Commentary

‘Hey, stob it!’: Do not use BTS

Why use one of the world's hottest names for political gimmickry?
In 2020, Big Hit Entertainment won trademark lawsuit

BTS built their name, craft and global following over more than seven years. (Photo from BTS official FB)
BTS built their name, craft and global following over more than seven years. (Photo from BTS official FB)

“Hey, stob it! S-T-O-B, I-T!”

If you’re ARMY—the collective name for fans of global phenomenon BTS—you know what I mean when I say “Stob it!”

But for sure, the seven lawmakers led by former House Speaker and Taguig Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano do not know what “stob it” means. Anyway, we also do not want them learning our exclusive BTSxARMY language, especially if they show no respect for the name Bangtan Sonyeondan.

On the night of January 12, a Tuesday (sacrosant for fans because it is Run BTS! night) Rappler released a bombshell that shook Filipino ARMYs.

In the House of Representatives, Cayetano, Mike Defensor, Luis Raymund “LRay” Villafuerte, Dan Fernandez, Raneo Abu, Jose Antonio Sy-Alvarado, and Fredenil Castro have named their recently-formed group “BTS sa Kongreso” (BTS in Congress).

They’re supposed to be a new “independent majority” bloc in the House that Alan Peter lost last year to Lord Allan Velasco, now the Speaker.

They said that as “BTS sa Kongreso,” they support President Duterte and his policies, being part of the majority bloc. But, as Rappler reported, they will be “critical of certain legislation being pushed under Velasco.”

Lord (I’m talking to the Creator of Heaven and Earth), I am confused and appalled.

Except for the fact that there are seven of them, Alan Peter and crew didn’t tell Rappler why they chose to name themselves “BTS sa Kongreso.”

Meanwhile, I smell a lawsuit coming all the way from South Korea.

Seems to me Alan Peter et al are unaware that Big Hit Entertainment, BTS’ label, has registered the trademark “BTS.”

In February 2020, Big Hit won a lawsuit against a cosmetics company that used “BTS” on its beauty products. Inquirer/Korea News Herald/Asia News Network reported that time that South Korea’s intellectual property tribunal said in its ruling that “the act constitutes an unfair use of a trademark intended to capitalize on BTS’ worldwide popularity.”

Emphasis on “capitalize on BTS’ worldwide popularity.” What else is the reason for these congressmen to use the name “BTS sa Kongreso” but to advance their political agenda by riding on BTS’ popularity? The BTS name has global recall. It resonates with and is adored by millions the world over.

I doubt if these politicians know Bangtan’s discography or their stage and real names. I am fairly certain they could not tell the seven BTS members apart from each other if their political survival depended on it. For sure, they do not know—without office staffers to help them—what BTS stands for literally and figuratively.

I already reported these seven lawmakers in an email to Big Hit for misusing BTS’ name. Enraged Filipino ARMYs have done the same and are sharing email templates on social media to encourage others to report the seven to Big Hit. Our fandom is called ARMY for a reason. We protect BTS.

More often than not, Big Hit takes action. I’ll patiently wait for the day when Big Hit sends out its notice: “Hello. This is Big Hit Entertainment. Regarding the unauthorized use of artist imagery and trademark…”

Alexa, play Not Today.

This is no trivial matter—the lawmakers’ flippant and unauthorized use of BTS’ name simply because it is the most popular name in the world right now.

BTS is a name that seven young South Korean artists and their management painstakingly built for over seven years through HONEST work and dedication to their craft. They fought hard for their place in the Korean entertainment industry, and then in the Western music industry, by writing and producing music that meant something to them and to their fans. This is why each song is special and personal. They never capitulated to ruthless competition for money or fame.

RM, Jin, Suga, J-Hope, Jimin, V, and Jungkook are young but they are wise beyond their years. It is their decency, genuineness, humility, hard work, persistence, and sharp wit that made them one of the biggest bands in the world. They are global superstars—and their values remain intact.

Respect their name.

These seven politicians must be thinking it was a stroke of genius, cute, and charming to name themselves “BTS sa Kongreso.” But do not use BTS for clout  and gimmickry if you’re not ready for the consequences.

Google “Suga 93” and “518-062”.

About author

Articles

Nikko Dizon worked as a journalist specializing in security and political issues for nearly two decades until the pandemic changed her life plans almost overnight. She now works in the fintech industry, happily discovering what an exciting world it is. But nothing will match her fascination with the Korean Wave in general and in particular, South Korean mega-group, BTS, and actor Ji Chang Wook. 
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