Japan lost its right to military power after World War II, instead of military might, Japan introduced to the rest of the world of its unique but attractive culture by being the first in Asia to develop a content industry, thus developed a strong Soft Power. The development of this Japanese trend led to the birth of “Japanophiles”, and almost every country have them. The Japanese “Anime” Animations are known throughout the world, and more recently the Japanese Popular Music, J-Pop, are shining brighter than ever on the international stage.
Following the success of Japan, South Korea presented its own Popular Music groups, with marketing strategies similar yet different to Japan’s. South Korea first created its own addictive TV drama series, thus started the “Korean Wave”. Then from the TV drama series, the “Yong-sama” idols were marketed as the core product attraction for the audiences to fall in love with, leaving strong impressions among fans.
South Korean idol group’s formation and marketing strategy began by absorbing successful business models from varies countries, adding years of trials and errors, eventually developed their own business structure. Beyond the idols themselves, the fans also evolved their own “fans culture” and became internationally famous for it.
On one side, Japan’s idol culture adopts to the change of time, started with the “Komuro Family”, then the “Johnny’s”, all gained a lot of popularity around Asia. However, nothing in the past could compare to the huge boom created by the “AKB48”. AKB48 started with heavy skepticism due to its revolutionary marketing strategy, but the number of fans proved other-wise. Soon everyone knows who the AKB48 is, and similar success was recreated with sister idol groups using the same business model. The outrageous prosperity brought by the AKB48 was and is still much discussed about, with many professionals trying to dissect and analyze the how and why with existing economic theories and explanations.
On the other side, one of South Korea’s top Idol Agency, SM Entertainment, also forged a multi-girl idol group called “Girl’s Generation”. Similar to AKB48, Girl’s Generation’s formation and marketing strategy was never seen before in South Korea, but their grand success is undeniable. “GEE” was one of Girl’s Generation’s biggest popular hits, with high repetition, catchy chorus, and a dance routine that anyone could learn, every corner of Asia was impersonating Girl’s Generation.
The research of this thesis will take the two popular idol bands, AKB48 and Girl’s Generation, break down their marketing strategies, history background, and each of their strength generated by oversea development. The goal is to bring business inspiration for the Taiwanese entertainment industry. In the past, Taiwan was able to bring a “Taiwan Wave” in other Asian countries with TV Drama series, but no music artists, or any other content factors, have yet to achieve the same level of popularity generated by Japan or Korea. Hopefully this thesis will bring new insight and vision to Taiwan’s content industry, and generate a strong Soft Power.