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Idol Marketing Competition Heats up among Korean Banks
BTS Installment Savings Launched
Idol Marketing Competition Heats up among Korean Banks
  • By Yoon Young-sil
  • June 15, 2018, 13:49
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A captured image of BTS-based advertisement of Kookmin Bank
A captured image of BTS-based advertisement of Kookmin Bank

Kookmin Bank is about to release a bankbook and check card endorsed by Korean boy band BTS. Thanks to the global popularity of the seven-piece group that has won the Billboard charts in the US, Kookmin Bank’s release of new products based on BTS is gaining attention.

Kookmin Bank plans to launch “BTS Installment Savings” this month, together with a BTS bankbook and a BTS check card. The release of the product is scheduled to be after June 21, with the exact date yet to be decided.

Earlier this year, Kookmin Bank hired BTS as its new model under its business strategy to pursue digital and global banking. The bank has strengthened digital channels by releasing BTS advertisements through Liiv, its digital banking app, as well as YouTube and Facebook since February. It is now going one step further by releasing a BTS-based product.

On the first day the bank released BTS’ teaser video clip on Liiv last February, the number of new subscribers to the app surpassed 6,500, which is 2.5 times the daily average of 3,000 subscribers. With the news about the release of BTS bank products, the bank says customers’ inquiries are pouring in each branch.

With the release of the BTS-based products, the competition of idol marketing is becoming ever more heated in the financial circle. Shinhan Bank, which hired Wanna One as its official model, launched the SOL Deep Dream Check Card with the theme of Wanna One last March. The bank recorded over 50,000 in advance booking, and sold 94,300 cards as of late last month.

A captured image of Shinhan Bank’s Wanna One advertisement on YouTube
A captured image of Shinhan Bank’s Wanna One advertisement on YouTube

The idol marketing war in the banking industry was sparked by Industrial Bank of Korea (IBK), which launched the G Dragon Check Card in February. The check card was designed by GD Dragon himself. Back then, fans waited in a long line to get the “GD special limited package” in front of the bank. As of late last month, more than 70,000 cards were issued.

The reason banks are so enthusiastic about idol-based advertisement is to secure future customers. It is to gain customers in 10 years and 20 years and to get rid of the existing conservative image of banks.

An official from a commercial bank said, "Idle models are becoming a trend in recent years as they can create contacts with young customers and maximize the promotional effect of various digital banking products."

On the other hand, LG Electronics played a video clip supporting BTS on the billboard of New York Times Square from June 10 to 12. The video features a celebration of the 5th anniversary of the band and an advertisement that the members introduce G7 ThinQ smartphone from the company.

A video clip of LG Electronics supporting BTS on New York Time Square
A video clip of LG Electronics supporting BTS on New York Time Square

BTS has been modeling for as G7 ThinQ since last April. LG Electronics had selected artists that only manias prefer as advertising models in their previous products such as G6, but since G7 ThinQ, it hired idol groups with broader contacts with the public. LG Electronics plans to strengthen its marketing through ads based on BTS and social network services (SNS).