing for the IDOL group? Pundits would agree on the matter since they are running it like a reality show. But then again, I think ABS is not stupid to not know it either. While it is a disgrace to them treating it as such. ABS is undeniably the master of marketing and promotion. Hate it what you will. They did manage to produce talents and continue to lead them in a manner that makes them relevant in the long run. I loathe the programs they create (except I Can See Your Voice it since that is a fun show to watch). But objective wise if you want something to be the talk of the town. ABS got your back.

Which is why it is no surprise that the people of MNL (Hallohallo for that matter) teamed up with ABS to promote and reach as many people as possible I would bet that they did this out of mere necessity given that the MNL group has been in the works for a few years now. While I don’t have an inside knowledge of this, I would bet that the people behind MNL tried to preserve the essence in some shape or form. But given the cold reception it received, it was left no choice but to make a deal with the devil to keep this going. Remember, they did set up a site for people to vote and apply for the group but was not taken seriously by the people it intended to garner.

So to promote this. ABS have to do what it has to do. Milk it and use all its resources to make sure the brand sticks to the general masses. They started with promoting their songs as a cover for the candidates to do. While for the purist and those who know better, is something of a travesty. But to lure more candidates (and promote their songs on the side), it was a right direction to go. Let’s also face it. Filipinos, in general, aren’t exactly the kind of people who would do research first before diving into something. Instead, save the embarrassment, they just made it more appealing in general.

Then we also factor the cultural nuances of our country. That whole purity mantra does not sell in our country. It is also something we expect of child actors, and we are not selling a kids group. What markets in this country are the looks and “appeal”? Something that Japanese idol needed. But it is not the “appeal” fans would expect to come here. To us, an appeal is more of having the cute face and second the talents. Then there’s the notion of putting a love angle into the mix. Something of a big no-no in the idol scene, since they purity is something that they sell. Love is not pure. It corrupts as I would understand it. But to the general masses, that is what keeps the buzz going. Which is why we have Kathniel and that AlDub craze in the past.

Is there a Light at the end of the Abyss?

To end this point. No. I don’t think ABS is clueless on how idols work. They just don’t use it because it doesn’t sell. You can’t get people talking if they don’t sell. ABS is a mass churning marketing workhorse that earns millions of pesos and influences a lot of people. It may not be what you expect. But maybe, just maybe, when the dust settles, and the name sticks. Then there comes a chance to introduce what makes idols unique to the masses.

Image: ABS-CBN