It started with a single Tweet — a GIF of some luscious locks flowing and a clever hashtag. “Hey @Pantene, we have your new spokesperson! Look at that hair bounce #PanteneOppa” Tweeted radio station 103.7 KISS FM in Chattanooga, Tennessee. “That hair” belongs to DJ, musician, and record producer Steve Aoki.
While the hair is Aoki’s alone, the Tweet was the station’s invention. “Oppa” is a Korean term of endearment for a big brother. It was particularly apt for Aoki, who had recently collaborated with a world-dominating K-pop group on a new single.
The station’s Tweet caught the attention of one of the most active fanbases on Twitter — the #BTSARMY. The Army has created localized groups to rally the group’s fans around the world, share popular memes, and throw their support behind artists and brands who engage with their beloved band. And they were all over the #PanteneOppa moment, Tweeting at Pantene and Aoki to collab.
Pantene quickly joined the thread and sent Aoki and KISS FM #PanteneOppa care packages with signature Pantene products and a meme T-shirt, bringing the Twitter hashtag to life. Both recipients Tweeted about the IRL engagement and the conversation exploded. According to Twitter official data and advertising partner Sprinklr, there were more than 115,000 total mentions of #PanteneOppa with more than 20,000 BTS fans involved.
By jumping in with shareable memes and Tweets, Pantene was able to embed itself into the organic interactions between the #BTSARMY, Aoki fans, and Aoki himself. It’s like Aoki said, “For artists, an online fanbase is the best publicity machine you could ever think of. They will call radio stations demanding songs be played. They don’t just put it out there. They’re young but they are incredibly organized and intelligent.”
Powerful fandoms aren’t just born out of thin air, they’re built by uber-passionate fans who use Twitter to spread the word. Savvy brands, like Pantene, know how to integrate themselves into these fandoms — through memes, stan language, and the right references — to become part of the conversation.
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