The CF, or commercial film, highlights one of the big differences between American and Korean pop music. Whereas American pop stars could be seen as sell outs for endorsing a brand, in Korean pop the amount of endorsements one accumulates actually shows if an idol has made it. While American and Korean pop have many similarities, a more commercial-weary western audience wants at least the illusion of their pop idol being completely authentic. Spared that illusion, Korean CF’s have more versatility to be audacious. Just these past few weeks, we’ve seen four very different CF’s that incorporate idols in different ways.
Sprite in Korea usually goes for steamy commercials like Clara’s ridiculous CF, so it should be no shock that they gave us more of the same here. What is surprising is that their latest CF stars Suzy from Miss A. As she’s gotten older, the “Nation’s First Love” has shown a more mature side of herself, and has so many endorsement deals that she’s also been known, as of late, as the “CF Queen.” But in this short clip we’re seeing a whole new level of sexiness that might just be a precursor of a bigger change for the megastar.
Though intriguing, this CF doesn’t exactly make us thirsty. If anything, the sight of the sticky soda splashing on everyone makes us feel a bit dirty. But maybe, considering Suzy’s sexiness, that’s the point?
NS Yoon G’s “Give it to Me”
We’re all for NS Yoon G and think she’s an amazing talent. We’re even all for her being overpowering with her sexiness. But the slapstick and horndog humor, reminiscent of what we’ve seen from SNL Korea, is pretty basic and really shoots for the lowest common denominator. Of course, it’s a CF, but U+ LTE8 could have done more with NS Yoon G besides use her as a Sistar substitute. Just look at their G-Dragon CF!
G-Dragon's "8llow Me Song"
See? Isn’t it much better? U+ LTE8 must be having a big push for their products to utilize all these big stars at once. Still, they allow G-Dragon an opportunity to produce his own song for the CF, which he might have done on his lunch break, but still. This almost looks like a MV teaser with G-Dragon in both military attire and angelic white. “It’s a revolution. Follow me.” This CF is a call for rebellion. With the LTE8, G-Dragon makes you believe that you can change the world.
Short but sweet, this CF succeeds where LTE8’s NS Yoon G’s CF stumbles: It’s original. It’s also very catchy, with it’s practically subliminal, “Follow, follow, follow me.” G-Dragon commands us in this CF. And, really, he’s a genius, so why wouldn’t you want to follow him?
Orange Caramel’s “Abing Abing”
Just read the lyrics for this Baskin Robbins CF (1theK has English captions): “My mom must be an alien. She never gets hot. What’s her secret? Is it ice cream? Maybe she eats it behind my back.” With “Abing Abing” Orange Caramel easily has one of the most sophisticated CF’s in recent memory. The video incorporates Orange Caramel’s trademark quirkiness, crazy costumes, strange expressions, and an odd obsession with food. It's so good, in fact, that we almost thought it was a comeback that we somehow hadn’t heard about. Having the CF on the 1theK Youtube channel beside other MV’s helped in fooling us. But surely this is the CF done right?
“Abing Abing” is a fun summer song with it’s own choreography that makes us wish we’d see a live performance of the song. Maybe some lucky fans will see a performance outside a Baskin Robbins in Seoul. “Abing Abing” has truly taken CF’s to another level by blurring the line between commercial and art. For the cynics out there, blurring that line could be cause for concern: will all our idols turn into walking advertisements? Probably not. And for those of us who are resigned to a life filled with ads, watching Orange Caramel sell us ice cream is a welcome (and surprisingly fun!) change.