How K-pop stans are shaping elections around the world

How K-pop stans are shaping elections around the world

How K-pop stans are shaping elections around the world

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In 2022, the group announced that they would be going on hiatus so that their members could focus on solo projects and complete their country’s mandatory military service for the next two years. But so far fans have remained loyal, showing up to stream, buy and support this solo work. With seven individual careers taking off, it’s possible the fandom will continue to grow.


Although BTS Army is the largest number, other K-pop fan groups are now engaging in similar social and political activities. Jorquera, whose favorite groups are BTS and EXO, points out that Kpopers for Boric was exactly that: a coalition of K-pop fans who follow different groups.

Chileans were inspired by what they learned from other successful K-pop campaigns: how to create viral social media posts, organize events to build community and connect people based on a common interest. . They also used iconography familiar to K-pop fandoms. Each K-pop group has a logo, and each fandom gets a 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 for Boric created a logo for the politician and adopted green as their signature shade.

They used images of K-pop idols in social media campaigns to gain traction. They sent an Uber to Boric’s campaign headquarters to deliver a cake decorated with the candidate’s face, a “Koya” keychain (featuring an animated koala that represents BTS leader RM), and photo cards inspired by the Boric’s K-pop, documenting it all in a TikTok video. The video spread, gaining 387,000 likes.

As they held coffeehouse events, printing 200 coffee mug sleeves with QR codes linked to voter information sites, Boric began incorporating K-pop into their campaign videos. The group even organized rides for voters on election day.

In December 2021, with record turnout, Boric was elected the country’s youngest president. He promised to cancel student debt, tax the rich, cut health care costs, overhaul the country’s social security system and fight climate change. After the election, Jorquera thought, “Oh my God, we did this.”

It wasn’t just the K-poppers, she admits: “Everyone used what mattered most to them to support this campaign.”

In Brazil, where K-pop is hugely popular, BTS fans have used similar tactics to reach out to apolitical fans. The Army Help the Planet group originally formed to fight climate change, but focused on voter registration ahead of the October 2022 presidential election. At the start of its voter registration campaign In elections, 16- and 17-year-olds (for whom voting is optional, although it is compulsory for most citizens aged 18 and over) were at their lowest level in 30 years.


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