BTS: The Unparalleled Force of K-Pop Industry

The Bangtan Boys are being chased with opportunities for their global awareness and impact.


31 October, 2023

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In June 2023, BTS completed 10 years of their tenancy in K-Pop. At the same time, their latest song, Take Two, made to No.1 on the global Billboard charts. By that, they broke two new records. They also announced their hiatus to build up solo careers.

BTS has reached stellar heights of fame worldwide which garnered them musical projects, world tours, and many more. Additionally, they are involved in major brand collaborations. After music, the group is also known for their exceptional taste in fashion. They have been earning millions by signing deals with major fashion labels, especially in the luxury industry.

Fame Game

According to the 2023 Overseas Hallyu Survey by The Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism, and Korea International Cultural Exchange Promotion Agency, BTS has been ranked No. 1 (with 31,3%) for five years in a row on the list of most preferred K-Pop groups on a global level. While considering the Asia/Pacific region, India had a huge response rate of 42% and Indonesia, Japan, and Australia had over 30%. The group showcased a response rate of 37,2% in the USA, 44,6% in South Africa, 28,1% in Egypt, and 39,1% in UAE.

BTS was one of the two artists/bands to sell more than half a million album copies (674K) in the US in 2020. In 692 nominations, they have bagged 483 awards. The group is estimated to have generated over $3,9 billion in economic value of South Korea per year. According to The Hyundai Research Institute, around 800.000 people visit South Korea each year for BTS. Forbes has estimated that the group has a net worth of $120-150 million in 2023.

In the period from January 2020 to December 2022, approximately 13 million authors mentioned the group online. The band has a global army that can total up to 13 armies (each having 400K to 1000K soldiers). Between January 2013 and December 2022, BTS was mentioned for 2 billion times on social media platforms.

The BTS army has shown an immense interest in hashtags. They have created a total of 1,3 billion hashtag tweets from 2013 to 2022. The song Butter was in the Top 100 Billboard list for a span of 10 weeks. It earned around 9 million comments on YouTube and became fourth in the 10 most commented videos on YouTube in 2022. Brandwatch has given 92 out of 100 as the influencer score for the official Twitter account of BTS in the same year.

V, the member of BTS, became the top most searched K-Pop idol in the first half of 2023, followed by Jungkook in 2nd place, Jimin in 4th, Suga in 6th, J-Hope in 10th, Jin in 12th and RM in 13th.

Luxury Brand Collaborations

BTS has collaborated with a variety of brands from different sectors such as Samsung, Disney+, McDonald’s, and Coca-Cola. Furthermore, they have endorsed Fila, Seoul Tourism, Formula E, LG, and Hyundai.

Each of their collaborations has resulted in excellent outcomes for the brand. Laneige’s purple merchandise items were sold out swiftly. The purple-edition meal in McDonald’s was unveiled in 50 countries and it boosted the brand’s sales by 40%.

Here are the band’s partnerships with global fashion and luxury brands.

BTS with Louis Vuitton and Puma

Puma selected BTS to be its official face in October 2015 with its Play Warm Winter campaign along with the film BTS, Awaken the Frozen City. The brand and BTS collaborated for the PUMA x BTS Basket edition and the ‘PUMA BASKET MADE BY BTS’ campaign in 2018. Its posts displayed around 715,6K likes and the reels recorded 789,4K views on Instagram. The campaign’s video on PUMA Korea's Twitter profile earned 100,3K likes and 63,9K reposts. Then, they went on to do the ‘PUMA x BTS Turin’ edition with two installments released in March and July of 2018. The campaign’s reels and videos recorded approximately 257,9K views on Instagram. ‘Puma x BTS Court Star’ was launched in July 2017. Their last collaboration ended in July 2019.

At the beginning of 2021, BTS was invited to attend the Louis Vuitton Men’s Fall 2021 show. The brand posted their invite which earned 1,17 million likes on Instagram. In April 2021, Louis Vuitton appointed BTS as its official global brand ambassador. The Instagram post announcing the band’s entry into the label garnered 1,15 million likes and around 30K comments, whereas it generated 720,8K likes and 275,9K reposts on Twitter. The band was seen in the spin-off fashion film of Virgil Abloh’s Fall 2021 collection in LV. The video on the band attending the show received 62 million views, 1,1 million likes, and 295,1K reposts on Twitter.

In May 2021, The group was starring on the Rolling Stone cover, wearing Louis Vuitton outfits. Being the face of the January 2022 issue of GQ Korea and Vogue Korea, they all were dressed up in outfits from the Louis Vuitton collection. The post about this issue received 1,8 million likes on Instagram and 187,5K likes on Twitter. With the group deciding to hiatus, the brand opted to collaborate with a single member.

At that time, several other ambassadors’ and products’ posts can be seen on LV’s Instagram and Twitter accounts. The average Instagram post likes (excluding BTS feeds) was just 186,9K and the comments levelled down to 575. In addition to that, posts featuring K-pop and/or Korean personalities saw the highest number of likes. Whereas, on Twitter, the average engagement per tweet accounted for 8K.

One cannot avoid the retro-inspired music video of the English version of Dynamite in which the band wore a number of outfits from Gucci’s Pre-Fall 2020 and Saint Laurent’s Fall/Winter 2020 collections. The video eventually broke the record of the biggest premiere in the history of YouTube at that time with a total of 1,7 billion views now.

Suga with Valentino

Valentino picked Suga to be its global brand ambassador. In January 2023, he was seen on behind-the-scenes videos of the brand’s latest menswear campaign in collaboration with GQ Magazine. He was dressed up in Valentino for his cover photo shoot for Marie Claire Korea Magazine.

During the D-Day tour, Suga performed in New York wearing Valentino outfits designed by Pierpaolo Piccioli. He was in a monochromatic look at the Valentino Haute Couture show in Paris Fashion Week 2023.

The post announcing Suga’s joining in the official Instagram account of the brand garnered over 23,5 million impressions and 21,3 million likes. For the past year, two of the Top 3 posts with higher engagement feature Suga. The two posts have contributed around 13% of the total posts reached from October 2022 to October 2023.

In the case of Twitter, all the Top 3 posts by engagement are of Suga’s reaching with the first post which earned 673,8K more engagements and 493,2K more likes than the average post of the brand’s profile. The top 10 Valentino posts featured Suga with the highest engagement rate, ranging from 28,51% to 6,36%, whereas the average engagement rate between July and October 2023 is just 2,69%.

Jimin with Tiffany & Co. and Dior

In January 2023, Dior announced Jimin to be its global ambassador. Dior has been in touch with the group since 2019 when Kim Jones designed the styles for BTS’ Love Yourself: Speak Yourself tour. Jimin attended the Dior Men’s Winter 2023-24 show in Paris Fashion Week.

With the K-Pop personalities ruling over the most engaging posts of Dior’s Instagram profile for the past year, the post about Jimin becoming the brand ambassador earned the 2nd position with an engagement rate of 9,4% and 11,4 million impressions. The post contributed almost 2% of the total reach of the past year. Similarly, the post with Jimin in the Dior Winter 2023 collection was in the Top 3 posts with an engagement rate of 17,26% and a total of 8 million views. It garnered 1,2 million likes which is 93,3% more likes than the profile’s average posts.

Jimin was also named as the house ambassador for Tiffany & Co. in March 2023. He was featured in the new Tiffany Lock campaign. Moreover, he attended the reopening of Tiffany & Co.’s New York City store. The Instagram post specifying Jimin becoming the brand ambassador received 1,6 million likes and 46,9K comments. Since that date, all the posts featuring Jimin have received more than 100K. While compared to the celebrities from Hollywood, his posts have proved to be 5-10 times more engaging than theirs. He also stands first in the long list of Korean ambassadors whose posts received maximum engagement.

The tweet about his entry into the brand recorded 8,2 million views with 335K likes and 166K reposts. His posts have been reported to earn around 90 times higher views than the average posts on Twitter.

J-Hope with Louis Vuitton

After he visited the Louis Vuitton Fall 2023 Men’s Collection show, J-Hope was officially called Louis Vuitton’s brand ambassador in February 2023. His first campaign was the brand’s Fall/winter 2023 collection.

After the famous post starring Cristiano Ronaldo and Leonel Messi, the feeds on J-Hope’s arrival to the brand made a huge impact on the brand’s Instagram account between October 2022 and October 2023. Two of the Top 3 posts showing J-Hope earned an engagement rate of 10,48% and 9,37% respectively with 182,2 million impressions (8,5% of the overall) and 165,6 million reach (13,9% of the total).

On Twitter, the most engaging posts were featuring J-Hope with an engagement rate that deviated between 7,3% and 5,4%, and likes recorded 547,1K - 382,1K higher than the average posts.

Jung Kook with Calvin Klein

In March 2023, Jung Kook was stated to be the official ambassador for Calvin Klein. The member was spotted in Elle Singapore’s Instagram post wearing the brand’s latest collection. He was also featured in Vogue Hong Kong digital magazine’s cover with outfits from Calvin Klein. His CK Fall 2023 campaign posts on Twitter received praise and also uproars for using excessive Photoshop.

In the preceding year, with his Spring 2023 campaign for the brand, Jung Kook bagged the most engaging posts on the Calvin Klein Instagram page. The top posts received 3,1 million higher engagement than the average posts of the account. It contributed around 4,3% of the total posts reach and 2,7% of total impressions.

The same campaign’s posts achieved major impressions and engagement on Twitter. This campaign, along with his Fall 2023 collection, holds the first 40 positions of the most tweeted posts in the brand’s profile.

From the teaser of the song Butter to the FIFA World Cup 2022, Jung Kook has been seen in Versace. He has been flaunting Versace’s daring vibe. This made many anticipate Versace appointing him as its global ambassador. However, the brand announced Hyunjin of Stray Kids as its global ambassador in June 2023.

RM with Bottega Veneta

Bottega Veneta chose RM as its brand ambassador in March 2023. He was starring in the brand's Spring/Summer 2023 campaign under the supervision of Matthieu Blazy. During Milan Fashion Week, he was spotted in the Bottega Veneta Fall/Winter 2023 RTW show.

RM posted the news on his official Instagram account. It reported 5,4 million likes. The most liked post was RM on Vogue Korea Cover wearing Bottega Veneta which earned 7,5 million likes.

V with Celine and Cartier

V joined Celine Boy as the brand ambassador in March 2023. He debuted with three magazine covers for Elle Korea’s April 2023 issue. The issue’s cover was posted in the official account of V and earned 14,5 million likes. He was also spotted in Celine’s refurbished boutique opening in Tokyo. The post featuring V on the store generated 10,2 million likes on V’s Instagram page. His appearance was also noted by Elle and Harper’s Bazaar.

In July 2023, Cartier announced its collaboration with V for the Panthère de Cartier campaign. The brand posted the first picture of him on Twitter in a red blazer wearing the brand’s iconic Panther necklace and ring with yellow gold onyx and tsavorite garnets. It garnered 3,6 million views, 172K likes, and 75K reposts on Twitter. The brand posted the campaign’s posts in September 2023. They received a total of 2,3 million views. The total views of his tweets are 39,4 times higher than the average posts.

Cover image: 2023 BTS FESTA, courtesy Geffen Records Twitter account