“”

This ARMY doesn’t wear a uniform. Unlike traditional fandom, the K-Pop band BTS built a huge base of support by championing the message that everyone must find their own personal taste and voice. And that inclusivity has tangible impact: a Trump rally pranked, $1 million raised for Black Lives Matter and shattered YouTube records.

IDENTITY
10
/10

Fans use BTS (an acronym for Bangtan Sonyeondan) merchandise and unique fashion statements to establish their place within the fan hierarchy (including roles like true fans, multi-fans or successful fans), as well as to express their own individual sense of identity.


SOCIAL CAPITAL
SOCIAL
CAPITAL
8
/10

K-Pop fans have long been known to self-categorize by creating, joining and maintaining various online K-Pop fan groups.

ONENESS
9
/10

There’s a place for everyone in this next-level fan club, which contributes to the remarkable density and cohesion of the BTS fanbase. They call themselves the ARMY, an acronym of Adorable Representative M.C. for Youth. Their transcendent self-acceptance message binds the participants across gender, age, nationality and religion. The supportive nature of the community and brand has led to self-organizing groups that accomplish tasks or work on behalf of BTS, from translating lyrics (job-like applications required) to running integrated media and advertising campaigns.

MOBILIZATION
10
/10

The level of organization the ARMY fosters enables BTS to collectively act and react as a single, strong entity. BTS made headlines for their mobilization against President Trump in a masterful prank that rallied Gen Z in the way only the digitally native generation can. ARMY fans booked thousands of tickets online for the Trump Tulsa rally and then did not show up, resulting in a near empty stadium. They also raised $1 million for Black Lives Matter, flooded hashtags #whitelivesmatter and #bluelivesmatter with pictures of their favorite K-Pop artists and memes, and broke YouTube records with a video that hit 100 million views in a single day.

BY THE
NUMBERS
BY THE NUMBERS

Big Hit Entertainment’s market value at their IPO on October 14, 2020 (7.8 trillion USD)

TikTok

The come-as-you-are platform with the algorithm that creates new and powerful connections.

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