Lately, a lot of i-JAMs kept on complaining all around Twitter about the “lack of fashion/clothing” that JO1 has whenever they do guestings or perform lives on big events. The answer is quite obvious, actually. This is for promotions of their new single and/or album, and promotion periods of these new releases often lasts for about 3 months: first month for pre-release promotions, second month for just-released promotions, and third month for post-release promotions. Release of new singles/albums also mean introducing a brand-new concept that coincides with these new releases. Their CD covers, their photo shoots, and all other advertising material will have everything matched: the single/album, the concept of the single/album, and the visuals that coincide with the concept.
This doesn’t just apply to JO1, but it applies to all J-POP artists, both soloists AND groups. Johnny’s promote this way. EBiDAN groups promote this way as well. Even chika idols 1 promote the same way as well.
The psychology behind this is to have the curious, especially if they are not fans, to get the image visual of the new single/album concept to get imprinted in their minds. It communicates with their minds that the artists that you see on those CD covers and posters do exist in real life. It would make you get hooked into the group altogether and not just for the new release, making you remember them by the way you saw them on advertisements and would make you become curious a lot more about them even right after the end of the promotional period.
Fans of the promoting group would immediately recognize their oshis right away. However, these artists and groups don’t just focus their promotions towards their own fans, but they also want to target the general public as well. One glance from a fan would immediately recognize their oshi. But for non-fans, it would take time for them to notice the said artists who are trying to capture their attention.
One time of seeing these artists is not going to guarantee that these non-fans would remember them the next time they see them again. It makes it a lot harder when that next time that they see the same person with a different outfit but don’t realize that it’s actually the same person from before. With too many different outfits all the time during promotion period, it would also be harder for non-fans to become interested in them. With that happening, it won’t help the idol/artist and the fanbase from spreading awareness of the new releases and the idol/artists’ presence and existence in Japanese entertainment.
Using the same outfits from their latest release is not because “the agency can’t afford to have new outfits.” Far from it. It’s all because of the visuals, sound, and concept united together can imprint right in an individual’s minds psychologically. The next time that non-fan sees them and sees them in a familiar outfit from the last time, they’ll immediately recognize that person.
Remember, it’s kind of like with music. You may not like the song the first time you hear it. But as you continue hearing that song, soon you’ll ended up liking it, up to the point where you end up obsessing with the song moments later. It’s the same with the visuals and concept behind the song you’re listening. You become so obsessed with the song that you now start to wonder who the person (or people) behind the voices you hear from that song. You need to look at them, find them, and you see their presence through posters, billboard ads, and most of all, the MV that the song is featured. You check out every single detail to the point that you start to recognize all of the details you’ve checked out from the outfit, from the atmosphere to the dances and voices to the fashion they wear in every scene, and you become so obsessed with the small details that you start to get tempted into seeing the idol/artist performing this addicting song in public, right before your eyes.
You keep an eye on the TV schedules, radio appearances, and, when the single/album release comes out, you start to check out their schedules to see when and where their hi-touch event tours are going to be. You want to be there. You want to see them live, on stage, looking hot like the way you see them from the ads, CD covers, and the MVs
By the time the promotional period ends, artists will continue to wear them when invited to TV guesting and live events until they enter the pre- promotion month of their next single/album release. Once that pre- release month for the next release begins, those same outfits will no longer exist, and new outfits for the new single/album will be used instead.
Let’s take a closer look at JO1’s debut single, PROTOSTAR, and check out the outfits that the members wore throughout the promotion period of their debut release:
TYPE A CD Cover
Type B CD Cover
Type C/Normal CD Cover
That one extra khaki outfit from the Mugendai/Infinity MV…
Oh yeah, there’s also the La Pa Pa Pam performance video too!
Total outfit styles for the PROTOSTAR Promotion Period: 5
For a newly-debuted group, five outfits to showcase PROTOSTAR is quite a lot. The average number of outfit styles that an idol/artist/group is about two outfits (3 if they also have an MV or a performance video of one of the couplings). During live appearances, magazine photoshoots, 2 and TV guestings, because there are 5 outfits altogether, they rotate the outfits per live guesting, photo shoot, or any live event that would require them to be present in front of the public eye.
Fans will easily remember them at one point, but non-fans who are new to them may not be convinced in seeing these idols/artists for the first time, therefore, idols/artists wear the same outfits they used from the PROTOSTAR promos in rotation, not just to promote themselves, but to promote the single.
The only time that idols/artists don’t wear outfits derived from their current release is when they are guesting in some events and are not required to perform their song to promote. 3 For instance, three of the 11 members made a radio show guest, 3 more of the 11 members appeared in a children’s talk show, not just to promote the song, but to also to play and join the show’s activities. 4
I hope this helps the explanation why J-Pop artists and groups continue to use the same outfits from their current release promos when they make guestings and similar events. It’s not because their agencies are being “frugal” 5 that they need to recycle the outfits. It’s all because it’s a hidden marketing psychology tactic targeting the general public.
Just keep this in mind: Japan is the second largest music industry in the world, and one contributing factor to this is because of their clever and (sometimes) sneaky marketing system.
- underground idols
- depends on the magazine also…
- An example could be, the show invited the group there, simply because they want the group to be there, not necessarily just to promote and talk about their current release and end their segment there.
- Pokenchi – a Pokemon-themed children’s variety show in which Ren Kawashiri, Ruki Shiroiwa, and Shosei Ohira made their guest appearances.
- In general though, Japanese are frugal and simple, and are very careful with the money they spend on…