With the release of BTS’ new hit song Butter, it makes sense for McDonald’s to jump at the chance of a collaboration since we know McDonald’s isn’t the healthiest option for our cholesterol. But, to have one of the biggest global phenomenons team up with a global food brand is genius marketing for McDonald’s.
Let’s be real. BTS doesn’t need McDonald’s. They’re doing fine by themselves, but McDonald’s has the money and the marketing power to afford BTS. McDonald’s will make the money back in their sales of the BTS meal, which is honestly, regular McDonald’s food but with BTS-branded packaging. Does it make me want it any less? No. I want it even more as a part of the BTS ARMY (Adorable Representative M.C. for Youth).
McDonald’s marketing team have revved up their social media game to appease the ARMY with exclusive images and behind-the-scene footage of the band that fans are eating up. There’s going to be special LUNCH PARTIES for US fans, which I’m not sure what it consists of, but fans will be ready for any special drops.
It seems like McDonald’s is not the only corporation dipping their toes into the BTS pond. Just last month, Louis Vuitton announced BTS to be their Global House Ambassadors, along with their new collaboration with Lotte Chilsung for Kloud Draft Beer and camping accessory brand, Helinox. If you pop the iconic BTS logo along with promos with the beautiful boys and the products, the value of the product increases substantially.
It does help that BTS has broken into the US Market, becoming the first group to earn three No. 1 albums on the US Billboard 200 Chart in less than a year. They also earned numerous awards from all over the world and are the only K-Pop group to be nominated for a GRAMMY for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance. Unfortunately, the band did not win, which caused outrage from fans since the Grammys utilized BTS’ anticipated performance to bring in more viewers. Even the Grammys knew the power behind BTS. Even recently, BTS’ new music video “Butter” broke records on YouTube with 21 million views in an hour, breaking their own previous record for “Dynamite,” and it just keeps growing with it currently at 223 million views since it premiered six days ago.
Brands are realizing the drawing power of BTS. In 2019, with their partnership with Hyundai, BTS promoted the Hyundai Palisade, causing the SUV to be on backorder for months. Their collaboration with Puma, FILA, Reebok, and CASETiFY sold out within minutes. It would come to no surprise if the BTS x McDonald’s Collaboration crashes the Weverse Shop App and sold out within the hour.
It does help that BTS has one of the most dedicated fandom, which the band appreciates and thanks in every video message and even music videos. Band member Jung Kook even has ARMY tattooed on his knuckles in what looks to be an acknowledgement of the fans. The fans go beyond just supporting their favorite group through their purchasing power. Many in the ARMY also focus on BTS philanthropic efforts by creating their own projects on behalf of the group. One In An ARMY (OIAA) have worked with numerous non-profits from around the world to encourage donations. When BTS donated $1 million to Black Live Matter, OIAA raised funds to match the pledge.
There’s no doubt the influential power behind BTS and their ARMY. Big Hit Entertainment, the South Korean entertainment company behind the rise of BTS, are estimated to be worth around $4.1 billion and it only seems to be increasing with the success of the band, as well as the rise of their other bands and trainees. In an interview with MWB, Lenzo Seokjun Yoon, Global CEO of Big Hit, said although most entertainment companies focused on releasing music, concerts, and content with direct artist involvement, “almost 80% of [our] profits came from advertisement and album sales directly drive by artists activities.” With the expansion of BTS’ intellectual property with their own products as well as outside collaborations, BTS’ net worth, as well as Big Hit’s, is set to make even more by the next year.
With BTS now taking over western audiences with their second hit English single, U.S. based brands better take notice and start planning their next marketing efforts. It might actually be worth it.