Celebrity endorsement is not a new concept in the advertising business -- it sells products.
BTS’ meteoric rise to prominence over the years has brimmed companies with excitement -- the group has caused a ripple effect on companies that use them to promote their brands. The seven-piece, in particular, has ticked off many factors on the success list that companies yearn for when it comes to advertising.
Today, more companies seek a promotional boost by interweaving their well-crafted marketing strategy with the septet and their fans’ social media omnipresence.
Here’s a look into recent commercials that have taken and are taking the world by storm by hopping on the “BTS bandwagon.”
In April, the world’s biggest boyband teamed up with the world’s most popular burger chain.
McDonald’s rolled out a meal named after the band as part of a global campaign. Dubbed the “BTS Meal,” the set menu consisted of 10 chicken McNuggets, medium-sized fries and coke, sweet chili and cajun dipping sauces inspired by popular recipes from the South Korean branch not been introduced to foreign consumers.
The new collaboration went on sale in 11 countries, including the US, Canada and Brazil, on May 26. The menu tour gradually expanded to some 49 countries around the globe.
Since it went on display in May, the Korean branch has witnessed a record-shattering bounce in the number of chicken nuggets sold. The number of units sold daily in local stores increased 250 percent compared to the average daily four weeks before the menu was introduced.
Other than the meal that consisted of the “go-to” favorites of the group members, the paper bag for the McNuggets case and the cup featuring the BTS logo used the band’s symbolic color, purple.
The global campaign of BTS is the most recent print for McDonald’s. Rapper Travis Scott and J Balvin previously fronted the advertisement in 2020. The BTS meal was the first time a signature menu had been available elsewhere.
South Korean home appliances rental company Coway took a similar path by pairing up with the pop icon. In March, BTS became the new face of the company.
Coway said it aims to raise brand awareness and increase its consumer base in the global market by holding hands with the septet. Under the contract, the group promotes the company’s image and services, including the lease of various appliances such as water and air purifiers.
The brand value added by the global superstar was palpable in recent months. The company stood in the first place as the highest-ranking water purifier brand based on the country’s National Brand Competitiveness Index for 13 consecutive years.
The advertisements featuring the boy group, in particular, took social media by storm as soon as they were released.
Coway saw its YouTube channel grow rapidly. The channel racked up millions of views within weeks, and the numbers are still rising.
According to the company, the commercials featuring the band reached over 10 million views and over 25,000 comments in 17 days, which is the home appliance maker’s biggest record yet for advertisements. Adding to the excitement, Coway introduced more BTS content on its social media channels, including behind-the-scenes videos and bloopers from the shoot.
Also, the company is a step away from joining the “Trillion dollar club” in overseas sales. Coway witnessed a spike in its sales in Malaysia, one of its biggest markets outside Korea, thanks to BTS backing the brand.
The K-pop juggernaut became the face of local beer brand Kloud by Lotte Chilsung Beverage in April.
The septet’s entrance into the liquor market signaled a new marketing war among the three major beer makers in Korea -- Hite Jinro, Lotte and Oriental Brewery. Of the three beverage companies, OB has the strongest presence with its Cass beer, and second-place Hite Jinro has actor Gong Yoo as the face of its signature Tera beer.
Liquor companies in Korea tend to resort to A-listers for advertisement effects and public attention, especially during the summer. The liquor giant’s plans to attain a lead in the market with BTS representing its Kloud beer range is plain sailing.
Advertisements featuring the band members tend to top the trending charts in South Korea for a couple of days after their launch. The videos also immediately garnered a cumulative view of 8 million views following the issue.
After its release, the Kloud commercial has been trending in South Korea for four days and hasn’t left the YouTube charts.
Meanwhile, Lotte Chilsung Beverage began to turn an operating profit. The company’s first-quarter earnings rose nearly 67 percent year-on-year, totaling 20.6 billion won. The beer maker is enjoying record-breaking average monthly sales of around 4 billion won.
From the holiday campaign to the Galaxy Buds: BTS Edition, the seven-piece has played a pivotal role in Samsung’s new product launches.
South Korea’s tech giant has continued its partnership with the global sensation to capture young smartphone users around the globe. BTS has starred in the phone maker’s promotions, campaigns and marketing events for its new smartphones and gadgets.
The company’s release of the special BTS edition of its Galaxy S20+ smartphone was a particularly fast seller.
Preorders for Samsung Electronics’ Galaxy S20+ 5Gphone and wireless earphones Buds+ BTS Edition closed an hour after opening in South Korea last June. The electronic devices, in the group’s signature purple, with tiny hearts and the BTS logo on the back, quickly picked up on popularity in and out of the country.
The black-and-white 15-second commercial featuring the band’s hit song “Life Goes On” in the background also gained immense attention.
The local phone maker’s marketing and promotional strategies with BTS come as Apple, and other Chinese brands are narrowing the gap in the market where Samsung currently takes the stage.
In recent years, the Korean pop culture and K-pop acts have re-positioned themselves as a source of soft power, going broader than the existing Korean Wave. And now, the success appeals to the younger generation across the globe.
BTS is one of South Korea’s greatest exports, and companies here tend to foray into the global market with the band. Industry experts say that the power spawned by the megastar could turn fans and even customers in foreign countries into active consumers of South Korean products.
(KB Kookmin Bank)
KB Kookmin Bank
KB Kookmin Bank also produced synergy with BTS when the group became the spokesmodel of the group in 2018.
South Korea’s major lender rolled out a debit card and a savings program featuring the septet in 2018. Dubbed the “KB x BTS Savings” and “KB Kookmin BTS Check Card,” the special collaborations which were available from June 21 until the end of 2018 were introduced to target young customers who were not eligible to hold their credit cards.
The savings collaboration was available to customers as a one-year free saving account up to a maximum saving amount of 1 million won per month. Bank users who had signed up for the special savings received monthly messages from the band via the KB Star Banking application.
Other benefits such as extra-special interest rates for customers who made deposits on the bandmate’s birthdays and the group’s debut date were granted to target the act’s fanbase. As a result, a total of 270,000 accounts were sold in six months.
The users of the BTS debit card received a 0.2 percent cashback when used in local franchise stores. Also, customers who had registered for the collaboration by the end of July of that year were able to win an autographed BTS “Love Yourself: Tear Album,” a BT21 cushion and more.
The two carried on with their partnership with other campaigns until the contract terminated earlier this year.
BTS featured in KB Kookmin’s commercial for Indonesia last December, allowing the bank to augment its business portfolio and presence in the Southeast Asian country. The KB advertisement starring BTS grabbed more than 20 million views on various social media platforms in a month, becoming a smash hit in Indonesia.
Last April, BTS was tapped as the new face of Bodyfriend, the Seoul-based producer of luxury massage chairs.
The collaboration between the two was released through two 30-second video clips of the group relaxing in massage chair. Each video amassed over 1 million views and around 3,000 comments on the company’s official YouTube channel.
The group’s popularity eventually spoke to the company’s wish. Bodyfriend saw its customer base getting younger, where most of them were in their 30s and 40s.
Most importantly, the band was able to convey a positive image of themselves and the products to seniors. Moreover, the company sold 954 of its high-end chairs on Parents’ Day last year, breaking its daily record of 739 units.
The company has witnessed a domestic boom. Customers who either purchased or rented the massage chairs received a poster of the group and seven signed photo cards of the individual members.
Two years ago, the company had also created a “Rest Station” venue at BTS’ “Love Yourself: Speak Yourself” concert in Seoul, allowing fans to try out the brand’s massage chairs.
The band’s advertisements were seemingly inescapable and became increasingly ubiquitous. The commercial posters and videos made it to public transportations, billboards and were even on televisions during prime time. Bodyfriend also succeeded in garnering foot traffic as the septet’s behind-the-scenes footage was only available at its offline stores across the nation.
Lotte Confectionery’s Xylitol announced an endorsement deal in May with BTS in a bid to spread smiles across the globe with their chewing gum.
Under the project dubbed the “Smile to Smile Project,” BTS aims to convey positive messages to the world as people are currently confronting the COVID-19 pandemic. The latest campaign is an effort made by the company to make people smile amid times of trouble and create a world full of smiles.
The global project is currently on display in the US, Canada, Southeast Asia and elsewhere. The septet’s megahit song “Butter” is currently used as the global campaign song.
Lotte Confectionery plans to promote its brand image and reach a broader range of customers across the world through its partnership with BTS, just like how the worldwide superstar is taking center stage in the music scene.
In 2018, South Korea’s top automaker Hyundai Motors went trendy in the automobile market by naming BTS as its brand ambassador for Palisade.
Hyundai usually avoids using high-profile stars to promote its vehicles, but the carmaker planted a stylish and young image for its SUV by recruiting the boy band to front its global reveal.
The group contributed to the increase in sales, although the company struggled to keep up with the demand, which led to situations where customers had to wait for six months to get their SUVs. Customers who ordered the vehicle’s prestige trim had to wait for nearly nine to 10 months.
Also, the carmaker initially expected to sell 25,000 units for its model, but the orders reached around 52,000 after its release.
The two recently met up once again to promote the value of hydrogen as aa sustainable fuel on World Environment Day.
The company released another clip of the group last month. Titled “Welcome to the Family with BTS,” the members appeared to make the fields of robotics familiar to younger generations by introducing Spot and Atlas, which are made by Dynamics, a US-based robot specialist which Hyundai recently acquired.
Hyundai aims to appeal to younger adults through marketing campaigns with BTS to promote robotics and its future technologies.
The globetrotting group became the global ambassador of German sportswear giant for five years in 2015. The sneaker brand launched several fashionable collaborations with the group. BTS’ version of Puma’s Basket -- black and white sneakers with a black stripe along the outside -- gained immense popularity.
BTS became the face of Fila in 2019. Last year, the company collaborated with BTS and launched the “Love Yourself Collection,” which consisted of 12 items of shoes and clothing celebrating the group’s album. Recently, Fila Korea launched its summer collection dubbed the “2021 Fila Summer Collection” with the band.
(Lotte Chilsung Beverage)
BTS sparkled in one of Korea’s beloved beverage brands, Chilsung Cider. The soft drink company teamed up with the septet as its new face to celebrate its 70th anniversary last year. Also, the “Chilsung Cider X BTS miniature set” sold out in 10 minutes.
Known for their flawless skin and make-up, BTS collaborated with VT Cosmetics, a Korean brand. The company launched a new collection with BT21, the band’s cartoons, which included different shades of lipstick, lip gloss, eye palette, foundation, primer, mascara and more.
(Lotte Duty Free)
Lotte Duty Free
BTS once again showed its promotional power in when it became the face for Lotte Duty Free. The teaser clip, which announced the collaboration between the band and the company, racked up nearly 27 million views in seven days. Also, the “You’re So Beautiful” commercial for Lotte Duty Free was named one of the top advertisements in 2018 by Google Korea.
The Korea Herald by Herald Corporation
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