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KakaoTalk Selects Controversial Indonesian Celebrity as New Ad Star For Ramadan

KakaoTalk_NOAH

Korea-based messaging app KakaoTalk revealed recently that it has rolled out a new TV ad campaign in Indonesia, this time centralized around the upcoming Ramadan fasting month. After having Korean pop group BigBang and Indonesian celebrity Sherina Munaf as previous ad stars, the new KakaoTalk campaign stars local multi platinum award winning pop group Noah. Although it’s quite understandable that KakaoTalk would choose popular celebrities for its ads, one wonders why they choose Noah in the month of Ramadan.

Sex tape star

ariel peterpan jailed

Ariel waits inside a holding cell prior to the start of his trial two years ago.
Credit: NYDailyNews

Apart from the band’s successes, Noah’s lead singer Ariel has had his image tarnished by an infamous sex tape scandal that hit Indonesia three years ago. Ariel was imprisoned because of that, and some would say that the ex-convict singer is not a good role model for the Indonesian youth – and therefore a weird choice for the fasting month.

At the time of writing, the top Google search keywords related to “Ariel Noah” and “Ariel Peterpan 1” are still related to his sex partner in that video, celebrity Luna Maya. Of course, one would say that Ariel was a victim of that scandal because he wasn’t the one who published the video – his laptop, which contained that notorious video, reportedly got stolen and that’s how it leaked onto the web.

But in the end, it doesn’t seem like anyone in Indonesia cares that much regarding someone’s reputation. Three years after the incident, all parties involved – Ariel, Luna, and also celebrity Cut Tari – are all back to Indonesian TV screens on numerous shows. A similar thing happened to Hong Kong pop star Edison Chen after his sex photo scandal blew up in 2008; but, in contrast, Edison no longer produces the level of work and visibility in the filming industry after that incident.

Star power

Despite all that stuff, I would say that KakaoTalk’s new TV ad is refreshingly fun. It adds in quirky animations as well as bringing KakaoTalk’s emoticon characters to life in the ads. Since June 29th, three out of four of Noah’s ads for the messaging app are now out, and the company is shelling out six new Ramadan-themed live emoticons to get people into gear for the upcoming fasting month.

Talking about celebrities in ads for apps, rival WeChat recently signed Argentine footballer Lionel Messi to be its global ad star. Messi will likely attract a lot of football-loving fans to the app. The other main social messaging app in the region, Line, hired the number one Twitter celebrity in Indonesia Agnes Monica along with pop band Nidji to be its local endorsers in the country.


  1. Peterpan was Noah’s previous band name before the sex tape incident.



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