Walk into any McDonalds in Hong Kong and you will see the faces of Mirror’s 12 members plastered on food packaging boxes, billboards, and automated self-ordering kiosks. The ever hungry-for-profit fast-food chain has gone all out to celebrate the 3rd anniversary of Mirror’s debut. All its 245 stores have been transformed into Mirror-themed shrines. Each store features one member but the restaurant at Admiralty Centre celebrates them all.
McDonald’s at Admiralty Centre
To draw in the Mirror fans in droves, McDonald’s has launched a new food item, Garlic Herb Crispy Thigh. It comes with 16 flashcards of the band’s differrent members: one for each member and four special flashcards which feature all 12 members.
So, why has Mirror become the hottest Canto-pop boy band in the Hong Kong music industry today?
Different Individual Specialties
Before teaming up as a boyband, they participated in ViuTV’s reality talent competition “Good Night Show – King Maker” individually in 2018. The TV show scouts for potential artists who are selected from the auditions to compete in different performances. All of them possess a distinctive talent for dancing, singing, and rapping.
But being part of this Canto-pop phenomenon hasn’t prohibited the members from releasing individual projects. Some of them have already started their solo journeys which bring out their different music styles and strengths.
Anson Lo was a dancer before forming the boy group. So, his songs are often shown with captivating choreography in the music videos. His latest solo song was released on September 22, 2021.
“Door to Tiger Road”
Another member, Lokman Yeung, is known for rapping and dancing, especially locking. Therefore, he collaborated with Anson Kong and released a rap song on August 20, 2021.
Each member of the band has his own music preference, which allows the band to release solo projects that cater to diverse music lovers, increasing their collective popularity even more.
Close Relationship with ViuTV
After ViuTV’s reality talent show in 2018, ViuTV intended to form a boy group with the top 10 finalists and some contestants. Mirror officially debuted on November 3, 2018, with the above 12 members, and their management company is the Hong Kong Television Entertainment Company Limited (ViuTV). Since all members are ViuTV’s artists, they are frequently involved in various ViuTV programs, such as reality shows, game shows, and drama series.
“Good Night Show MIRROR Go” (2018)
The first reality show “Good Night Show MIRROR Go” was aired one month after Mirror debuted. This show features all members playing games in different parts of Hong Kong and other places, such as Macau and South Korea. After the show gained popularity among Mirror’s fans and other citizens, season two was released in May 2019.
“be ON game Season 2” (2021)
Apart from the reality show, audience can see them in other programs, such as “be ON game Season 2”, a game show produced by ViuTV. Edan Lui has even become one of the hosts, together with Kaki Sham, Jeffrey Ngai, Eric Tsui, Bonnie Wong, and Hillary Lau.
Mirror members also have a lot of opportunities to be the leading actors in ViuTV dramas.
“Ossan’s Love” (2021)
“We Are the Littles” (2020)
Unlike other artists, Mirror is managed by ViuTV. It explains why Mirror can often participate in different ViuTV programs and events. Given that they have the priority to appear on TV shows, they are more visible and well-known in the city.
K-pop Fandom Culture in Hong Kong
Mirror held their second concert, titled “MIRROR One and All Live 2021”, at the Kowloon Bay International Trade & Exhibition Centre – Star Hall in May. Outside the hall, there were balloons, souvenirs, and pull-up banners prepared by Mirror’s fans. There were twelve separate corners for fans to take photos with those decorations, and fans bought merch and light sticks to support their idols.
Anson Lo’s fans took photos with the balloons, pull-up banners, and merch outside Star Hall.
The separate corner, such as Alton Wong’s corner, allowed fans to take photos with themed decorations featuring their favorite member.
The lust to be a part of all-consuming fan culture has not been seen with any other Canto-pop artist or band in the past few years. It mirrors (forgive the pun, reader) very much the hype that the K-pop megahit BTS itself inspires. Each member of Mirror has his own fan club. Fans also create group chats to obsess over their favorite idols, yell at the top of their lungs to their favorite songs and crowdfund to purchase billboards.
Recently the twelve fan clubs also collaborated to organize a wide range of Mirror-themed events in different parts of Hong Kong.
If today, Mirror has gone mainstream, it is in no small part due to the worshipful support of its biggest fans.
Given the unrivalled popularity of Mirror and the potential for consumption it inspires, many brands have been flocking to them for marketing campaigns. It is not only fashion and make up brands such as Calvin Klein and M.A.C Cosmetics that are cashing in on the hype. Even tech companies such as Samsung and finance institutions like HSBC have employed Mirror members as brand ambassadors.
The scramble, then, to purchase any merchandise or product endorsed by Mirror is inevitable.
A Mirror fan bought the skincare products from AHC, a beauty brand because Frankie Chan endorses the products.
“I spend around $1,000 to buy their endorsed products every month, but I would not buy unnecessary products,” said Gigi Yip Ka-man, a middle-aged Mirror fan. She is a fan of Anson Kong and manages an Instagram fan account. She added that this is a way to support her idols and increase Mirror’s market value.
Even the Hongkonger who is not hopelessly infatuated with the boyband would not be able to escape the fervor it inspires, given how popular the members have become. With various brand endorsements under Mirror’s belt, music meets mass consumption.
Representation of Local Identity
The frenzy over Mirror has infused the city with joy. With the social movements and Covid-19, Mirror has provided a musical balm to Hong Kong at an uncertain time.
One of the boyband’s female fans is Mandy Lau Ying-tung, a 21-year-old student who expressed the fear of losing the local identity. But she has learned to become protective over precious things. “Mirror gives me positive energy and makes me want to support them in different ways,” Mandy said.
Mirror has won numerous praises and represents Hong Kong’s pride in the music industry. After the golden years of Canto-pop in the 1990s, the genre was no longer popular. But now, Mirror is ushering in its revival.
“I have never seen a boy group that can be so successful in Hong Kong,” said Gigi Yip. She showed the latest music video of Mirror immediately. “No idols are willing to put up faces like this (0:41) in front of the camera. There is a reason for me to support them,” Gigi added.
The latest song of Mirror was released on November 3, 2021. That day was the 3rd anniversary of their official debut.
“I can see the local music is becoming popular again. I have never seen people swarm the shopping malls and place advertisements supporting local idols instead of other Asian idols,” said Henry Sze Hon-ching, who is also a 21-year-old student but not a Mirror fan.
When Keung To scooped four awards at ViuTV’s first Chill Club Awards, he said that he believes Hong Kong singers can definitely become Asia’s top again.
With their undeniable appeal (and an excellent marketing strategy), Mirror has attracted many fans, not only in Hong Kong but also in other parts of Asia. In doing so, the boy band has also begun to symbolize Hong Kong’s cultural identity itself.