Hyun Bin crash lands into Smart

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WHEN word that South Korean actor Hyun Bin was going to be the face of Smart Communications and clothing brand Bench dropped last week, Filipinos on social media lost their minds. And now that the Smart campaign has officially been launched, it became apparent that not even a pandemic can stop the Crash Landing on You star from gracing our screens (though he can’t be here physically because of travel restrictions).

“Signing him up for our Smart Giga Life and Smart Simple Ako and the impact he’s had — not just talking about the message effectively but actually delighting and making our customers and subscribers happy during these times actually makes him a very, very priceless investment,” Jane J. Basas, Smart’s SVP and head of consumer wireless business, said in a launch on June 1, via Facebook Live.

Hyun Bin first rose to prominence in 2005 when he starred in the Korean romantic-comedy drama series My Name is Kim Sam-soon, which was followed in 2010 by romantic-fantasy drama series Secret Garden. But arguably, his popularity truly soared after playing Captain Ri Jeong Hyeok, a North Korean soldier who falls in love with a South Korean woman in Netflix’s Crash Landing On You which aired from 2019 to 2020. The show has consistently been at the top of or in the Top 10 of Netflix’ trending shows in the Philippines list.

Last week, it was hinted, and then announced, that Smart had tapped him as its newest endorser as did Bench.

Ms. Basas said it didn’t come as a surprise that Bench also got Hyun Bin as its endorser because he is “one of the biggest Asian celebrities” and Bench has had experience getting South Korean endorsers in the past, like Ji Chang-wook , Lee Min-ho, and Park Seo Joon.

“I guess we’re just lucky from a timing standpoint that we were able to launch the campaign first,” she said.

Ms. Basas said the campaign was scheduled to launch in June and it pushed through even though they did have to postpone Hyun Bin’s visit to the Philippines for the launch event. She did assure that he will be coming to the country as soon as it is safe to do so.

The 37-year-old actor will be Smart’s endorser for an entire year, and has committed to fly to the country at least once and be part of Smart’s event on three occasions. Although Smart will not disclose the cost of the advertising deal, Ms. Basas said getting the VAST Entertainment superstar is a “priceless investment” for the telco.

The Smart TVC was shot entirely in South Korea in May, and because of the pandemic, none of the Smart executives were able to fly to Seoul and monitor the production on-site. But they did monitor via multiple video conferences.

“It was very easy [working with Hyun Bin], he was very game, and his professionalism and passion for his work came through,” Alfredo S. Panlilio, CEO and President of Smart Communications and PLDT’s chief revenue officer, said in the same launch.

But what is the campaign all about? Well, it is the launch of Smart’s newest tagline, “Simple, Smart Ako,” which, according to Mr. Panlilio, “sums up our company’s approach all this time to make amazing technology available, and, more importantly, simple for every Filipino.”

“We are embracing our role as a digital lifestyle enabler that keeps innovating to make the life of our customers simpler. Now that the world becomes more and more complicated, we believe that what matters most in life are the simplest things,” Mr. Panlilio said in a statement.

The campaign also highlights the telecommunications company’s various Giga promos which offer data that can be used for streaming video content, gaming, music, or for productivity.

With Hyun Bin joining the Smart fold, Mr. Panlilio said it is likely that Smart will have more Korean endorsers in the future.

After all, as Mr. Panlilio said, “Captain Ri is lonely if he is alone.” — Zsarlene B. Chua