Shingo Katori as BMW Brand Friend

On April 16th, the sale of BMW’s new model SAV X2 began in Japan. At the product launch, Shingo Katori was a surprise guest and inaugurated to be BMW’s Brand Friend.

The meaning of the X2 UNFOLLOW concept is to “always carve out your own path.” By leaving his former talent agency and going independent, Shingo is breaking barriers and traveling the road not traveled, despite challenges. BMW wanted to capitalize on that.

“Shingo Katori has long worked outside of the box as a celebrity in Japan, artist, and creator. His attitude and actions perfectly match the concept of unfollow that the new X2 promotes. Unfollow is the concept of carving out your own path free from conventional wisdom. […] Mr. Shingo Katori is the right person to reflect the attitude and philosophy of the new BMW X2. And we appointed him as a brand friend.”

At the product launch, Shingo had the following to stay.

When I was first told [about being a brand friend], I was happy, but I thought it was a prank. Last month, the president invited me to lunch, saying he wanted to meet me once. Over lunch, he said, “I cannot work together with someone I do not know, that’s why I want to know you.” He taught me about BMW then. He’s an amazing person, and I haven’t really done a job like this before, so I thought there must be hidden cameras.

I’m glad it wasn’t a prank because we got an awesome concept movie out of it. =D

As part of Shingo’s activities as a brand friend, a concept movie short was filmed and released and he also designed and painted a wrapped X2 that was on display Roppongi Arts Night 2018 the weekend of May 26th. You can check out the videos below.

UNFOLLOW Concept Movie

UNFOLLOW Making of

BMW Wrapping Car Making of

Personal Thoughts

They have really pushed the independent, courageous, “taking the road not traveled” image for Goro, Tsuyoshi, and Shingo, but I think the BMW UNFOLLOW concept movie is the most blatant. I’m not going to lie, when I first saw the video, my initial reaction was it was too blatant and too obvious how much it was capitalizing on the negative feelings many fans and likely Shingo himself has about their former company.

Then I thought about it a little more and remembered a picture someone had snapped of Shingo on the street during a filming of OjaMAP during the first half of 2016. He looked horrible and it nearly made me cry. It looked like he couldn’t even hide his misery while out for filming, and he’s a pro, so it must’ve been really really bad. So yeah, expressing what looks like hate against those that did that to you… I’m totally OK with that image still.

Maybe that’s just overthinking it. Maybe Shingo fitting the whole “carving your own path” that doesn’t follow the norms has nothing to do with leaving a seemingly corrupt company. it totally has everything to do with him leaving


Published by msjumpingjax

Not-so-seriously studying Japanese. Not-so-slightly obsessed with SMAP. This blog is an outlet for my SMAP love and a way to practice my Japanese. I'm not fluent but hopefully I am successful with at least getting the gist of what goes on.

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