Get Ready For The Korean Wave
Tsunamis, Tom Hanks, and Bob Iger all have something in common. They're all forces to be reckoned with, but K-pop groups earn a spot on this list as well. K-pop has grown a huge global following from its small beginnings in the early 90s.
So odds are you've probably heard of today's biggest K-pop groups such as BTS and BLACKPINK, or at least some of their music. With millions of followers both as a group and individually, K-pop idols are the ideal people brands are looking for. In this blog, Hollywood Branded shares the power of K-pop and how brands are using it to their advantage.
Who Is BLACKPINK?
Out of all the numerous K-pop groups, BLACKPINK has managed to make a huge impression in America. The four girls, Jisoo, Lisa, Jennie, and Rosé, were put together by YG Entertainment to form the group during their rigorous training days.
Photo: YG Entertainment
In August 2016 they made their debut as YG Entertainment's first girl group in seven years. Ever since their performance at Coachella in 2019, they've been featured on songs with Lady Gaga and Dua Lipa, all while recording their own Billboard hit 'Ice Cream' with Selena Gomez! Having made a name for themselves, they've gone on to partner both as a group and individually with big name brands such as Pepsi, Youtube, and Dior.
Putting the Pop in Soda Pop
Pepsi is known for its desire to appeal to the younger generation through its partnerships with popular celebrities and fun ads. In line with their history of working with notable celebrities, Pepsi recently kicked off 2021 with their BLACKPINK partnership. This partnership is huge, as there will be a 360-degree marketing campaign paired with an ad starring all the members. Part of this marketing campaign involves featuring BLACKPINK on various Pepsi products exclusively in Malaysia and Singapore.
The partnership Pepsi has with BLACKPINK has resulted in "Blinks" (BLACKPINK's loyal fans) everywhere looking to purchase these Pepsi products (yes, even the empty Pepsi cans of their favorite idols). With the large following BLACKPINK has and the extreme dedication of their fans, Pepsi will definitely see positive results of their partnership this year. The only question is, how positive?
BLACKPINK In Your Area...Live-Streamed, That Is
We've all been impacted by COVID-19, but just like in their Pepsi commercial, BLACKPINK is saying "no" to letting that get them down. On January 31st, after many months of planning, the group performed a live-streamed concert on YouTube for over 280,000 fans (excluding China).
Through this partnership, fans had to purchase a membership to BLACKPINK's Youtube channel. There were two options provided, the standard for $29.98 and the 'plus' version for $10 more. The standard membership included access to the live stream concert, rebroadcasts, and loyalty badges and custom emojis for the comments and live chat during the performance. The plus provided all that AND exclusive access to behind the scenes content.
Screengrab from their membership page signups
BLACKPINK's choice to team up with Youtube for this event was significant, as it could lead to other music artists turning to Youtube for their own membership-only live stream events in the future. Additionally, according to Lifewire, YouTube takes 30% of the proceeds towards channel memberships while the channel owner receives 70%. To top it off, the 90-minute show raked in an estimated $10.5 million.
So not only was this highly beneficial to both parties, it was also a strategic move as YouTube held their end of the bargain (streaming wise), and all went well. As BLACKPINK and YouTube build on their past of working together for events such as this, it is a wonder to see what's in store for their future partnerships together. One thing's for sure, Youtube is certainly giving Patreon a run for its money!
Due to the success of BLACKPINK, each of the individual members have been approached by several large brands. To give you a better idea, Rosé has been an ambassador for Yves Saint Laurent and Jennie was an ambassador for Chanel. Lisa has partnered with MAC and Jisoo has partnered with Dior.
Photo: MAC Cosmetics
The impact these K-pop idols have in increasing brand engagement is not to be underestimated. In response to Lisa becoming MAC Cosmetics' global brand ambassador, MAC's creative director Drew Elliot commented, "It's been absolutely explosive. K-pop has a fandom that has never been seen before. Fans are really engaged with specific members of all these different groups. Everyone has their own style, and they have their own piece that they bring to all of the groups that they're in." Elliot's statement just shows how powerful K-pop fans are when it comes to their love and support for their idols.
New Opportunities With A New Market
Regardless of whether brands turn to K-pop idols or not, in the diverse world we live in, representation is an important factor. For brands wondering how they can appeal to the Asian target market (as well as others), K-pop groups or the individual idols themselves could be a strategic choice.
Photo: YG Entertainment
Brands tend to limit Asian celebrities to marketing campaigns in only Asian regions. This comes with the assumption that K-pop groups don't appeal to people in the US, but that isn't necessarily true. In a 2019 survey with 500 respondents published on Statista, K-pop music was found to be very and quite popular among 51.2% of the respondents. This research supports that K-pop artists should be a part of more marketing campaigns and partnerships in the US.
Photo: Richard Formicola / NorthJersey.com
Photo: Richard Formicola / NorthJersey.com
Currently, K-pop groups are an underutilized opportunity for targeting US markets. Popular groups such as One Direction and LMFAO have appeared in US commercials. So, why not add in K-pop groups and see the rise in brand awareness and brand preference among the younger generation.
How Do They Do It?
K-pop is just one genre of music, but there are many others. Behind each one is a group of people who support it. The influence music has in our lives is amazing!
Check out the blogs below that talk about how brands can partner with the music industry to create memorable campaigns:
- The Multifaceted Branding Power Of The Music Industry
- Why Brands And Music Are Such Perfect Partners For Sales Success
- HB Roundup: Music Marketing
- How To Leverage Music Videos For Branded Content Partnerships
- Case Study: Product Placement In 5 Music Videos [Infographic]
Hoping to increase your sales? Watch our video on celebrity endorsement deals below and learn how other brands got their sales to rise!