Platforms Featured APAC

BTS is coming to Disney+ following major streaming deal

Singapore – Popular Korean pop boy group BTS is coming to major streaming platform Disney+ after its entertainment agency HYBE has scored a major streaming deal with The Walt Disney Company Asia. Both entities aim to showcase creative excellence from South Korea’s music and entertainment industry to the world stage.

The agreement includes global distribution of five major content titles from HYBE, which include two exclusive series featuring 21st century pop icons BTS that will launch on Disney’s streaming services.

Three of those content titles will be ‘BTS: Permission To Dance On Stage – LA’ which is their concert film in Los Angeles’ Sofi Stadium in November 2021; ‘IN THE SOOP: Friendcation’ which is an original travel reality show featuring BTS members; and ‘BTS Monuments: Beyond The Star’, an original docu-series on the journey of the BTS members.

This strategic collaboration will allow Disney to introduce a series of new titles from HYBE over the next few years, as the entertainment platform continues to produce high-quality content based on its music and artists IPs.

Jessica Kam-Engle, APAC head of content at The Walt Disney Company, said, “We are thrilled to be collaborating with HYBE to showcase their original content created with powerful artist IP on our global streaming services including Disney+.”

She added, “This collaboration represents our creative ambition – to work with iconic content creators and top stars in Asia Pacific so their talent can be enjoyed by mainstream audiences in multiple ways. We believe these new titles will captivate consumers worldwide and look forward to introducing more music content on our service.”

Meanwhile, Park Ji-won, CEO of HYBE, commented, “This will be the start of a long-term collaboration, where we present worldwide audiences a wide range of HYBE content for fans who love our music and artists. The Walt Disney Company has a long history of franchise-building and promoting musical artists, with its unparalleled brands and platforms.”

Platforms Featured East Asia

WEBTOON teases new webcomic launch with BTS

Seoul, South Korea – WEBTOON, global graphic novels digital platform, has announced that it will be releasing a series of teaser trailers featuring the iconic boy band BTS, ahead of the launch of its new webcomic 7FATES: CHAKHO, The webcomics is set for release on 14 January. 

7FATES: CHAKHO revolves around the fates of seven intertwined young men. The first teaser will be rolled out on 24 December featuring the BTS member Jin. WEBTOON said it will be posting teaser trailers daily across its social media that will feature one BTS star until January. 

The webcomics is in partnership with entertainment company HYBE. The collaboration between the two is part of WEBTOON’s previously announced Super Casting campaign, a group of global partnerships that bring some of the world’s most exciting entertainment companies to WEBTOON. Super Casting allows major entertainment brands to work with WEBTOON and maximize the IP value chain across platforms and formats. 

Also launching today, 26 December, is WEBTOON x BTS, an event webcomic that will give fans access to behind-the-scenes BTS content. Each of the seven WEBTOON x BTS episodes will focus on a member of the band and can be found exclusively on the official WEBTOON app. 

HYBE and WEBTOON are set to release the project on January 14 through the WEBTOON app and it is also available on Wattpad. 

Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Search results for a brand can jump to 50% when tapping BTS as brand ambassadors

Singapore – With the sudden rise of K-pop groups such as BTS being tapped by global brands as their respective brand ambassadors, the trend has been evident among these brands to be more recognized by the general populace. The K-pop effect on the consumer is proven further with the latest findings from shopping aggregator iPrice showing that search results for brands can jump up to 50% after signing in BTS as their brand ambassador.

According to the insights, these sudden spikes in brand popularity have been long evident across brands three years ago when the prominence of K-pop brand ambassadors started to materialize. For instance, luxury brand Louis Vuitton and soft drink brand Coca-Cola gained 46% and 14% search boost respectively in the global market when they signed BTS as their brand ambassador. Meanwhile, sportswear brand Fila gained a 16% spike in brand interest in 2019 globally for the same reason as well.

Another successful brand interest was manifested last year when South Korean multinational electronics company, Samsung, released a BTS edition of Galaxy S20+. The result revealed a 53% increase in brand searches compared to the same period in 2019. 

And more recently, the recent collaboration of BTS and fast-food chain McDonald’s has earned the brand an 8% increase in search interest globally compared to the same period last year. Meanwhile, among Singapore consumers, the said collaboration recorded a whopping 81% increase in Google search volume, signifying the massive effect it had on the growth of McDonald’s brand awareness in the country. 

The insights also note in McDonald’s case in Singapore that due to the insane demand for McDonald’s paper bags adorned with the BTS logo, people ended up reselling the packaging along with unopened sauces on an e-commerce platform within 24 hours of its launch.

Part of the reason these brands have gained so much success from their collaborations is that aside from the love towards BTS as a whole, each of the Korean boy band’s members boasts a fan base of their own. K-pop fans have come up with a term called ‘bias’, which essentially means a favorite member.

In terms of biases within the Singapore consumer base, findings show that Jungkook tops the list, accounting for over 26% of the country’s searches. He is followed by V (25%), Jimin (20%), Jin (10%), Suga (8%), RM (7%), and J-hope (3%).

In Southeast Asia, people seem to be Googling V the most, averaging 29% of the search volume, followed by Jungkook at 26%, and Jimin at 18%. 

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

Hyundai, BTS join forces in celebrating Earth Day through new campaign

Seoul, South Korea – Automotive maker Hyundai, together with K-pop group BTS, has launched a new campaign in celebration of this year’s Earth Day, centered around the message of incorporating eco-friendly activities into our daily lives.

The campaign, narrated by BTS member RM, shows a montage of how BTS and other people can start doing actions that can help the environment such as diving to collect trash, using reusable containers and bags when grocery shopping, patronage of eco-friendly, among others.

Titled ‘For Tomorrow We Won’t Wait’, the campaign’s theme stresses the importance of acting now to directly impact the future of our environment.

“We want to celebrate the independent thinkers who are participating in eco-friendly activities to improve their everyday lives while raising awareness and inspiring others to making meaningful changes in their lives too,” the video description read.

Thomas Schemera, executive vice president and chief marketing officer at Hyundai commented, “Hyundai Motor and BTS have continued to work together to spread the values of sustainability to the world. [This] generation’s growing awareness of how their lifestyle choices and purchasing decisions are impacting the environment has led them to seek greener solutions for their daily needs.”

This is Hyundai Motor’s second Earth Day video starring BTS, the first of which was released last year, generating over 100 million views on YouTube. Hyundai Motor has collaborated with BTS on its global hydrogen campaign since last year to spread awareness on the importance of sustainable practices and the future of hydrogen as a source of clean energy under the slogan ‘Because of You.’

BTS had also previously worked with Hyundai in releasing the song ‘IONIQ: I’m On It’.

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.”

Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

PH telco Smart’s new ambassador K-pop group BTS an advent of ‘telco war’

Manila, Philippines – Two of Philippines’ telco giants Globe and Smart have been continuously tapping Korean superstars for the past year, and this time the rival has just been taken up a notch. 

On Monday, Smart Communications shocked Filipino fans by unveiling its new ambassador, K-pop group and global superstars BTS across its social media platforms. This comes shortly after telco Globe revealed K-pop girl group Blackpink as its new endorser. 

BTS will be headlining Smart’s campaign this year, ‘Live Smarter, Live with Purpose’.

Smart has been aggressive in the past months roping in Korean entertainment stars as part of their expanding network of brand ambassadors, including 2020 K-drama “Crash Landing On You” stars Hyun Bin and Son Ye-Jin in May and August last year respectively and Korean actor Park Seo-Joon in October last year as well.

Considered to be one of the most influential groups in the K-pop scene, BTS has been known for sending a timely message of comfort and hope to fans everywhere through their music.

Formed in 2010, BTS is composed of an all-boys ensemble Jin, Suga, J-Hope, RM, Jimin, V, and Jungkook, and are best known for their hit songs ‘Mic Drop’, ‘Fake Love’, ‘Blood, Sweat & Tears’ and their English single ‘Dynamite’.

“Aside from their remarkable talent, BTS emerged as the biggest band in the world because of their meaningful and uplifting music that brings hope and encouragement to fans especially in the bleakest of times. It is, therefore, a big honor to welcome BTS to the Smart family so we may inspire more Filipinos to find purpose in everything they do and ultimately live Smarter for a Better World,” said Alfredo S. Panlilio, Smart president and CEO.

“Just like BTS who are able to inspire millions of young people all over the world through their music, Smart Prepaid aims to bring about amazing experiences to the Filipino youth through technology to make life easy, fast, and simple. This way, the young generation is empowered to immerse in their interests and succeed with their pursuits,” said Jane J. Basas, SVP and consumer wireless business head at Smart.

BTS’ campaign with smart is set to be released by the first quarter of the year, centered around the theme of ‘passion with purpose’.

Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

SG-based GTX TEC partners with BTS for new jewelry line

Singapore – GTX TEC, a Singapore-based jewelry distribution company, has announced its new sale partnership agreement between jewelry manufacturer Silverstone G and global superstarsBTS through its new jewelry line “Beautiful Moments: STONEHENgE”.

The latest campaign came from a previous partnership of BTS and Silverstone G last May on a line of jewelry known as “Moment of Light.” The jewelry line features initials, birthstones, and the boy band’s logo and its corresponding members.

“Beautiful Moments: STONEHENgE” will be available on the pre-existing Moment of Light web portal, and are open for pre-order starting October 2020 to January 2021. All items will come with its corresponding certificate of authenticity to discourage patronage of imitation products.

For Scott Mathina, CEO of GXT TEC, the recent collaboration is a way to boost the brand’s jewelry value, and hopes to cater to a much younger consumer base.

Main Feature Marketing East Asia

Hyundai partners with BTS, releases new song “IONIQ: I’m On It”

Seoul, South Korea – Hyundai Motor and global superstars BTS are releasing a new song, “IONIQ: I’m On It” as one of the first ever campaigns of Hyundai’s new electric vehicle brand, IONIQ.

This will be BTS’ first music project with Hyundai. The song will be available for free download on the brand’s website starting August 31.

Meanwhile, the music video will be premiered on the company’s official worldwide Youtube channel, HyundaiWorldwide, on September 2nd at 11:00 AM, Korea standard time, where it is said to feature Hyundai’s latest electric vehicle (EV) model, Prophecy, unveiled in March.

The brand song “IONIQ: I’m On It” intends to give voice in line with the IQNIQ’s goal to offer customer centric EV experiences centered on connected lifestyle solutions.

The song carries the refrain ‘IONIQ takes me there.’ The lyrics – sung and rapped by BTS’s RM, Jin, SUGA, j-hope, Jimin, V, and Jung Kook – has been made to express feelings of “discovery, curiosity, hope, creativity, and inspiration for the future.”

Global Hyundai CMO Wonhong Cho said “Hyundai Motor and BTS have continued to collaborate to spread the value of the positive energy they pursue together beyond advertising specific vehicles. The new IONIQ lineup is Hyundai Motor’s answer to environmental problems and sustainable global communities that Millennials and Gen-Z generations are concerned about.”

Just this August, Hyundai Motor unveiled the IQNIQ brand dedicated to offering its battery EVs. The company is set to introduce three new EV models: IONIQ 5, IONIQ 6, and IONIQ 7 over the next four years, with IONIQ 5, which is a midsize CUV to be launched in early 2021.

To further engage fans on the IQNIQ campaign, Hyundai will be rolling out an online contest where a limited-edition cassette tape-shaped music player which contains two tracks – “IONIQ: I’m On It” and individual messages from each member of the band will be given out to winning fans.