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Is BTS Smart Communications' next endorsers?

Filipino fans of BTS – global superstars and most recently, Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 artists – might have more funk and soul to their Christmas this year as the South Korean septet are reportedly set to be the latest endorsers of Smart Communications – their first ever Philippine brand. 

Rappler learned from well-placed sources that Smart is supposedly preparing for a Christmas campaign with BTS, arguably the world’s most popular and successful musical act today. 

BTS, comprised of RM, Jin, Suga, j-hope, Jimin, V, and Jungkook, were said to have filmed their TV commercial for Smart in late August in Seoul. 

But that’s just about what we’ve been told. We wonder what BTS song will be featured in the commercial, if BTS (which means Bangtan Sonyeondan or “bulletproof boy scouts” in Korean) will have an online performance similar to an Indonesian brand they recently endorsed, and if they will meet with the Philippine media, also online, of course. 

Just a few months ago, Smart thrilled Korean-drama loving Filipinos when it signed up marquee Korean actors Hyun Bin and Son Ye Jin as its brand ambassadors. Hyun Bin and Son Ye Jin top-billed Crash Landing on You, the romantic comedy drama that led so many Filipinos to discover that Korean dramas are truly a gem. 

BTS, however, is on a different level altogether. Bangtan endorsing Smart Communications will sure reverberate in the borderless world of social media, thanks to their legion of fans collectively known as ARMYs who support BTS’ endeavors anywhere in the world.

Rappler reached out to Smart Marketing PR for comment but they have yet to get back to us with a reply. 

For sure, Filipino ARMYs will be fervently hoping and praying for a positive response from Smart. 

It will be a happy Christmas for BTS’ Filipino fans should this reported endorsement deal come true. We’re all wondering how we’ll celebrate the country’s favorite time of the year with the entire population under various degrees of lockdown because of the coronavirus pandemic. 

The last time BTS were in the Philippines was for their Wings tour in 2017. The boys also spent a few days in Coron, Palawan, where they filmed, in the middle of a Philippine summer, one of their travel documentaries called Summer Package. Here, they also experienced how it was to be offline in a nearly-remote island.  

It’s understandable how Filipino ARMYs have been yearning to hear the boys say, “Mahal namin kayo” (We love you) again, which V actually read out loud during a V-Live (a livestream interaction) with Jungkook last May, when he saw a Filipino ARMY post it as a comment. Within seconds, Filipino ARMYs were cheering online. 

Filipino ARMYs are a dedicated lot that the Philippines is always among the top 5 countries that stream BTS music on platforms like YouTube and Spotify and purchase their songs on iTunes, helping propel the boys to the top of the charts. 

ARMYs attest that BTS always bring joy to anyone who have come to know them and their music.  

BTS are talented singers and songwriters who showcase top-tier performances and music production. In their reality shows, behind the scenes footages made available to fans, even in their social media posts and interactions, BTS turn from A-list celebrities to funny, witty, unpretentious, and authentic human beings who are easy to connect and relate with. It’s easy to adore and love them.  

BTS have said in several interviews that the pandemic has left them angry and frustrated like everybody else. They had been preparing for their world tour only for it to be postponed indefinitely because of the outbreak. The coronavirus upended their lives as much as it upended ours. 

Bangtan coped with the uncertainties by turning to music and entertaining ARMYs, which stirred their fans out of the melancholy brought by the outbreak. This is the magic of BTS; it’s always been the magic of BTS: they are attuned with reality. They understand and empathize with what people are going through such that their music has a unique impact on anyone who listens and appreciates it. 

Anyone familiar with BTS’ story knows that their success was not handed to them on a silver platter. They had to endure being underdogs. But young as they were that time, they made “team work makes the dream work” their mantra. And with this team is ARMY, always. BTS never fail to acknowledge that it is the love, support, and dedication of their fans that have brought the band to where they are today. 

BTS’ success had turned their agency, Big Hit Entertainment, into one of the biggest companies in South Korea. Big Hit is set to have its initial public offering in October, and the price range is definitely not cheap.  

While BTS worked on their first ever self-produced album, which is said to be released later this year, Bangtan surprised their fans and the global music industry last August with their first full English song, “Dynamite”. It not only broke the YouTube premier record, the song also debuted at No. 1 in the Billboard Hot 100 charts – a groundbreaking feat for a foreign act in the highly competitive US music industry. 

International star Lea Salonga recently shared in a recent online interview how happy and proud she was as an Asian artist over BTS’ latest coup. As a fairly new fan, she said it was “Dynamite” that got her really hooked on the band. “I’ve just been listening to BTS non-stop. It keeps me happy… But I think it was when Dynamite came out that was when I was like ohhh-kay and into the rabbit hole I go,” Lea said. 

“Dynamite” is a disco-pop tune with a choreography that honors Michael Jackson and sleek styling that pays homage to retro. Its lyrics is a far cry from BTS’ profound storytelling in their Korean songs that they have written and produced along with Big Hit’s in-house musicians. 

But “Dynamite” is all about having fun. It’s an ode to things like taking a silly walk going home, having milk in the morning, playing ping-pong, shooting hoops with friends. You know, those things we took for granted pre-pandemic. It’s an uncomplicated, fundamentally happy song that can make anyone smile and dance in their seats.

BTS remind us that “life is sweet as honey”; that we can be “shining through the city with a little funk and soul.” Yes, we can still light up these dark times like dynamite. – Rappler.com

Nikko Dizon

Nikko Dizon is a freelance journalist specializing in security and political reporting. She has extensively covered issues involving the military, the West Philippine Sea maritime dispute, human rights, and the peace process.

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