[Letters] Why ‘Gangnam Style’ parody videos are feverishAmerica’s CBS reported last Wednesday that a music video showdown has been held between the West Point Military Academy and the U.S. Navy Academy in an article entitled “West Point Military Academy accepts ‘Gangnam Style’ challenge.”
According to the Korean Wave Research Institute, the video “Gangnam Style - West Point” made by the cadets, whose hit count has surpassed 925,000 views after only four days, is taking center stage in the U.S. press. Between West Point’s 1,740 PR videos on YouTube, only “Gangnam Style” has achieved any major effect in terms of publicity, as West Point’s other videos have only garnered between 1,000 to 27,000 views each.
The U.S. Navy Academy’s “Gangnam Style” parody video, posted two weeks before “Gangnam Style - West Point,” has attracted significant publicity, currently with over 5.3 million views on YouTube. However, the U.S. Air Force Academy’s parody has been the least successful out of the three military academies with only 49,817 views.
The West Point video also encourages enlistment (“Go Army”) and also makes light of the rivalry with the Navy Academy (“Beat Navy”).
“Gangnam Style” begins yet another music video duel between West Point and the Navy Academy after the parody video battle about the U.S. presidential candidates Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama.
“Gangnam Style” currently has over 402 million views on YouTube and has entered into ninth place on the “Most Watched Videos” list. The view count of the “Gangnam Style” music video is rising by 10 million views per day and the daily view count of all videos related to “Gangnam Style” is approaching 30 million. In addition, roughly 5,000 videos related to “Gangnam Style” are being uploaded on a daily basis to YouTube and over 8,000 videos have been uploaded on China’s video sharing site, Youku.
So, why has the making of “Gangnam Style” parody videos become so feverish on a worldwide basis? I think that it comes down to the commercial success of the parody videos. Well-made “Gangnam Style parody videos are having unimaginable PR success and those working in the PR departments of universities, businesses and organizations worldwide can’t help but be tempted by the potential commercial success of such a video comparative with the investment made in its production.
The video of Psy’s appearance on NBC’s Ellen Show is the second-most-watched video amongst the 148 on Ellen’s YouTube channel, with 32 million views (behind Nicki Minaj’s video with 47 million views published last November), while a video titled “Gangnam Style Mom and Son,” featuring the appearance on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” by a Korean-American mother and son, has recorded over 12 million views and occupies 7th position.
Also, a video targeting commercial publicity made by the Thai low-cost carrier Nok Airlines has recorded 11 million views, and the hit count of Oregon State University’s parody video has climbed to over five million views, giving significant publicity to a school in a state whose population is only 3.8 million people. This is the sort of situation where Psy has the talent, but the parodies are taking all the cash.
In such circumstances, “Gangnam Style” parody videos are being created on an exponential scale, be they for commercial or non-commericial purposes alike. My colleague and researcher Lee Su-na noted that the “making of parodies of Carly Rae Jepsen’s ‘Call Me Maybe’ was a craze but nothing compared to that of ‘Gangnam Style,’?” and that the “so-called ‘Gangnam Style parody phenomenon’ was the very first and largest of its kind in the world.”
by Han Koo-hyun Director of the Korean Wave Research Institute