As brands make a beeline for K-Pop, India too soon to become its playground

K-Pop band BTS currently endorses a clutch of brands such as Samsung, Adidas, Coca-Cola, Hyundai, Louis Vuitton, McDonald’s

K-Pop BTS Boy Band, BTS McDonald's Meal
As per The Korea Times, BTS earns ₩3.00 billion (about $2.69 million) to ₩5.00 billion (about $4.49 million) from every Korean brand they endorse

With inputs from Rishika Kaushik

Love them or hate them, but you can’t surely ignore them. Managed by Big Hit Entertainment, South Korean music band popularly known as BTS (it goes by several names Bangtan Boys/Bangtan Sonyeondan or Bulletproof Boy Scouts or Beyond The Scene) have earned popularity across the world– so much so now even North Korean leader Kim Jong Un called them vicious.

The rise in popularity seems to have paid off with brands and advertisers making a beeline –from Samsung, Adidas, Coca-Cola, Hyundai, and even luxury brand Louis Vuitton. In fact, multinational fast food chain McDonald’s recently collaborated with BTS to come up with a limited-edition meal — further seals the deal. “Since its launch on June 1, this global collaboration has resonated very well among the BTS fans around the world, creating a lot of social media chatter and we expect the conversations to continue. We drove record-breaking engagement on multiple social channels – trending on Twitter both in the US and worldwide and on YouTube for our TV commercial,” Rajeev Ranjan, chief operating officer, Connaught Plaza Restaurants Pvt. Ltd., elaborated.

This meal is being served in over 50 markets, including India. According to McDonald’s, the partnership is about driving relevancy and brand affinity among the younger customers. “Today is the day and age of seamless interaction and purchases across categories are impacted by the young in a very big way. With youngsters being one of the biggest influencers in the society today, brands are trying to appeal to these influencers through such collaborations,” Harish Bijoor, brand strategy expert and founder, Harish Bijoor Consults Inc., told BrandWagon Online.

As per The Korea Times, BTS earns ₩3.00 billion (about $2.69 million) to ₩5.00 billion (about $4.49 million) from every Korean brand they endorse. Furthermore, the boy band is estimated to have earned ₩10.0 billion (about $8.98 million) for participating in the “BTS Meal” promotion. Variety has estimated BTS’ net worth to be around $450 million.

One of the main reasons behind the rise of BTS popularity is the kind of issues their songs highlight including bullying, elitism and mental health. Moreover, the boys are believed to be staying together in a dormitory, thereby promoting humble living. “BTS has become a huge phenomenon in the last five years with the popularity of K-Pop busting music charts around the world. Their music and videos are expectational with multi-layered narratives and they use their digital presence to create a BTS Universe that makes them irresistible to the youth. This is an opportunity brands would like to ride on, and hence a range of brands have collaborated with them,” Lloyd Mathias, business strategist and former marketing head, HP Asia, said.

Even as the band has gained popularity in other parts of the world, it is yet to catch up in India.“Young consumers are coming up in a big way and buying products across categories which makes collaborating with the band successful for any brand. In India, however, the association may work out only in the bigger and metropolitan cities as brands will be able to resonate only with the 20-30% of the population in the country,” Bijoor added.

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