When it comes to K-Pop agencies, each has its own identity, and their groups and products help reinforce their uniqueness. One company that has cemented its dominance in the industry as part of the “Big 3” is SM Entertainment.
One of the ways that SM has cemented its status as a top contender is by creating Dear U, a software development company under SM Entertainment. The company is responsible for many different products and applications used in K-Pop, from Everysing, Lysn, and Bubble.
However, the company has recently come under fire from fans after they hosted their IPO conference. An IPO is an initial public offering (IPO), and it refers to the process of offering shares of a private corporation to the public in a new stock issuance.
During the event, the company discussed its plans to create future content under its SM Culture Universe (SMCU) metaverse through NFTs, which have been seen as controversial. While explaining the concept, an image was shown to promote the idea, and fans noticed a familiar face: BTS J-Hope‘s TinyTAN character.
The concept of the TinyTAN characters is something that ARMYs love. In October 2019, the brand was launched, and BigHit Entertainment released characters based on BTS members.
In particular, each character clearly resembles each of the members, which was why many fans instantly recognized J-Hope’s character.
Since launching, TinyTAN has become its own brand, including products, music videos, and much more.
Many fans love the concept as much as BTS’s BT21 characters, as they continue to evolve depending on the group’s concept and music releases.
When the promotional images were released, many netizens voiced their confusion and annoyance at seeing SM Entertainment and Dear U using J-Hope’s character for their marketing.
if u know, u know wkwk
Dear U Tiny j-hope pic.twitter.com/0peFckzEX2
— 𝐂 찰 | hiatus. (@itsjjknunaa) November 10, 2021
Did we miss something?! Why they use tinytan images?! SM will never learn. pic.twitter.com/LfBym9d7Dn
— Charlotte⁷ FACE (Slow) (@chartannies_7) November 10, 2021
Although the video has since been taken down, many fans still want to know why SM used it in the first place, and they have yet to respond with an explanation.