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McDonald's bets W10 billion on BTS

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BTS fans take photos with The BTS Meal at a McDonald's in Seoul on May 27. / Korea Times photo by Hong In-kee
BTS fans take photos with The BTS Meal at a McDonald's in Seoul on May 27. / Korea Times photo by Hong In-kee

By Kim Jae-heun

McDonald's has recently introduced its latest celebrity menu collaboration with BTS.

BTS, which CNN called "the biggest boy band in the world" in 2019, is one of the most expensive celebrity spokesmodels at the same time.

For domestic endorsements only, the boy band is paid between 3 billion won ($2.69 million) and 5 billion won ($4.48 million), according to an industry source. McDonald's ads target about 50 countries around the world and BTS is set to receive about 10 billion won for participating in the U.S. fast food franchise's promotion.

BTS's partnership with the burger brand seems to be paying off given the boy band's solid fan base around the world. Plus, the tie-up is expected to be a huge plus for McDonald's brand image, which had once been tainted because of quality issues.

McDonald's short-term goal is to promote the brand image and draw in the boy band's 34 million fans.

"We are delighted to introduce McDonald's new menu item in collaboration with BTS, who are big fans of our food. We hope this collaboration gives us an opportunity to connect to BTS's fans," McDonald's official said.

For this reason, McDonald's put much effort into its menu collaboration with BTS and the initial response is looking good.

The BTS Meal launched by McDonald's / Korea Times photo by Hong In-kee
The BTS Meal launched by McDonald's / Korea Times photo by Hong In-kee

McDonald's made an unprecedented move to communicate directly with customers, by announcing its collaboration with BTS through its social media channels on April 19. Previously, the American fast food restaurant chain has been releasing press kits to make announcements.

McDonald's collaborated previously with former basketball player Michael Jordan and popular rapper Travis Scott to introduce special burgers, but they were only available in the U.S.

How the U.S. fast food chain is showcasing its collaboration with BTS is similar to how the boy band releases its music. From May 17 to 23, McDonald's has released concept photos of individual BTS members and revealed its commercial video three days after. BTS's fan club ARMY praised McDonald's fresh marketing scheme and said it is as if they are waiting for a new album.

Additionally, the collaboration is also aimed at highlighting McDonald's commitment to embrace Korean culture as McDonald's employees around the world are wearing T-shirts with BTS's name in Korean. The BTS Meal has its "sweet chili" and "cajun" sauces written in Korean and the food comes packaged in purple wrapping, which is the boy band's official favorite color.

"We feel proud to see foreign employees wearing T-shirts with Korean words on them. We are also proud that BTS is made up of Korean singers. Also, the world is finding Korean culture and Korean language interesting affected by BTS music," a BTS fan surnamed Park said.

Kim Jae-heun

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