Late last month we wrote about Southeast Asia eCommerce site Shopee running a campaign featuring its regional brand ambassadors K-pop girl group Blackpink.
We figured that was the end of the story, but apparently, that story has legs. Or, more specifically, too much leg.
Yesterday, the Indonesian Broadcasting Commission (KPI) issued a warning to 11 domestic TV stations saying that they must pull it because it violated the norms of decency and flouted moral norms, reports the Jakarta Post.
While we thought it was a rather unimaginative piece of advertising work when we first wrote about it, calling it indecent is a whole other thing.
Have a look:
Again, not the most creative piece of advertising, strongly adhering to the “Here, smile and hold the product” script, but apparently, lack of creativity is not what ticked off the Indonesian government.
The warning from the government actually came about quite quickly following the launch of an online petition just last Friday by journalism lecturer Maimon Herawati. At the time of this writing, it had garnered more than 100,000 signatures from people calling on the KPI to crack down on the “vulgar” display of Blackpink in the Shopee ad – namely, wearing skirts that were too short in their eyes.
“A group of women wearing skimpy outfits. What kind of subconscious values do we want to instill in our children with this vulgar ad that flaunts aurat [intimate parts]? The clothes do not even cover the thighs. Movement and expression are provocative. It is really far from Pancasila [state-ideology] values,” read the petition according to a translation by Asia One.
KPI answered the call of petitioners, but they didn’t stop there – they additionally warned channels not to air footage of a Blackpink concert recorded in mid-November, saying that it too violated Indonesia’s broadcasting standards by depicting “several women singing and dancing in revealing clothing”, according to Coconuts Jakarta.
— KPI Pusat (@KPI_Pusat) December 11, 2018
Well, if they are truly firm on that stance, it’s not a stretch to say that they have implicitly banned all female K-pop groups since much of their brand DNA is built on revealing clothing.
We’ll have to wait and see how that plays out, but commission head Hardly Stefano issued a rather ominous warning for both broadcasters and brands saying that content of this kind could lead to further sanctions.
“Companies need to be careful when they’re making a commercial, that they don’t associate their product with something Indonesians see as negative,” Stefano said in a statement issued Tuesday.
According to the Jakarta Post, Stefano called on producers to adhere to “brand safety in the making of commercials and promotions, as to not evoke negative perceptions.”
“Should we find similar programs to those mentioned in the warning letter, the KPI will impose sanctions based on existing regulations,” he added.
This is too much…you can see women dressed that way in any mall in Indonesia.
While the petition has received a lot of signatures in a short amount of time, not all Indonesians agree with the conservative movement taking place across in the world’s fourth most populous nation.
“This is too much…you can see women dressed that way in any mall in Indonesia,” Disna Harvens told AFP. “It’s not vulgar at all.”
So some stupid af people in my country wanted to ban a TV ad that featured Blackpink because she claimed the girls' clothes are too provocative that kids are not supposed to see that. So she started a petition and do you know how many signed it? More than 50k Pfffttttt …..
— Han (@monbebe_tato) December 8, 2018
As expected, a wave criticism from netizens worldwide including highly-combative K-pop fans soon erupted online – with some aiming their anger at Maimon’s social media accounts.
Someone even went so far as to start another petition calling on Maimon to leave Indonesia. (At the time of writing that petition has been pulled from change.org.)
This is not the first petition launched by Maimon – there was another one last year where she called for the cancellation of a concert by K-pop girl group, SNSD.
Shopee Indonesia’s country brand manager Rezki Yanuar issued an official statement.
“It has been our main priority to put forward input from our loyal users for the company’s progress and the general comfort of our community at large, especially relating to the whole online shopping experience.
“We have learned and listened to the complaints regarding our advertisements that are often played ahead of our birthday sale campaign and we appreciate the feedback as this acts as a very useful input for our future actions. However, the aforesaid advertisement had been granted permission from the Indonesian Broadcasting Commission (KPI). We will always follow all existing regulations from every stakeholder in Indonesia and every country where we operate.
We never share your info, we only share ours.