Korean Pop artists are key in creating social movements through their popularity to advocate for peace between the two North Korea and South Korea a factor that is important for many Korean brands with interests in North Korea. Many Korean brands view the Korean Pop Korean Pop artists as a marketing tool and are sponsoring events with the aim of creating a good brand image in the potential North Korea market and the South Korea market. Korean Pop ambassadors performing in North Korea a country that has been isolated not only by their immediate neighbors but also the international community increases the knowledge of different brands from South Korea through sponsorship. The efforts of K-Pop to extend their music concerts and cultural entertainment to North Korea will play a significant role in reducing tension between the two countries ahead of the North Korea and the South Korea summit which aims at brokering peace between the two countries which will help South Korean brands that have been infamous amongst North Koreans during the decades of tension.
Korean Pop artists are very popular and draw millions of fans in both the south and the North of the Korean Peninsula. Due to their popularity, the Korean Pop idols can create a social movement especially amongst the young people by influencing there thinking and the pacifying the virtual hatred and suspicion that has existed between the countries for generations since the Korean War. Previously in many decades the south and the North Koreans despite sharing common culture and geography have not been able to interact socially, and the age of tension and suspicion seems to be coming to an end due to the reception of Korean Pop Idols music in North Korea which will have a significant role in creating acceptability of the Korean brands. The social movements being created by the Korean Pop artists will be able to push the leaders of the two countries to come together and agree to a common solution on how to end decades of suspicion and bring stability and economic development in the entire Korea Peninsula. According (Cheng, Jonathan), K-Pop concerts in the demilitarized zones aim at creating normalcy and a calm business environment which will play a significant role in reducing the negative ideologies that have negative impacts on Korean brands in North Korea.
Because of k-pop's overwhelming presence domestically and internationally, k-pop idols have the capability of reaching a wide audience regarding marketing, diplomacy, and social changes. The likability of the k-pop idols and the positive image that they reflect make them a great source of marketing. Many organizations, including the conglomerates and the South Korean government, use this opportunity to associate themselves with the k-pop groups to promote their products, brands, and ideas (Liu).
One of the primary ways in which various organizations tie themselves to a k-pop group is by sponsoring or appointing them as ambassadors. The term (pronounced hong-bo-dae-say), which translates to the ambassador in English, is a very widely used term in Korean society to describe those in charge of endorsement or promotion of an organization or product. Recently, the South Korean Olympic committee appointed Korean Pop artists as ambassadors to bring attention to the games in February. Lee Kyusang, who was in charge of honorary ambassador management at the Olympics, stated that "K-pop is one of the most well-known and successful Korean cultures throughout the world... [So] appointing K-pop artists as honorary ambassadors have brought much attention to the games" (Liu). Among the many Korean Pop idols appointed to promote the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, was a girl group called AOA, or Ace of Angels. They first debuted in 2012 and is currently a six-member group with a large international fan base, predominantly in other Asian countries. For that reason, they even "traveled to Jakarta last November [in 2017] with the South Korean President Moon Jae-in to promote the Olympics and meet fans" (Liu).
Another Korean Pop idol involved with the promotion of the Winter Olympics was Taeyang, a member of a boy band called Big Bang which was "the first k-pop act to feature on Forbes' prestigious Celebrity 100 list" (Ly). Alongside AOA, he was an honorary ambassador appointed by the organizing committee. His major focus, however, was the promotion and endorsement of the games to "reach out to a younger audience... to engage and excite around winter sports" (Ly). With a whopping 9 million followers on Instagram, a popular social media platform, Taeyang was seen as a k-pop idol who could widely promote the Winter Olympics to the younger generation simply with a social media post. Similar to the Winter Olympics, other governmental organizations and non-governmental organizations also appoint k-pop idols as ambassadors for endorsement and promotional purposes. Korea Tourism along with organizations, such as Korea Youth Association and Korea Girls Scouts, all have their own K-pop groups as the face of their organization. A boy band called BTOB was recently appointed in February of 2018, to promote tourism in Korea, which had previously been done by the group Big Bang.
The K-Pop Idols and the Korean National Television efforts of organizing the annual DMZ peace concert continue to play a significant role in promoting different brands that are involved in the planning and implementation of the annual concert. The annual DMZ Peace Concerts which celebrates the liberation of both the North and South Korea from the rule of Japan has an important cultural significance to the two countries. Pointing at the common history and the influence of the K-Pop Idols publicity in the region plays a significant ambassadorial role for South Korea to reach out to the potential market in North Korea. Most of the young Koreans have been born in the age of division, and most don't care about the unification of the North and South nor are they aware of the countries shared history due to the previous control of the media by the North Korean regime which made it difficult to air or promote South Korean brands. Therefore, the role of K-Pop Idols in sustainable peace in the Korean peninsula is beyond their music as marketing tool which will open up the Korean market further for the Korean brands. The annual concert uses the phrase "Again Peace" which indicates the K-Pop role in the future of North Korea and South Korea sustainable peace and creation of a favorable business environment (Cheng, Jonathan).
In the recent Seoul`s diplomatic efforts, the Korean Pop musicians were included in a concert that was attended by the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and the K-Pop idols were sponsored by business brands that gained significant publicity. The Korean Pop girl group Red Velvet and the singers Cho Yong-pil and Lee Sun-hee are amongst the artists who performed in the South Korean Pop music delegation concert in Pyongyang and they are sponsored by South Korean cloth designers which further creates market for the South Korean brands. The attendance of Kim Jong Un has significantly elevated the Korean Pop idols especially in North Korea and will increase their popularity and acceptability amongst the masses in North Korea which will increase their social influence and the popularity of the brands they are associated with. Korean brands that sponsor the K-Pop artists will gain fame as well which is beneficial to the brands. The Korean Pop concerts come near the two countries leaders' summit which will attract significant goodwill and commitment of the leaders towards coexistence and peace between the two countries which can be a beginning of a potential open market in North Korea for the South Korean brands. After the show, Kim Jong Un posed for a group picture with the Pop artists who performed at the event. The concert is the first of its kind in a decade in Pyongyang and will play a significant role in creation a social movement by changing the beliefs of people which can awaken the people to increase demand of certain brands previously not allowed in North Korea (Baynes, Chris).
Music has a significant role in easing tension by pacifying negative attitudes and also can be used as a promotion tool for the Korean brands. K-Pop music continues to attract thousands of young Koreans to their concerts which are influencing communication and understanding between Koreans and will help create awareness of the brands that are featured in the concerts as sponsors. Korean pop is currently playing a significant role to create a common identity and appeal to the people of North Korea of the importance of peaceful coexistence. The number of Korean Pop performances around the demilitarized zone and Pyongyang has increased recently which seeks to create more social influence to call for a peaceful Korean Peninsula that has been divided and this will only help brands to penetrate the North Korean market and also improve public image of the brands in South Korea. The Korean pop artists can help South Korea to engage the North Korean people into accepting their goodwill and end the decades of animosity between the two countries. Already, the K-pop has become popular in both the south and North Korean media and will attract a good response from the people towards brands that support the K-Pop artists. Many organizations will continue to use the K-Pop artists as brand ambassadors due to their fame in the Korean peninsula.
Baynes, Chris. K-pop diplomacy: Kim Jong-un attends as South Korean stars perform the first concert in North for 13 years. Independent. April 1, 2018.
Cheng, Jonathan. Seoul's Diplomatic Overture to North Korea Features K-Pop. World/Asia. The Wall Street Journal. April 1, 2018.
Liu, Marian. "K-Pop Stars Battle for the Olympic Spotlight." CNN, Cable News Network, 8 Feb. 2018, www.cnn.com/2018/02/07/asia/k-pop-Olympics-aoa-intl/index.html.
Ly, Elaine. "K-Pop Star Taeyang Lends Support to 2018 Winter Olympics." CNN, Cable News Network, 9 Nov. 2017, www.cnn.com/2017/06/21/sport/big-bang-taeyang-south-korea-Pyeongchang-winter-olympics/index.html.
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