Could K-pop supergroups go West for brands?

News that Girls Generation, a K-pop phenomenon in Asia, are staging an all out assault of the US market, got us thinking today. Why aren’t there any Western all girl super groups? And is the marketing world worse off for it when it comes to endorsement opportunities and brand activations?

As the group gear up for the first big US show on 23rd October at Madison Square Gardens, we can’t help wondering if we are missing an opportunity here in the West. Ok, so we had Girls Aloud as the UK’s endorsement stalwart for a number of years, and the Saturdays have certainly dabbled with innumerable brand partnerships. However, Girls Generation are on a whole different plain - largely due to how they perceive their artist brand.

Many of the reasons may be purely cultural, but the nine member strong Korean band/brand have not only secured a massive fan base since their 2007 debut -notching up 1.5 million Facebook fans and standing shoulder to shoulder with western acts with 150 million cumulative views on YouTube – but they have also become a stalwart brand draw.

The girls have partnered up with the lies of Intel, LG, Nintendo, Domino’s  Pizza, Christian Dior, 7-Eleven, Lipton tea and most recently the J.Estina handbag range. It’s all very much in the blatant TVC arena, but that’s not to say groups styled in the same vein couldn’t be focused on broader activations in the West.

The key lesson here is in how Girls Generation perceive their artist brand, which has been likened to that of a global company, thanks in part to their successful launch into the Japanese market. Whether they can do the same in the US remains to be seen. Whether the brand can be replicated successfully by others is another matter entirely, but we think its only a matter of time before girl groups in the West start looking East, as brand integration becomes an increased necessity for music labels.

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