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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.

Categories
Main Feature Marketing APAC

Top 10 Influencer Marketing trends to look out for

From the rise of the micro- and nano-influencers to the increasing role of artificial intelligence (AI) in ensuring brand safety and delivering data-driven insights, new influencer marketing trends continue to emerge this year.

While exploring the ins and outs of influencer marketing space, we have observed the top 10 trends that will be huge this 2020. These trends are anticipated to guide brands in strategizing for campaigns that are sure to generate ROI.

1. Expect more influencers across content, experiential, and social media marketing strategies.

Since audiences see influencers as more authentic and credible, 89% of marketers think ROI is comparable or better with influencer marketing.

Brands will turn to confluence marketing strategies to amplify campaigns and social commerce by boosting or repurposing influencer-made content for example.

Brands are also expected to expand influencer marketing budgets and we can expect more exclusive invite-only influencer events.

2. No longer will micro- and nano-influencers be underestimated.

With a more dedicated niche following, micro- and nano-influencers are more engaging than celebrity and top influencers. More brands will plan campaigns with a mix of nano-, micro- and macro-influencers.

Brands can reap the benefits of both worlds. While one targets a specific niche audience, the other has a wider reach and potential to spark large conversations.

3. Brands will seek deeper, long-term influencer partnerships.

No longer do brands think a single influencer post or story is an effective conversion strategy. More are opting for long-term influencer partnerships through custom product lines or ambassador programs.

This helps brands achieve business outcomes, build authentic audience loyalty, and identify the marketing strategies that work best for them.

4. Industry will be streamlined by tighter regulations and pressures on influencers to comply.

Past controversies and issues on fake followers have motivated brands and audiences to demand more influencer transparency. To ensure compliance, social channels are stepping up such as, Instagram putting up a ‘Paid Partnership With’ feature.

Following these new regulatory measures will enhance an influencer’s perceived authenticity and strengthen campaign performance.

5. More airtime for audio-based content.

Audio content, especially podcasts, has risen in popularity. Audio influencers hold listeners’ attention for extended periods, allowing native ad formats to be easily integrated.

In 2020, it is estimated that podcasts alone will account for $863 million in ad revenue. While the market for audio influencers is still blossoming in APAC, advertisers and brands should anticipate, appreciate, and plan for audio in future marketing strategies.

6. A growing fascination with CGI-Influencers.

Virtual computer-generated Instagram (CGI) influencers are shaking up the industry. Uniquely, CGI- influencers give brands full creative control over campaigns.

Appealing to techy Gen-Z audiences, CGI influencers like digital AI-avatar Lil Miquela are shown to have engagement rates almost 3x higher than real human influencers. Evidently, users are fascinated by this blend of fantasy and reality.

7. eSports influencers uniting fans and brands.

With ½ of fans being millennials, ages between 25-39, and more than 1/3 are women, eSports influencers have an especially wide and engaged following.

It is not surprising then that the number of influencer campaigns with eSports athletes has tripled in the past five years, with non-endemic brands increasingly getting in on the action.

With the eSports industry predicted to exceed 1.62 billion in revenue in 2021, advertisers and brands should consider eSports influencers in their marketing strategies if they want a piece of this winning streak.

8. Brands are recruiting employees and customers to build advocacy.

Audiences believe employees have a deep understanding of a brand’s culture. This makes their endorsements seem more reliable and authentic.

Brands like H&M, L’Oreal, Reebok, Starbucks, and MasterCard have launched advocacy programs motivating employees to become influencers. Social Media Today reports that these employee advocacy programs result in an average 26% increased revenue YOY.

For this same reason, customers are also being recruited as brand ambassadors. For advertisers and brands looking to amplify both retail and social commerce efforts, leveraging existing employees and consumers effectively capitalizes on the power of word-of-mouth to raise brand awareness.

9. AI is helping brands ensure brand safety.

Advances in AI are allowing marketers to derive more meaningful insights about campaign performance from vast data sets. Performance-based metrics like unique reach, actual impressions, and video views can now be verified and consolidated onto all-inclusive influencer marketing solutions that help streamline campaign workflow with image recognition and natural language processing (NLP).

Allowing social listening and the flagging of inappropriate content, brands can also shortlist the best influencers to fulfill campaign outcomes. Facilitated by automated booking tools, these developments let brands better optimize marketing strategies and ensure brand safety.

10. New highly shareable platforms and content are emerging.

Younger generations want engaging, authentic, and rapidly consumable content. With the adoption of technologies like drones, 360 video applications, AR and VR, influencers can enhance their storytelling abilities and produce higher-quality, innovative content. Rising social platforms such as TikTok and Twitch have also adopted these trends.

This article was written by Madeleine Mak of INCA APAC.

INCA is an influencer marketing solutions which helps brands to run brand-safe content campaigns through creators and influencers across digital platforms. It is owned by media company, Group M.