Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

PH-centric report unwraps the wide impact of BTS x McDo collab

Manila, Philippines – Following the global rollout of the much-awaited fast-food collaboration of McDonald’s and K-pop group BTS for their limited-time meal combo, the PH social media saw a trend surgeon the collab, with a mix of both the positive and the negative side of trends, new insights from media intelligence and insights business Isentia shows.

Trend-wise, the social buzz on the collaboration, or the number of times a particular term is used online, totaled 33,330 from 11 June to 25 June where 32% of those buzz words, approximately 10,563, were seen during the launch day.

“BTS’s influence and popularity is undeniable. They have cultivated more than a loyal fanbase – they have created advocates who are more than willing to defend them and all-out express their admiration and support for them. For companies and brands, it is important to understand at what level your customers are,” said Victoria Lazo, insights manager at Isentia Philippines.

Part of the popularity of the ‘BTS x McDo’ meal collaboration can be attributed to the creative upcycle featuring the BTS x McDo meal coming from ‘ARMYs’ or BTS fans online. For instance, many fans are collecting the meal combo’s packaging and are posting it online, while some get creative and repurpose them such as tumbler wrapping or a bag.

One social media buzz that also contributed to the hype was a fan tweet that showed the Iloilo Business Park lighting up in violet colors, the attributed color of BTS, in celebration of the much-awaited McDonald’s meal collaboration.

There is no shortage as well of creative ‘spin-offs’ from the online community regarding custom meal collaborations, featuring artists such as Taylor Swift, Sarah Geronimo, and Regine Velasquez.

Lastly, stories of inspiration from the community also further augmented the hype, as for the instance of one foodpanda driver in the country, who expressed gratitude on social media because of the constant influx of BTS x McDo meal delivery orders. In response, ARMYs raised in total PHP45,230 to donate to the said delivery rider, thanking him for his hard work.

“Over the years, brands have taken advantage of the positive impact of celebrity endorsements on consumers’ purchase behavior. Tapping prominent personalities, as well as social media influencers, has been a staple marketing strategy used by companies to create waves to promote brand awareness, shape perception, or push for brand loyalty,” said Kate Dudang, insights manager at Isentia Philippines.

Despite the positive outlook of said campaign, there has been a relative fall-out within the local sphere, including customers who purposely crumpled the packaging of the meal and posted it on social media.

Infamously, the term ‘biot’, or the Cebuano term for gay, was used by a lot of ‘haters’ and ‘trolls’ in a negative way to equate them with BTS. Caught within the issue as well are several Grab delivery riders, who posted on social media the homophobic remarks.

It should be recalled that Grab Philippines recently published a statement, stating that they have suspended the drivers in question and are working towards enforcing their culture of inclusivity within the company.

Despite these fall-offs, the campaign still went on actively, with McDonald’s Philippines offering customers exclusive BTS content on their own app, as well as free drink upgrades to those who ordered the BTS meal via Ride-Thru. The fast-food chain in the country also convinced fans to eat the BTS meal with fellow fans by only charging 7 PHP per address to those who order for others. 

“What BTS did with the BTS meal is beyond product interaction, we analysts saw an amazing display of dedication from the ARMY. This display of brand dedication opens up many avenues for other brands to capitalize on certain trends and personas. From preserving the packaging and turning it into different BTS-themed items to outright uninstalling delivery courier services apps for calling BTS slurs. But with all that said, calling the ARMY ‘just a fandom will forever be an understatement,” said Francis Calucin, insights analyst at Isentia Philippines.

Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Grab PH issues statement amid rider partners’ homophobic remarks towards BTS

Manila, Philippines – Grab Philippines has recently released a public statement amid the ongoing issue of homophobic remarks from its partner delivery riders that netizens have pointed out regarding the launch of the McDonald’s x BTS meal in the country.

Netizens have raised the alarm after a handful of deliver rider partners of the app posted homophobic statements against the popular K-pop group BTS, calling them ‘BTS Biot’ or ‘BTS gay’, labeling BTS as a group of gay people. 

The influx of these homophobic statements comes after a rise in food deliveries of the BTS McDo meal across Grab deliveries in the country, which consists of a 10-piece chicken McNuggets, medium fries, and Coke, as well as McDonald’s South Korea’s two popular dipping sauces – sweet chili and cajun. 

In the statement, Grab Philippines stated that “inclusivity is one of Grab’s core values, and we have a zero-tolerance policy for inexcusable behaviors.”

They also added that they have immediately suspended the delivery-partners in question and will continue to work hard to maintain an inclusive and diverse platform.

“Our delivery-partners continue to provide significant services for our kababayans (countrymen) during these trying times. We hope that our consumers will not let the actions of a few select individuals affect the livelihoods of the many delivery-partners who rely on the Grab platform to support their families,” the company added.

Despite the statement, netizens continue to raise concerns about delivery riders of Grab who are still not given appropriate action.

Twitter user @vmindables stated that the attitude of these select riders are very much ‘disturbing’, but their co-delivery riders ‘tolerating’ such acts are even more gut-wrenching.

“All we wanted was to enjoy this short season in peace. This isn’t just about the hate against BTS but also the mockery against the LGBTQ+ Community. Educate your riders. Stop making ‘biot’ or other third-gender terms an insult and a figure of fun and mockery,” the user added.

Meanwhile, Twitter user @yeontaeberrykim commented that said action is not only applicable for the sake of BTS, but also the use of slurs against the members of the LGBTQ+ community.

“It is also important to remind the delivery partners to act accordingly. There is no place for prejudice. As you said, inclusivity is one of your core values and this should be reflected by your partners and their services towards your customers,” the user added.

Marketing Featured Global

You can now dine with BTS ‘in spirit’ as McDonald’s launch group’s go-to meal

Singapore – McDonald’s latest menu launch is a big nod to the passion of the BTS army, as it partners with the popular Korean pop icons for the ‘BTS Meal’. The launch is a global rollout in nearly 50 countries.

The meal includes 10-piece chicken McNuggets, medium fries, and Coke, as well as McDonald’s South Korea’s two popular dipping sauces – sweet chili and cajun.

The availability of the meal will be subsequent in the covered markets. Starting May, the ‘BTS Meal’ will be gracing the fast food’s menu in Malaysia, Australia, and Singapore, as well as South Korea, and Vietnam. Meanwhile, in countries India, Hong Kong, and the Philippines, as well as Indonesia, the rollout will be in June. 

The announcement of the BTS meal follows the successful launch of McDonald’s celebrity signature orders program in 2020. BTS is the latest icon to have their signature menu items featured and will be the first celebrities to share their order with customers worldwide. 

Morgan Flatley, the chief marketing officer of McDonald’s USA, said, “BTS truly lights up the world stage, uniting people across the globe through their music. We’re excited to bring customers even closer to their beloved band in a way only McDonald’s can – through our delicious food – when we introduce the BTS signature order on our menu next month.”

Meanwhile, BIGHIT MUSIC, the label of BTS, commented, “The band has great memories with McDonald’s. We’re excited about this collaboration and can’t wait to share the BTS Meal with the world.”