How K-Pop Stunts Are Shaping Elections Around the World

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In the year In 2022, the group announced that they would be taking a break to focus on solo projects and their country’s mandatory military service for the next two years. But so far, fans have remained loyal, showing up to release, buy and support that single. With seven careers now underway, the fandom can only continue to grow.

Although BTS Army is the largest in numbers, other K-pop fan groups now engage in similar social and political activities. Jorkera, whose favorite groups are BTS and EXO, emphasized that they were actually Kpopers for Boric – a combination of K-pop fans who follow different groups.

The Chileans teased what they learned from other successful K-pop campaigns: how to create viral social media posts, host events to build community, and connect people based on common interests. They also used iconography familiar to K-pop fandoms. Each K-pop group has a logo, and each fandom’s name and a special light stick that changes color or displays messages synced to the music via Bluetooth. Some groups also have a designated color (BTS is purple). Kpopers created a logo for Borik as a politician and adopted green as his signature color.

They used images of K-pop idols in social media campaigns. They sent an Uber to Borich’s campaign headquarters to deliver a cake decorated with the candidate’s face, a “Koya” keychain (featuring an animated koala representing BTS leader RM), and K-pop-inspired photo cards of Borich. A TikTok video. The video went viral, garnering 387,000 likes.

Boric began incorporating K-pop into his campaign videos by printing 200 coffee cup sleeves with QR codes that linked to voter information stations while organizing events at cafes. The group organized a ride for voters on Election Day.

In the year In December 2021, in a record turnout, Boric was elected as the country’s youngest president. He has pledged to eliminate student debt, hire the wealthy, reduce health care costs, reform the nation’s social security system and fight climate change. After the election, Jorkera thought, “Oh my God, we did it.”

It wasn’t just K-poppers, she said, “everyone was using what they thought most to support this campaign.”

In Brazil, where K-pop is very popular, BTS fans have used similar tactics to reach political supporters. Army Help the Planet, a group to fight climate change, first turned to voter registration ahead of the October 2022 presidential election. At the start of voter registration, 16- and 17-year-olds (voting is optional for them, although it’s mandatory for most citizens 18 and older) are at their lowest level in 30 years.

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