AKB, Breast-feeding, and Internet

AKB48 is no stranger to expanding their brand including foods, software, clothes, and even apartments, ranging from hilarious (Minegishi virus with Kaspersky) to bizarre (CG idol Eguchi with Ice Nomi). From 7-11 to Docomo, tie-ins allow companies to bring in the wota market for special AKB perks. But this recent tie-in seems rather peculiar.

Before I elaborate, let’s discuss the elephant in the room. Yes, that is a picture of Oshima Yuko breast-feeding a baby. There’s been discussion of whether or not it’s a real photograph or if they just stuck Oshima’s head on there, but it’s really a Catch-22 type situation. If it’s real, it’s WEIRD. If it’s photoshopped, it’s JUST AS WEIRD, if not weirder. And just why does this photo exist? It’s for an online application that creates rendered pictures. Of babies. That you and an AKB member would make together. Yep.

In addition to Oshima Yuko, you can also create digital baby faces with Maeda Atsuko, Kashiwagi Yuki, Shinoda Mariko, and Watanabe Mayu. While four out of the five members are 20 years and older, Watanabe doesn’t really seem like the young-mom type at 17 years old. Fans are already talking about ways to game the system for much more important needs and questions such as: What would Kashiwagi and Mayu’s baby look like? Or Takahashi’s and Atsuko’s?

Now that we know where the picture is from, the next question is why? And the answer again, is peculiar: It’s promotional content for broadband internet service. And from what it looks like, it’s an actual AKB-branded service provider, so if someone asked you what who your provider is, you can say, “AKB provides my internet” with conviction and confidence.

And this “AKBaby” thing isn’t all they have to bring people in. There are actually a number of perks to be had if you decide to use this service. If you sign up, which is roughly 25 dollars a month, in addition to high-speed internet, you get:

-Oshimen domain e-mail address, for example: “XXXX@acchan.akb48.ne.jp”
-Special content
-Special ticket access
-Request Hour voting access
-Early access to a new re-opened AKB fanclub

I’ll take the perks, but you can keep the ‘AKBaby’ thing, thanks.

update: Their site was revamped and on it was the CM for this particular feature. Just thought you wanted to check it out in case you weren’t uncomfortable enough:

Dae

About Dae Lee

-Dae, aka Mizu -Writer, broadcaster, and podcaster on New School Kaidan

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15 comments

  1. I’m sure this isn’t available to overseas fans, especially since the main deal is the internet… but that has to make me wonder, why an AKB branded ISP?

    I’m sure the AKS empire now has quite a bit of cash, but I don’t think it has enough to build its own in-house network and datacenter, not to mention all the infrastructure needed to provide pipelines to even the niche market of bandwidth-heavy wotas. I’m sure they will be piggy-backing off of a major provider, just with their own branding and their own premium.

    The end question is still, WHY? It doesn’t make sense to me to have AKB-branded internet. Then again, Akimoto’s been making money, and shit, if people are going to hand him money because Oshima Yuko is imaginary breast-feeding a baby, then so be it.

  2. **stares at first image
    hmm…
    http://i.imgur.com/pb6E1.jpg

    **reads article
    http://imgur.com/RCP23

    The last bit came out of nowhere. I feel like I’m reading an unreleased script for an M. Night Shyamalan film. All this nonsense for an ISP? lolwut

    • I just watched the cm. So, this confirms it then. No photoshop right? They actually did this?… D:

      It’s still weird, considering the context of the ad. But, the cm itself doesn’t give off a sense of perversion. It has a more gentle, motherly feel to it. It seems like the director portrayed it in the most mature manner possible. Even so, I still think they could have done without the breastfeeding. They could have easily gotten the same message across with her just rocking the baby to sleep or hey, how about feeding the baby a bottle of formula? I hear that’s a sensible alternative to breast feeding. I don’t know, I guess they really wanted to grab people’s attention with a stunt like that. They’ve certainly got mine. So, there’s that. :l

      • Also, that baby app thing seems to work really well. It actually seemed quite natural when they meshed the physical traits together. It would be interesting to match celebrities or maybe non human characters.

      • The director definitely handled it well but it still doesn’t make it any less weird in my mind. Seems like someone just decided to go all out with the concept and I guess it paid off. It certainly got all of us talking about it.

  3. Lol wait wut. This is a internet service provider? Oh god this is so funny.

  4. Even after sleeping on it I’m still not okay with this kind of promotion. It just seems like AKS are really out to gouge AKB fans for as much money as possible now. Especially with today’s announcement of AKB stamps.

    I’m not normally one to speculate but it almost comes off as a company trying to capitalize on their product as much as possible before certain “aspects” of it change.

    I’ll stop with the conspiracy theories and go back to my corner now.

  5. While you guys are discussing the implications of an AKB ISP, I’m sitting here thinking about the insane combinations I can make with the baby maker.

    I mean the stuff they’ve been letting fans do is kind of ridiculous. First you can create your own idol and now you can create your own idol baby.

    The ISP? Well…I doubt it will work out. I mean AKS has no experience in that area…But I’m not in Japan so I can’t tell how well this will work out.

  6. I’m sorry this to me is just plain freaky and a bit wrong, that picture od Yuko makes it worse, no it’s just totally wrong!!!

    • haha, what makes it so weird is that they could have simply had her holding the baby, but they went ahead and posted an image of her breast-feeding that baby. Gee, now why would they do that…

  7. I’m coming for Sato Amina and Sumire.

  8. Of all the ways they could have advertised their ISP they decide to let us all make virtual babies. And that CM? As soon as Yuko said her line I burst out laughing. I’m also wondering if her face was animated on maybe (if that’s even possible)? So messed up.

  9. I think AKB may have finally jumped the shark with this stunt.

  10. This is some of the weirdest shit I’ve ever seen in my life in terms of promoting idols.

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