Smart vs Bench: Filipino brands allegedly 'clash landing' over Hyun Bin

Deni Rose M. Afinidad-Bernardo - Philstar.com
Smart vs Bench: Filipino brands allegedly 'clash landing' over Hyun Bin
From left: Hyun Bin starring in a Smart ad campaign; teaser of his upcoming Bench endorsement
Smart Communications / Released; Bench via Instagram, screenshot

MANILA, Philippines — Two giant Filipino brands, Smart Communications and Bench, are allegedly on a tug-of-war over “Crash Landing on You” star Hyun Bin, insider sources told Philstar.com.

According to the sources, the telecommunications company got to the South Korean star first, sealing the deal with Captain Ri, as he is known in “CLOY,” in the middle of the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) crisis.

Related: Smart move: Telco player explains why it 'crash-landed' on Hyun Bin as endorser

But what was supposed to be a Philippine first for Hyun Bin and Smart turned awry when Bench released a teaser announcing that they are also getting the Korean superstar as an ambassador. Hence, the two brands are now on a race on who can make Hyun Bin "crash-land" to the Philippines first.

While in recent years, Bench was in tight competition with fellow clothing brand Penshoppe in signing international stars, particularly South Korean artists, this year, Bench goes head-to-head with Smart, trying to “out-smart” the telco player by revealing Hyun Bin’s teaser first with a cryptic Instagram post that said, “Your crush, landing soon,” on early May 27.

This sent Smart into jitters, according to sources, prompting the company to unleash its own “Giga RiVeal” video teaser and acquiring the services of former Penshoppe agency PublicityAsia to ensure that their campaign does not get swamped by Bench in the process.

Chief Executive Officer Manny Pangilinan followed up the video teaser with a Twitter confirmation: “Hyun Bin it is.” 

Captain Ri’s Smart TV commercial was also leaked last Friday, so sources said the telco giant had to release the full video later that day, ahead of its supposed official launch today, June 1.

In today’s webinar, Smart officials were asked to react to Hyun Bin’s endorsement of Bench, to which they said: “It wasn’t much of a surprise to us because Hyun Bin is one of today's biggest Asian celebrities.”

As soon as safety and travel restrictions allow, both brands promised to bring Hyun Bin to the Philippines — using a Smart phone and clad in Bench clothes, most likely.

Related: Insider sources confirm: Hyun Bin to crash land in Philippines soon

But for the actor’s fans, it is not a question of Smart or Bench, but is it Son Ye-Jin (his “CLOY” co-star) or ex-girlfriend Song Hye Kyo who would finally crash-land on his heart?


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