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The consequences of K-pop idols’ mbassadorships: From class division to excessive teen consumption

As the global K-pop craze continues to rise, the competition among luxury brands worldwide to appoint K-pop idols as ambassadors is intensifying

Ambassadors play a role in activities such as collections, fashion shows, photoshoots, and promoting brands through social media. Unlike regular models, they are often recruited to elevate the brand’s image. Now, the appointment of luxury ambassadors has become commonplace in Kpop, showcasing the luxurious atmosphere of idols.

Luxury brands eagerly recruiting K-pop Idols as Ambassadors 

In 2016, BIGBANG’s G-Dragon was selected as Chanel House Ambassador 2016, followed by BLACKPINK’s Jennie, who gained the nickname “Human Chanel” during her activities as a Chanel ambassador.

Overall, BLACKPINK basically kickstarted the “ambassador trend” within K-pop, as all members, including Jisoo (Dior), Rosé (Saint Laurent), and Lisa (Celine) became luxury ambassadors.  

This strategy is considered a “win-win”, as an ambassadorship allows idols to acquire a luxurious image, while brands can absorb the youthful and trendy vibe unique to K-pop.

Chanel ambassador Jennie at the Met Gala

Now, the age range of luxury ambassadors is gradually decreasing. Within 9 months of debut, rookie girl group NewJeans had all its members selected as luxury brands ambassadors. Meanwhile, SM Entertainment’s rookie group RIIZE became the ambassador for luxury brand Louis Vuitton just 98 days after debut, creating a buzz.

le sserafim
Girl group LE SSERAFIM as Louis Vuitton ambassadors

In addition, IVE’s Jang Wonyoung was officially appointed as the ambassador for Miu Miu and Fred, while IVE’s Ahn Yujin became Fendi’s ambassador. aespa were ambassadors for Givenchy and now for Chopard. Meanwhile, BTS’s J-Hope and Stray Kids’ Felix are serving as ambassadors for Louis Vuitton, BTS’s Jimin and Tomorrow X Together (TXT) are global ambassadors for Dior, and Stray Kids’ Hyunjin is a global ambassador for Versace, and EXO’s Kai collaborated with Gucci to release various products.

Luxury goods worn by Idols are sold out by young idols and young consumers

The reason luxury brands actively seek idols is to enhance their brand preference by combining the brand’s sophistication with the idols’ trendy and youthful image, leading to increased sales among the core K-pop fan base of the 10-20 age group.

In fact, this effect has been proven multiple times through BLACKPINK’s Jisoo, BTS’s V, NCT’s Jaehyun, and BTS’s Jungkook, among others, as luxury items worn by them are constantly sold out.

j hope
BTS’s J-hope for Louis Vuitton

Regarding this, an official from the fashion industry said, “As the MZ generation’s luxury goods consumption surged last year, luxury brands also seem to prefer younger idol members as ambassadors. The number of young stars and influencers promoting their products in various media, including SNS, has also increased significantly.”

Teenage luxury goods consumption increase

As more and more young idols take on ambassadorship roles, however, there have been concerns about excessive luxury consumption in teenagers. 

aespa’s Karina

In some cases, teenagers, who are inspired by their favorite stars, will work part-time or seek parental assistance to buy products from brands that their favorite idols endorse, reflecting the growing influence of idols in shaping consumer behavior.

Meanwhile, teens who find it difficult to engage in luxury consumption compared to their peers may feel a relative sense of deprivation.

“Class division” among idols

On the other hand, many fans are considering luxury brand ambassadorships as a criteria to divide “class” among idols. In particular, idols have become ambassadors more often, but most of them are concentrating on large agencies, causing a division. 

Additionally, fans also divide the “class” of idols based on the price of brands they represent, and the more expensive, the better. The name of the brand and the duration of ambassadorship are also considered for this “class division”.

This puts a strain on small and medium-sized agencies, who struggle to receive sponsorships from luxury brands. There would also be many complaints from fans asking, “Why don’t our members wear luxury goods?”

In conclusion, the collaboration between K-pop idols and luxury brands as ambassadors is reshaping the dynamics of both the entertainment and fashion industries. The ongoing trend emphasizes the symbiotic relationship between idols and luxury brands, as both parties benefit from the unique appeal and influence of each other. However, concerns about excessive luxury consumption among teenagers and the impact on fan perception of idol “class” underscore the need for responsible brand endorsements and thoughtful planning in the evolving landscape of idol ambassadorships.

Source: naver

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