The commodification of idol culture with a loot-boxes-style marketing strategy practice in Thai idol culture and aspects of consumer psychology toward uncertainties

Main Article Content

Pattarachat Maneechaeye


This review article grounds itself in the advent of idol business in Thailand. The business has originated in Japan and has business practices that differ from legacy entertainment business such as paid handshake, photoshoot and live streaming. The objective of this review article was to scrutinize the advent of idol business in Thailand and data collection was based upon systematic review of relate literature. The review shows that intangible features of each idols can be transformed into a pragmatic business commodity through the process of culture commodification from various theory. Apart from services mentioned above, this business also has a unique way to sell their collectible goods which are sold in the randomized fashion which means buyers need to try their luck in every single purchase similar to an online game loot box. This article invokes the notion of consumer psychology towards uncertainties and provide a detailed account of how a repetition of decisions after receiving an uncertainty incentive. The review result show that this kind of business yield a new effect on customer perception toward the idol product and there are some difficulties in this business such as human resource development and youth scarification of idol. Future studies should extent the result of this review into a quantitative research to analyze the effect of uncertainties toward consumer behavior or qualitively study an in-dept life of idol group members.


Download data is not yet available.

Article Details

Review Articles


Alonso, K. and Jigvall, E. (2018). Thinking Outside the Lootbox: Balancing on the Scale of Gacha. Bachelor’s Thesis. Uppsala University, Sweden.

Becker, J. F. (2008). Marxian Political Economy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Billig, M. (1999). Commodity fetishism and repression: reflections on Marx, Freud and the psychology of consumer capitalism. Theory and Psychology 9(3): 313-329.

Brooks, G. A. and Clark, L. (2019). Associations between loot box use, problematic gaming and gambling, and gambling-related cognitions. Addictive Behaviors 96: 26-34.

Cahoon, K. (1993). Japan: An Illustrated Encyclopedia Tokyo: Kodansha.

Cohen, J. E. (2006). Copyright, commodification, and culture: locating the public domain policy. In The Future of the Public Domain, edited by Guibault, L. and Hugenholtz, P. B., pp. 121-166. Zuidpoolsingel: Kluwer Law International.

Cole, M. W. and Zorach, R. (2009). The Idol in The Age of Art: Objects, Devotions and the Early Modern World. Oxfordshire: Routledge.

Cole, S. (2007). Beyond authenticity and commodification. Annals of Tourism Research 34(4): 943-960.

Drummond, A. and Sauer, J. D. (2018). Video game loot boxes are psychologically akin to gambling. Nature Human Behaviour 2(8): 530-532.

Galbraith, P. W. (2012). Idols: the image of desire in Japanese consumer capitalism. In Idols and Celebrity in Japanese Media Culture, edited by Galbraith, P. W. and Karlin, J. G., pp. 185-208. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Galbraith, P. W. (2017). AKB business: idols and affective economics in contemporary Japan. In Introducing Japanese Popular Culture, edited by Freedman, A. and Slade, T., pp. 158-167. Oxfordshire: Routledge.

Goodman, L. E. (2010). Supernovas: the dialectic of celebrity in society. Society 47(6): 510-515.

Griffiths, M. D. (2018). Is the buying of loot boxes in video games a form of gambling or gaming? Gaming Law Review 22(1): 52-54.

Ham, M. and Lee, S. W. (2020). Factors affecting the popularity of video content on live-streaming services: focusing on V Live, the South Korean live-streaming service. Sustainability 12(5): 1-17.

Horkheimer, M. and Adorno, T. W. (1972). Dialectic of Enlightenment. New York: Herder and Herder.

Johansson, A. and Grönström, S. (2020). The Perceived Value of Loot Boxes: A Qualitative Study on the Service Outcome of Loot Boxes. Bachelor’s Thesis. Karlstad Business School, Sweden.

Jones, A. (2016). “I get paid to have orgasms”: adult webcam models’ negotiation of pleasure and danger. Signs Journal of Women in Culture and Society 42(1): 227-256.

Kaufeld, J. and Smith, J. (2006). Trading Card Games for Dummies. Hoboken: John Wiley and Sons.

Kim, S. (2016). Psychological analysis on consumer sentiment for Gacha. Journal of Korea Game Society 16(3): 77-86.

Kristjansson, K. (2007). Justified self‐esteem. Journal of Philosophy of Education 41(2): 247-261.

Lin, Y. C. and Lin, C. H. (2007). Impetus for worship: an exploratory study of adolescents’ idol adoration behaviors. Adolescence 42(167): 575-588.

Lindholm, C. (2018). Charisma. In The International Encyclopedia of Anthropology, edited by Callan, H., pp. 21-33. Hoboken: Basil Blackwell.

Lizardo, O. (2004). The cognitive origins of Bourdieu’s habitus. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 34(4): 375-401.

Neitz, M. J. (1987). Charisma and community: a study of religious commitment within the charismatic renewal. Abingdon: Routledge.

Otmazgin, N. and Ben-Ari, E. (2012). Cultural industries and the state in East and Southeast Asia. In Popular Culture and the State in East and Southeast Asia, edited by Otmazgin, N. and Ben-Ari, E., pp. 3-26. Oxfordshire: Routledge.

Rausch, A. S. (2008). Place branding in rural Japan: cultural commodities as local brands. Place Branding and Public Diplomacy 4: 136-146.

Raviv, A., Bar-Tal, D., Raviv, A. and Ben-Horin, A. (1996). Adolescent idolization of pop singers: causes, expressions, and reliance. Journal of Youth and Adolescence 25(5): 631-650.

Rooksby, E. (2017). Habitus: a Sense of Place. Oxfordshire: Routledge.

Shen, L., Hsee, C. K. and Talloen, J. H. (2019). The fun and function of uncertainty: uncertain incentives reinforce repetition decisions. Journal of Consumer Research 46(1): 69-81.

Shibuya, A., Teramoto, M. and Shoun, A. (2015). Systematic analysis of in-game purchases and social features of mobile social games in Japan. In Proceedings of DiGRA 2015: Diversity of play: Games – Cultures – Identities. Lüneburg, Germany. May 14-17.

Storey, J. (1999). Cultural Consumption and Everyday Life. New York: Bloomsbury Academic.

Swaminathan, V., Stilley, K. M. and Ahluwalia, R. (2009). When brand personality matters: the moderating role of attachment styles. Journal of Consumer Research 35(6): 985-1002.

Tajima, Y. (2018). Japanese idol culture for ‘contents tourism’ and regional revitalization: a case study of regional idols. In Global Leisure and the Struggle for a Better World, edited by Beniwal, A., Jain, R. and Spracklen, K., pp. 117-139. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan.

Tarr, Z. (2011). The Frankfurt school: the critical theories of Max Horkheimer and Theodor W. Adorno. Abingdon: Routledge.

Throsby, D. (1999). Cultural capital. Journal of Cultural Economics 23: 3-12.

Van-Esterik, P. (2000). Materializing Thailand. Oxfordshire: Routledge.

Van-Haecke, P. J. (2020). Female idols in Japan: desiring desire, fantasmatic consumption and drive satisfaction. East Asian Journal of Popular Culture 6(1): 77-92.

Vroom, V. H. (1964). Work and Motivation. New York: Wiley.

Wacquant, L. J. D. (1995). Pugs at work: bodily capital and bodily labour among professional boxers. Body and Society 1(1): 65-93.

Yaffe, D. S. (1973). The Marxian theory of crisis, capital and the state. Economy and Society 2(2): 186-232.

Yamato, E. (2012). Accumulating Japanese popular culture: media consumption experiences of Malaysian young adults. Media Asia 39(4): 199-208.

Yoshida, M., Gordon, B., James, J. D. and Heere, B. (2015). Sport fans and their behavior in fan communities. In Sports Management and Sports Humanities, edited by Kanosue, K., Kogiso, K., Oshimi, D. and Harada, M., pp. 47-52. Tokyo: Springer.

Zendle, D., Meyer, R. and Over, H. (2019). Adolescents and loot boxes: links with problem gambling and motivations for purchase. Royal Society Open Science 6(6): 1-18.