Fashion Forward Idols or Potential Capital Opportunities?

2PM are back once again, with their smooth voices and irresistible charm. The K-pop idol group has released their new album in collaboration with the well known fashion brand The United Colours of Benetton with a unique twist. ‘Clothes Album’, the hint is in the name. . As part of their comeback, the boys are entering new markets, seemingly successfully.

2PM Clothes AlbumOnce the ‘Clothes Album’ is purchased, customers are given barcodes which then enable then to be able to browse the groups’ songs using their smartphones or other similar devices. The ‘Clothes Album’ includes Taecyeon‘s “It’s Time“, Jun.K‘s “Alive“, Wooyoung‘s “Sexy Lady“, Nichkhun‘s “Let It Rain“, Junho‘s “Just a Feeling“, and Chansung‘s “Love U Down“. All songs except “Alive” and “Sexy Lady” will be officially released for the first time on this new album. The album, made available on Gmarket and at the JYP store last Thursday, as well as the clothing line, sold out within the day. The clothing line matches the style of brand United Colours of Benetton, with a range of apparel from shirts, leggings, hoodies and pants. All of these items are designed with the 2PM’s slogan ‘What Time Is It’, and have been a hit with their fan base, which go by the name of ‘Hottest’. This seems to be a very effective publicity for the idol group, who have been focusing on work overseas within the past year, and is essentially sliding then back into the current market with their new twist.

JYP Entertainment released a statement saying, “2PM Clothes Album represents a new business model for JYP Entertainment that delivers music through the platform of clothing.” The statement went on to say that they hope to create more diverse content. Idol endorsement of clothes is strategically quite clever and often has an impact on sales both in South Korea and internationally, as each artist/individual or group has a strong fan base, there is ultimately a strong clientele base. This isn’t the first time K-pop idols and groups have endorsed global brands, in the past 2NE1 have collaborated with Adidas, and also Big Bang with Uniqlo. Part of the allure that is the Hallyu Wave is fashion, playing a big role in music videos. Creating a hype not just around the product, but around groups and individuals as names is where advertising deals are essential. Celebrities have become the ‘Brand’.

Miss A's SuzyAs is well known, most K-pop singers and groups seek other ventures and activities such as T.V shows and commercials, and this highlights that the music alone is not bringing in enough revenue. These entertainment companies are seemingly reliant upon their artists/actors to partake in as many activities as possible. Artists are seen to be constantly learning new talents, languages and skills which can in fact been productive for whole groups, though sometimes certain individuals end up taking all the limelight, the ‘sole breadwinner’ in keeping a company afloat. This accusation has recently been aimed at JYP’s Suzy.  This is due to a number of factors: her constant rising popularity, the fact that other groups in JYP are not doing as well, or are still recovering from scandals (2PM) and the fact that JYP has lost his appeal. This could ultimately lead to backlash or to placing too much strain upon one individual or more positively, having increase in revenues as well as name. For now it seems upbeat and Suzy is most certainly doing what JYP hired her for.

JYP, which is usually referred to as one of the ‘Big 3’ in South Korean entertainment alongside with, YG and SM Entertainment could be potentially losing that title. Celebrities, singers, and actors are always surrounded my scandals and hardships, some more than others. With the company still recovering from, arguably 2PM’s most popular member, Nichkhun’s recent incident in the summer (drinking while under the influence of alcohol) and the fact miss A did not garner as much attention with their latest comeback, JYP is left having to seek other alternative routes to produce profits. What needs to be understood is that if a celebrity is involved in scandals, particularly in still largely conservative  South Korea, it can often lead to activities being pushed back and at times even delayed.  Ultimately, this will have an impact on company proceedings.

Written by Mona

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