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'Star Wars' Meets K-Pop: How EXO Awakened The Force In Asia

By Staff Writer | December 15, 2015 11:47 AM EST

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One of the most popular franchises ever is set to release a new film, and the world is going crazy over it. So who is better to promote the latest "Star Wars" movie than K-pop's very own EXO?

"Star Wars: Episode VII- The Force Awakens" is set to be released in South Korea on Dec. 17, a day before its release in the United States. Ahead of the release, there have been some heavy promotions going on around the world. With Hollywood looking overseas, particularly towards Asia, to make major profits at box offices, tapping into K-pop's popularity to spread the word is a done deal.

Due to EXO's immense popularity in China, Japan, and Korea, it's no surprise that Disney looked to the group for a collaboration; anything featuring the nine-member boy band is sure to garner the attention of young movie-goers more so than any sort of traditional ad campaign.

We've seen Disney focus ad campaigns in South Korea before, including filming part of the latest "Avengers" film in Seoul. The company has worked with EXO's agency, SM Entertainment before; the Korean "Mickey Mouse Club" features SM Entertainment's trainees and is hosted by Leeteuk, the leader of the record label's successful pop act Super Junior.

Since the collaboration was announced, EXO released a music video for the song "Lightsaber," featuring the popular "Star Wars" weapon and Jedis, and also appeared in a Vogue photoshoot featuring "Star Wars" elements.

When it comes to popularity, there are very few things in the world as popular as "Star Wars." "Star Wars" is known for dedicated fans, but so is K-pop.

K-pop is no stranger to ad campaigns making the use of idols. One of the most well known K-pop ads was the campaign for LG's Cyon phone via the song "Lollipop," which featured Big Bang and introduced 2NE1 to Korean audiences for the first time. More and more films are making use of K-pop stars as promotional ambassadors, but EXO is the first to get involved with a film of such prominence.

By reaching out to EXO's already made fandom and sexual appeal, "Star Wars" has effectively gained the attention of millions of K-pop fans around the world; 14 days after its released on YouTube, EXO's "Lightsaber music video" had already been seen nearly 4 million times (the music video is now nearing 6 million).

The last "Star Wars" film, "Episode III: Revenge of the Sith" was released in 2005; EXO's Asian fanbase is typically considered to primarily include middle school and high school students, who have probably never seen "Star Wars" in theaters before. EXO's fans are known for being extremely loyal, and have led to countless sales records by the group.

By taking EXO and making them brand ambassadors, Disney has effectively unleashed EXO's fans on "Star Wars" ticket sales and promotional products, just to show their support of EXO.

EXO's latest tour, "EXO From EXOPLANET #2- The EXO'luXion" has sold out over 25 stops around Asia, with over 200,000 people in attendance, highlighting their popularity.

Taking one of Asia's most popular acts and transforming them into a promotional campaign for "Star Wars" ensures that younger audience-goers who are being introduced to the franchise for the first time can be eased into "Star Wars" via their own personal favorites, EXO.

The new song is similar enough to EXO's latest music, particularly their "EXODUS" album from earlier this year, that fans who may be disinterested in the "Star Wars" franchise and promotions will eat up the trap-heavy K-pop "Lightsaber."

Promoting "Star Wars" through techniques that have helped EXO in the past, like plot-driven music videos and glossy photo spreads, means that "Star Wars" is not only getting EXO's fans, but hijacking (in the best way possible) the K-pop phenomena that has taken the world by storm.

Along with their promotional power and raging fandom, EXO also debuted with a concept that placed them solidly in the "Star Wars" universe- EXO's members were purported to be supernatural aliens from an exoplanet who came to Earth.

Watch EXO's "Lightsaber" music video HERE.

Tagged :  EXO, Star Wars, Lightsaber

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