Music with Seoul: 5 characteristics of K-pop music videos

For those of you who didn’t know, The Los Angeles Korean Pop Festival is happening this saturday in memory of the 111th anniversary of Korean American immigration. For many of you out there when thinking of K-pop, the Youtube sensation ‘Gangnam Style‘ will come to mind.

Nevertheless, nobody can argue against the fact that in recent years the Korean music scene has grown out of obscurity to become a recognised entity in the online world. Whether that be through cheesy music videos from bands you’ve never heard of, or through a flood of GIFs of pretty boy bands that seem more suited to a mid 90s cover of Smash Hits magazine.

Regardless of these thoughts, here is my list of 5 characteristics of K-pop music videos that make the genre so great!

 

1. OVERLY LARGE POP GROUPS

When it comes to the size of pop groups the word ‘small’ doesn’t seem to exist in Korean vocabulary. With the ever popular girls group Girls’ Generation (소녀시대) having nine members and the boy band Super Junior (슈퍼주니어) having twelve. The example below features the twelve member group EXO (엑소) and their hit ‘Growl’ which, even though it was shot in just one take has an awe inspiring 31 million hits on youtube.

EXO – Growl MV

 

2. CATCHY TUNES

The world of Korean pop is overflowing with catchy tunes. This one from the group Wonder Girls (원더걸스) is a classic from as far back as 2007 (that’s a long time ago in K-pop years), full of everything a great video needs..super heroes, flashers and funky dance moves.

Wonder Girls -Tell Me MV

 

3. SEXY DANCE MOVES

Ok ok..the horse dance in ‘Gangnam Style’ may not be the sexiest but believe it or not the hall of K-pop fame is full of them. This music video by 4Minute (포미닛) girl group member HyunA (현아) and BEAST (비스트)  member Hyunseung (장현승) is one of my favourites.

HyunA and Hyunseung – Troublemaker MV.

 

4. HIGH VALUE PRODUCTION

When it comes to high quality music videos nothing beats Korean pop. This music video is of Big Bang (빅뱅)’s ‘Fantastic Baby’ , one of the most popular K-pop groups of all time, winning the “Best Worldwide Act” award at the 2011 MTV Europe Music Awards. This video alone has had over 100 million hits on youtube and is definitely worth a watch..

Big Bang – Fantastic Baby MV

 

5. CRAZY PLOTS

And of course Korean pop culture wouldn’t be Korean pop culture without mind-blowing plots and tear-jerking ballads. Beneath all of the glamour, beautiful tunes and gorgeous stars there is often a sad story waiting to break out and force you to reach for the tissues. This music video is from the Queens of ballads Davichi (다비치).

Davichi – Don’t Say Goodbye MV

There, that’s it. I hope this blog post has given you the confidence to explore K-pop and realise its true klout in the world of global pop music especially on the youtube scene. Even if it hasn’t gone that far, you’ll now realise that there is more to K-pop than seeing an estranged older relative doing the horse dance at a family disco. At least be thankful for that!

Ben White joined Future Media team in 2013 and has plagued us with his obsession for Korean pop music ever since. After discovering his love from first watching the Pops in Seoul television show over seven years ago Ben is determined to convince the western world of the allure of the K-pop brand.

 

Review of Mobile Convention Brussels 2013 Marketing and Mpayments

As we mentioned in our last blog post, on November 5th we sent two members of our team to the Mobile Convention Brussels. Our representatives went to the Marketing & MPayments stream which focused on mobile marketing and advertising in addition to mobile payments.

To provide you with the full “Mobile Convention Brussels Experience” we have summarized the conference in relation to the three main themes that were covered across the talks:
(1) The shift to mobile leading in digital marketing
(2) Mobile as a social contributor
(3) Importance of companies adapting to the changing digital environment

The first speaker to grace the stage was Oscar Fernandez, General Manager of Spain’s M.M.A (Mobile Marketing Association) and CEO of his own company, Muchomove. Oscar went on to explain his belief that mobile has enabled an irrevocable change in consumer behaviour leading to a heightened awareness in conjunction with higher expectations. In relation to Google and their strategy, he highlighted that in today’s society there was a need to think mobile as the world is constantly connected. So what do we feel has fuelled mobile’s rise? Oscar drew light on how he believed social media has offered a catalyst for change, enabling and encouraging mobile to be utilized on a daily basis. To round off the presentation he offered the audience examples of where mobile had truly revolutionised the internet with reference to the amplification of customer review sites and loyalty systems.

Following Oscar’s presentation was Renate Nyborg-Bartlett. She spoke about her company, Pleo, which was created to address the common problems companies face in this new mobile-era by providing them with comprehensive solutions. The reason for creating such a company, as Renate explained in her presentation, is because the “mobile internet is going to disrupt business models all over again.” “Digital users are shifting from desktop to mobile first or even mobile only.” She concluded that “mobile is fast becoming the glue that binds all our actions: online and offline.”

Renate Nyborg-Bartlett’s presentation

Monetizing mobile payments was the topic of conversation presented to us by Ainsley Ward of Clear2Pay; a payment solutions consultancy. Following the theme of companies needing to adapt, Ainsley shared a message of the pitfalls of foolishly approaching mobile payments, Painting a picture of a world full of failed high profile finance and communication relationship initiatives. Ainsley drew our attention to the naivety of banks and the realisation that there was less money in mobile payments than first thought. In hindsight, he was able to address the issues that banks faced and how companies needed to react if they were to make the most out of mobile payments. If there was anything to be learnt from what Ainsley said, it was that data and information was key to the success of mobile payments, something which the banks understood but did not know how to solve. Ultimately, this need for a social understanding was something that was carried across into Dan’s presentation.

Ainsley Ward’s presentation.

Dan Armstrong from Takashi Mobile, spoke about how eCommerce has changed over the years, particularly in regards to mobile payments (also known as “MPayments”). He explained that a customers trust is key and without it, no company can succeed in business these days. This is a problem when it comes to MPayments because it has yet to be a trusted method of transaction by consumers. He explained that NFC doesn’t work well for mobile payments from the customer’s point of view. He explained that the way we thought mobile would turn out was very different.

Dan Armstrong’s presentation.

The next speaker was Mark Brill, lead partner at Brand Emotivity and Senior Lecturer in our Future Media course. The main focus of his presentation was the importance of creativity and innovation in mobile. He explained that unless we are solving consumer problems, mobile strategies will never work. To support his argument, he asked everyone what branded apps they have on their mobile devices. His point was that a lot of brands have created apps, but for all the wrong reasons. If the app doesn’t solve a consumer problem, it is an ineffective mobile strategy. For this reason, companies need to start focusing on the people, not technology!

Mark Brill’s presentation.

Next up was Matthias Vermiere to discuss mobile and interactive installations. His presentation consisted of various case studies to demonstrate the 3 areas his company focuses on:
1. Connected Apps (CMS & CRM connected, mCommerce, tools & services, B2B, sales…);
2. Advergames (high quality, mostly single level, games providing an unique brand experience);
3. Interactive Installations (installations with a mobile device at the heart, mostly connected for CRM/sales objectives).
Matthias’ presentation covered varying ways consumers can interact socially through mobile, it also drew on the variety and flexibility within mobile marketing.

Mattais Vermiere’s presentation.

Quintin Schevernets, CEO of Layar, spoke about connecting the physical world and the digital world using augmented reality (AR). According to Quintin, Layar’s mission is “to connect the physical and the digital world to make life easier and more meaningful”. To do this, he claims that with AR, marketeers can re-think print in a number of ways:
1) Print becomes the start of a multimedia experience;
2) Print becomes the start of a sales funnel; and
3) Print becomes the start of a whole new interactive experience.
In this way, he emphasised the need for print companies to evolve to meet the demands of a digitally conscious society and the way Layar could aid that process.

As a jury member of Mobile Lions Cannes 2013 and Head of Digital Arts at TBWA Brussels, Xavier was well suited to leading us through the best and worst cases of mobile campaigns presented as part of the competition. Firstly he explained that what he considered mobile for the category, was not merely limited to a device, and could be found anywhere. This was demonstrated through truly inspiring award winning case studies which dealt very much with the social impact mobile was making. A particular favourite was SMART textbooks, which was able to bypass the smartphone and provide students from impoverished background with traditional sim cards that contained working textbooks. It was liveable, relevant and made a significant difference to people’s lives. It also emphasised the ability for mobile to be a social contributor without the need to advance technology.

Following on with the social engagement theme was Kris Hoet, Head of Digital and a Change Architect at Duval Gullaume. His presentation focused on the question of how to make the mobile phone a social object again. He challenged the nature of mobile, arguing that to make truly wonderful mobile content you had to recreate a social process.

Kris Hoet’s presentation.

The last speaker of the day was Bart Van de Vel from Facebook. He explained that companies need to think differently about how they work on Facebook because social should not be the objective. According to him, the “secret” to working with Facebook really, really well is to (1) define real business objectives, (2) create amazing content for News Feeds, and (3) make sure a ton of people see your content. So how does this relate to mobile? Well, while Facebook started as a website, it is becoming increasingly more mobile. According to him, Facebook is now a mobile company first and foremost, meaning that content companies share should be tailored with a mobile audience in mind.

All in all, the event shed some light on the common issues that exist in mobile today, particularly in regards to marketing and payments. We learnt about the inevitable shift to mobile, and how businesses had to adapt to cope. Inconjunction with this, the need to discovery and understand mobile as a social benefit to make the most of it.

If you are someone who wants to know what is going on in the mobile, we highly recommend going to Mobile Convention Brussels next year, or attend the original convention that is held annually in Amsterdam. If you want to see some of the other presentations from the conference, you can access them here on SlideShare.

Mobile Convention Brussels (MCB): Your chance to discover the mobile landscape (along with moules frites and chocolate).

Mobile Convention Brussels (MCB):
Your chance to discover the mobile landscape (along with moules frites and chocolate).

Why should we care about mobile?
The landscape is a rapidly changing one in technology and user behaviour. This creates both opportunities and challenges for brands. In this fast paced world, how do business keep up with these changes; and for that matter, as students, what is the best way for us to learn? Mobile Convention Brussels (MCB) offers the chance to understand and apply innovative mobile. And who best to learn from than veterans of the digital age?

With this in mind, two students from the Future Media team will be going to MCB on November 5th. After the success of 4 years of Mobile Convention Amsterdam, MCB has taken the show to Brussels and we couldn’t miss this big opportunity to get involved. Here at Future Media we believe mobile is now and the future, and who best to hear about this than from pioneering brands and digital companies such as Facebook, Microsoft and Layar, amongst others?

So what can you get from this event?
At MCB, attendee’s will hear from a range of speakers and attend workshops focusing on how mobile plays a role in marketing, payment, and service. Along with presentations from experts and innovators covering a range of industries, attendees will also have some excellent networking opportunities. Meeting other like-minded people is often as useful as the formal presentations. Coming from the UK, it is always good to hear a more European view on the potential of the mobile channel. For more information and for a full list of keynote speakers, visit http://www.mobileconventionbrussels.be/speakers.

How can you get involved?
If this sounds like the event for you, order tickets now while there is still time! We want to see you!

To order tickets visit:
http://www.mobileconventionbrussels.be/tickets

For those of you unable to make it, you can still stay informed about the conference via our twitter updates @myfuturemedia and blog posts on this site. Don’t feel scared to drop us a line to send us your thoughts about mobile and any questions that you want answered.
For further details visit the conference website here:
http://www.mobileconventionbrussels.be/

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