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 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: