Community Article: How far is too far?

Here at NSK we put the call out for anyone that might be interested in writing an article for the website. The first article is courtesy of loyal community member Mage77.

As we are all aware, idol groups like to use various elements in their music videos as a means of promoting themselves to the more casual music fan. From something as basic as having the members frolicking on a beach somewhere in bikinis to concepts as complex as a high production cinematic that would be up there with most dramas in terms of quality. They create a talking point for news sites and make the average member of the public sit up and take notice.

The idea for this article came about while I was watching the PV for 4-piece off-the-wall idol group Brand-new idol Society’s (who will be referred to as BiS from this point on) latest single “My Ixxx”. I had heard about this particular PV on various news sites due to its apparently shocking content. Knowing how melodramatic the idol community can be at times I figured that this was simply another overreaction and that things were just being blown way out of proportion as usual.

What I watched was a PV that was about the quality I expected of an idol group that doesn’t have a huge production machine behind it like your AKBs and to a lesser extent Hello!Project groups. A very well edited and put together PV given the obvious budget constraints in place might I add. I tip my hat to the director and producer for making a PV that actually managed to keep my attention all the way to the end.

Did I mention that the girls are running around a forest naked? I didn’t? Well, that’s where the discussion point of this article comes in. I want to find out how far is too far for an idol group to go in order to gain exposure in this AKS dominated landscape that we find ourselves in right now.

If a company like UFA can’t even put a dent in the AKS behemoth then what hope do groups with even slimmer budgets have without resorting to questionable but headline grabbing stunts like this? The quality of your songwriting and composition could be top notch but without much needed exposure the sad fact is that your group isn’t likely to be going anywhere fast. The thought of more up and coming idol groups having to resort to tactics like this in order to gain a foothold in the industry is a rather disconcerting one. The last thing any of us want is vulnerable young girls being coerced into stunts like this by production companies desperate to make a quick buck.

I suppose I should clarify that the girls aren’t actually naked in this PV (and that they’re all of legal age). It’s all very clever camera angles and skin coloured clothes; reminiscent of AKB48’s “Ponytail to Shushu” PV in a way. Still it was enough to get me and I’m sure many others to check out their PV so this gimmick no matter how questionable certainly would appear to have paid off. One does have to question if a slightly less risque approach might have worked just as well but I suppose that’s something that we’ll just never know.

Being an idol fan who struggles to get worked up over scandals and other dramas it should come as no surprise that the contents of this PV don’t really bother me like they might the more traditionalist idol fan. BiS aren’t exactly known for putting out tame PVs either so this is very much par for the course as far this group is concerned. What does bother me is the fact that someone clearly thought that having these girls running around “naked” was a good idea to grab some cheap publicity. If that is truly what the industry has come to for smaller groups then it is a dark day indeed.

So this poses the question: “How far is too far?” when it comes to idol groups and production companies eager to get their product into an already crowded window.

I’m certainly not suggesting that any girls should be taken advantage of by shadowy production company executives but if you’re just starting out and aren’t an AKS produced group then the numbers just do not look good for you. The bottom line is that you need some kind of defining quality to your group so you can stand out from the masses of other groups trying to do the same thing as you. How far you the reader feel a group can go with this will obviously depend on your personal beliefs and values as both a person and an idol fan.

This article was written to provide you all with some food for thought on just how idol groups go about promoting their product (as well as subtly promote one of my favourite indie groups). I don’t expect anyone to agree with most or anything that I’ve said but I’d love to hear your thoughts on this because I know there’s plenty of you who follow the indie scene out there.

Watch all of BiS’s other PVs here:

@Mage77 on Twitter

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  1. this PV is weird.. but the song is not bad . but am wondring about one thing, who runs naked in te jungle ?? lol. anyway i guess this pv is just a little bit going over the edge but if it works for them why not.

  2. I like the song but I feel they could have done something a bit different with the PV. For idols I would probably say this is a little too far maybe? This PV doesn’t really bother me too much because they weren’t actually naked, however if they were, I would probably start to question if the girls felt ok doing it and then hope they weren’t pressured into doing anything they didn’t want to. Seeing as that’s not the case, I will say that even though I don’t find the PV all that interesting, I don’t think its bad or too far now I’ve given it some thought. But I don’t think I will be able to say what is truly “too far” until we’ve seen something that is too far.

    Nice article Mage77.

  3. I took the time to look at some of their other PVs and I’m loving their unique approach. The remember tatu PV was a nice comical tribute. I had a good laugh with that one. The PV that I was most impressed by was the one entitled, nerve. I love that they filmed the girls as they’re performing in various locations of the public with onlookers also filming them with their cellphones. It just does a really good job of emphasizing their indie nature. They’re doing their best without a stage or even a large audience and yet they’re able to retain their enthusiasm and passion for the performance. That’s some admirable dedication. A PV like that is low budget goodness I can get behind.

    Now, onto the topic of discussion.

    Firstly, I want to make sense of why a director would have them undress in a forest. I realize that there may be various ulterior motives for why the director had them get naked in this PV, but personally I didn’t find the nudity overly gratuitous or distasteful in any way. In concept, it makes sense for the girls to be in the nude while trudging through the forest because nature itself, by definition, means natural environment. For the girls to be fully bare is presenting themselves in the way they were born naturally and in doing so is like being “one with nature” so to speak. That’s just my take on it.

    As for whether this is a shameless grab for attention by the agency, I can’t say for sure. I don’t fault them for trying new and perhaps controversial things. Their indie nature kind of puts them at a crossroads, it’s either do or die under those circumstances. Now whether it’s going too far, I’d say it’s getting there. For some, a stunt like this is on the verge of demoralizing these girls. By not focusing on the appeal of their personalities, their singing, or their dancing, some newer audiences may end up acknowledging them as the girls who got naked in a forest and that’s horribly undermining the true beauty of their talent. At least, this is how I think some people will perceive this little controversial stunt. Personally, It was a cool and creative PV that in concept makes sense to me. In the end, was the nudity a shameless grab for attention or a visually creative direction? It’s tough for me to say, but I guess it could go both ways.

    Awesome post with a wonderful topic, Mage77. I really enjoyed reading this and in the process have gained a new idol group to follow. :D

  4. I think the PV delivers that initial moment of shock, but overall it lacks that extra visual bite and interest; yes they’re nude, but why? I’m not asking for there to be a direct answer, but I wanted to see some shape or form of what the heart of the PV is. It’s fine to make things ambiguous and foggy, but here I find myself really lost.

    It’s definitely not exploitative, and it definitely looks like an art house production, but all I see is a one-line premise and little more. It gets more interesting in the middle when they enter the lake, but it settles there and doesn’t go any further.

    People would say Heavy Rotation was shocking and maybe “going too far” when it came out, but it sparked conversation and many people took different things from it; whether it was a commentary, parody, homage, or even empowerment. People looked beyond the initial shock and tried to pick the brain of the director.

    With ‘Ixxx’, I can’t say it did the same thing. People defended its presentation, but little discussion took place about what it was about or what it meant. Being nude in nature is a common motif, but that by itself is rather one-note.

    That said, I’m liking the song because it drives the PV forward, and I’ve always been a fan of rock. The individual elements of the PV are intriguing, and despite it being less than the sum of its parts, I give it props for pushing the limit, even if that’s all it does. With all the criticism I give it, it’s impressive considering how small the group and production must have been, especially when I can recall several idol groups with bigger budgets that accomplish absolutely nothing.

    The liberal hipster in me says there shouldn’t such a thing as “too far” in any format or genre. I think idol groups can and should go “as far” as they want, regardless of whether or not I like it or not… assuming it’s not going to become commonplace.

  5. Personally I think the fake nudity ruined an otherwise good PV. Art (yes even music videos can be art sometimes) can convince me of anything if it is done in a intersting and thoughtful way. The song was nice but I didn’t really see a point to it. The whole senario seemed fake, and not in a awsome fantasy way but in a contived way…

    The paint part was cool tho.

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