Big Bang and The North Face was an unlikely yet intriguing partnership from the beginning. The North Face is an American-based company which sell the likes of tents, sleeping bags, and outdoor clothing and footwear to terribly brave people who do lots of tiring things in the name of endurance sports. The company caters directly to “wilderness chic” or the aforementioned people who are also quite fashionable. Yep, even half-way up a mountain there are some clothes you shouldn’t be seen dead in, trust me when I say hikers can be vicious in this area. The North Face is definitely one of the very coolest outdoor clothing brands and sponsors athletes such as Swedish snowboarder Jonah Olofsson .
So it makes sense that Big Bang, the epitome of cool, would join forces with The North Face. Being a well-established Western brand it will only strengthen their popularity over in the ROK and using such an unlikely area of clothing may bring in a new strain of fans. On a recent and fairly strenuous dog walk, I had a listen to Big Bang–some of their Alive tracks and hits like “Lies” and “Love Song”– which are surprisingly good to hike to. Try it.
The first MV they released for The North Face campaign six months ago was for a song called, “The North Face.” Although short and not the most ground-breaking song they have ever released, the chorus was surprisingly catchy. The MV itself features a behind the scenes of what must be one of the more challenging photoshoots Big Bang, if not any K-pop group, has ever done. The hiking seemed fairly tame, but the trek up the mountain can’t have been easy, even if years of dancing meant high stamina. Despite an absent Daesung the MV conveyed a shared sense of adventure and comraderie, especially the outtakes at the end. Can I just mention how good they looked?
This new song “Never Stop Dreaming” plays off the concept of the previous song, which was “never stop exploring.” While “The North Face” encouraged all generations to take up new physical challenges, this prompts young people to follow their dreams. The song is even less creative then the previous, in fact I’ll wager they are written by the same person. GD’s first rap is taken from “Fantastic Baby” for goodness sake. But the song isn’t really the focus of the campaign, it’s clearly a CF song and it works as a background to the MV.
There is an actual plot in this MV, and even better we get Daesung this time around. The MV splits between the boys leaving posters and stickers emblazoned simply with the word “Dream” and the woes of various disillusioned youths. But worry not, you various disillusioned youths, for help is at hand. Seeing these helpful messages are just the ticket to remind young people to follow their hearts…which conveniently lead them to a small Big Bang concert. Most of the MV is Big Bang running around a surprisingly litter-free and “Blue”/”Bad Boy”-esque urban environment; a contrast to the lush green of New Zealand where they filmed “The North Face.” Honestly a lot of the video feels like a Running Man teaser sponsored by The North Face. The lighting is sunny without being overwhelming and the entire shooting is more stylised than the simplicity of “The North Face.”
This fit wells with the new clothing the boys sport – lighter jackets, backpacks and running shoes in bright primary colours. Their hair is also more edgy, with GD’s hair pushing a mohawk and T.O.P. sporting a hairdo between pale blue and black. Daesung is still rockin’ the platinum blonde, and Seungri continues to emulate Spock. The whole MV feels closer to the sort of thing Big Bang is better known for, although there was something brilliant about seeing them fall over in the snow.
I’ve been really impressed with the production of these MVs, “Never Stop Dreaming” in particular, because while a huge budget always helps, this MV is still better than most serious K-pop MVs released–if only a Western version would be released. A group of talented, good-looking young men running around being inspirational in windcheaters, I don’t know about America, but I think Europe would eat that up.
What’s your opinion, worth the hype or just another over-complicated CF?