Sarah Geronimo’s song “Tala” has reached legendary status after various dance videos were posted on YouTube, Facebook and other video hosting social media platforms. The dance moves are fun to watch and those looking for a potential viral distribution will have a higher chance with this song.
Over the weekend, “Tala” has reached the continent of Africa after a group of local dancers there swayed to the song’s beat. It was fun to watch, and it is a guaranteed hit because foreigners are involved in the video. I’d bet that while you are reading this, you have slightly conducted your hands doing the “Tala” signature movements while the notes are playing in your head.
The song is proudly Filipino and the people who taught the Africans are most likely Pinoys too since the first uploader is a company well known in the multi-level networking industry. This marketing strategy can be categorized under Pinoybaiting.
I define it as content creation by foreigners who are specifically targeting Filipinos despite having low production value or riding on the latest trend to rack up their engagement value.
I recently had a conversation with an M.A. Buendia, an influencer and a content creator to discuss Pinoybaiting and understand it better. “I feel that there are also sincere foreign YouTubers who see the beauty in the country or promote tourism or raise awareness about Filipino culture,” he said.
“What’s disappointing is some of these creators just sit down and download a video from Wish FM or a live performance and just continuously talk about it online and create more similar content,” he said.
He added that some foreign YouTubers are afraid of getting bashed and make honest reviews, so they resort to pandering to our daily habits and even culture.
One example is that some foreigners eat halo-halo and instead of saying that it’s too sweet or give a critique, they just say it’s delicious or anything like that.
“For me, the authenticity of social media content is absent. It’s quite unfair especially for local YouTube artists who hustled and worked hard to conceptualize original content. They even take time for production, lighting, talent or any other relevant skill to share to their audience and the general public as well,” he said.
The African dance version of “Tala” was delightful, but it doesn’t veer away from the reality that it is Pinoybaiting. I assume that the networking company will play this repeatedly during their training sessions to show the reach of their recruitment and because Filipinos love being validated by other nationalities. This is perhaps a social psychological result of being colonized as a country.
Buendia emphasized the need to give value to the audience when creating content. “If you are on YouTube, you should be able to give value to your audience. They should be inspired and learn something from you. Something has to be learned and the audience should get something from it,” he said.