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How Smart got Hyun Bin and Son Ye-jin to say ‘I do’

By JOANNE RAE M. RAMIREZ, The Philippine STAR Published Feb 25, 2021 4:00 pm

Now, there is kilig, and there is K-lig. And the twain meets when you’re swooning over K-drama.

It was like Valentine’s Day all over again for fans of Korean superstars Hyun Bin and Son Ye-jin, yours truly included, when Smart Communications unveiled the behind-the-scenes video of the couple’s trailblazing, record-breaking “Inevitable” TVC (television commercial). 

The four-minute, behind-the-scenes video showed not only the hard work that went into the making of the TVC amid a snowstorm in Seoul, it also showed many tender moments between Hyun and Son, whose portrayal of a North Korean army officer and a South Korean heiress in the hit K-drama series Crash Landing on You (CLOY) has enveloped many Filipinos — mostly Filipinas — in a K-lig frenzy.

The four-minute, behind-the-scenes video shot amid a snowstorm in Seoul showed many tender moments between Hyun and Son.

Even more “kilig” scenes of the couple will be aired in the second TVC.

“There’s going to be a part two where they will be together, end to end. So that’s even more kilig than TVC One,” revealed Smart senior vice president Jane Jimenez Basas.

TVC One, with the soundtrack of Inevitable by Filipino band Ben & Ben, first aired on Valentine’s Day, sending hearts aflutter especially since Hyun and Son confirmed their romantic relationship only last January 1.   

At a press conference for Smart 5G’s “Unstoppable” campaign, Basas said having both Hyun and Son together was a “casting coup.” But having them together on one screen on the heels of the confirmation of their relationship was a jackpot.

“We shot the commercial January 12. I think the news about them came out January 1. So, para kaming nanalo sa lottery. Who would’ve thought?”

“It was perfect timing,” said Basas, who also shared that it took them and their partners between August and November to be able to finalize the plans with VAST (Hyun’s agency) and MST (Son’s agency). “It wasn’t easy at all.”

 The couple (center box) with the Smart team.

Glenn Llamas of Wilbros, whom Basas credited for coordinating with VAST and MST, said it was the trust that both Hyun and Son had in Smart and its stellar work that clinched the deal and got the couple to say “I do” to the project. 

“Honestly,” said Llamas, “there were a lot of offers from brands from other countries for the couple to come out together in an ad especially after they confirmed they were dating. And I heard some even offered them more. But they chose only Smart because of their trust relationship with the brand.”

“This endorsement from Hyun Bin and Son Ye-jin is their first together. It has never been done before,” said Llamas.

Addressing Filipinos everywhere, Hyun Bin said during a taped greeting aired at the press conference, “Hello. This is Hyun Bin. I have been given another chance to meet you all through Smart’s new campaign video. I hope that you’ll continue to support Smart and me. I wish you a Happy New Year. Please keep yourselves healthy and warm this year.”

During the press conference, Basas also said more swoon-worthy moments involving the couple are inevitable: Smart will bring them to the Philippines when it is already safe to do so. 

This was confirmed by Son herself, who wore two white dresses during the shoot (one long-sleeved and the other without sleeves) and who said “I do” in the TVC first aired on Valentine’s Day.

“I may not be able to meet you all in person, but I’m very happy to greet you through this video. Last year was a difficult year for everyone, I sincerely hope that you become happier this year. I hope to see you soon. Stay healthy until then,” she said in a pre-recorded question-and-answer portion aired during the press conference.

More swoon-worthy moments involving the couple are inevitable: Smart will bring them to the Philippines when it is already safe to do so. 

Basas recounted that the shoot began at around 10 a.m. of January 12, but Son was stalled by the snowstorm and arrived around 4 p.m. 

“So when she joined Hyun Bin, we shot the scenes that they were together first, so the scenes that you saw in the first commercial are not the complete scene.”

There was a second session on January 22, where both did the audio recording, as well as the photoshoot. Llamas said both Hyun and Son speak English. “You just have to give them time to prepare for their lines.”

Asked how it was like observing both actors on the set in their first public appearance together as a real-life couple, Basas was, herself, kilig.

“You know, we try to be as professional as possible. There was an opportunity to actually talk to them as well. My team, the agency, Grey Philippines, and myself had a chance to talk to both of them while they were together. But I was just squealing the whole time. Nakakakilig talaga. Sobra.”

Basas said the minute fans came out with the hashtag #inSmartwetrust, they got the message. It can make the impossible, possible.

“I think the message behind that is, because we were able to bring in first, Hyun Bin and then Son Ye-jin, it’s not impossible for us to be able to bring the two of them together. And we took that to heart.”

Banner and thumbnail caption: Real-life couple Hyun Bin and Son Ye-jin in screen grabs by Joanne Rae Ramirez