There are literally hundreds of entertainers vying for the attention of the K-pop fan at any given time of the day. Infinite, Kim Junsu, ULALA SESSION, IU, BTOB, A Pink and so many others have released singles, albums and MVs within the last two weeks alone. With so much competition, even well-established idols and their agencies have to stay on their toes to keep ahead of the pack — and that’s without the added layer of difficulty of being a rookie with a lot to prove.
JYP Entertainment — JJ Project
While there may be a larger boy group on the horizon for JYP Entertainment, at the moment trainees JB and JR will be performing in the unit duo called JJ Project. Both JB and JR starred in KBS television drama Dream High 2 as lead characters in the show set at a performing arts high school. With much screen time, audiences had the chance to preview the boys’ triple threat abilities to dance, sing and act.
JYP built hype for JB and Jr. through familiarity, ensuring that the group would be instantly recognized when they officially debuted. Not a bad plan, since it’s easy to connect with a “new” idol when they’re not so new at all. The duo, who will debut on May 20, already have a considerable amount of fans thanks to their performances in Dream High 2. That’s a huge leg up above countless other rookie groups who don’t the same kind of visibility.
DSP Media – A-JAX
A-JAX, formerly known as the ‘DSP Boyz,’ is DSP Media’s first boy group in almost five years. In order to build hype, DSP utilized something similar to the familiarity method. Rather than have all seven members act in a drama, A-JAX was cast for a reality show on MBC called Making the Star, which follows the idols’ progress through training. In the initial teaser, members of A-JAX kept their identities (their faces mostly) hidden until they unmasked themselves on-air in a big reveal.
DSP upped the ante by televising the construction and training of the group, taking “getting to know the new idols” to a whole new level. Viewers zeroed-in on favorites and became emotionally attached to the group’s success overall. It was no longer a situation where potential fans had to be convinced to love this perfect set of idols; instead fans were virtually present for every step in A-JAX’s road to K-pop stardom and made to feel like they were part of the action.
YG Entertainment — (Girl Group Name TBA)
YG Entertainment has totally embraced keeping things mysterious when it comes to their latest girl group. They’ve left nothing but breadcrumb-sized bites of information here and there over the last month, with only the first two members of the group have been introduced and confirmed. Super Star K competitors Euna Kim and Kim Eunbi are in, we think, but only because photos with captions that read, “Who’s that girl??” have been released, imply that they could be potential members.
Considered one of the “Big Three” agencies, YG already has a reputation. So fans sense that YG must have something special on their hands for them to remain so tight-lipped about their new girl group. And of course, as a result, the “bread” at the end of the crumb trail seems all the more desirable. This method is obviously working. Just minutes after photos appeared on the YG Life Blog, this new mysterious group of girls immediately became the most popular topic on Korean search engines.
It’s so easy to fade into the background as a pre-debut rookie, when you’re barely a drop in the ocean when it comes to Korean dance/pop scene. There are just so many other soloists, bands and groups with a potentially similar visual or music aesthetic. However, fortunately for JJ Project, A-JAX and YG’s new girl group, their agencies are forward-thinking, providing them with the best head-starts they possibly can before official debut activities get underway.
Do any of these three promotion styles have you looking forward to one artist more than the others? Let us know in the comments!