Why Are Americans Souring On Asian Investment?

Frank Ahrens, head of BGR Analytics, examines why Americans are souring on foreign investment.

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BGR Views: Frank Ahrens Interviews AFP Correspondent Shaun Tandon

Frank Ahrens and Shaun Tandon talk about how U.S. journalists cover foreign affairs and foreign countries from Washington D.C.

BGR PR Principal Frank Ahrens on Hyundai’s use of K-pop Superstars BTS Branding Power


September 1, 2020

By Frank Ahrens

Hyundai Motor could not have better-timed the announcement that it is turning its little-known trio of Ioniq cars into a sub-brand. Why? Because the brand has partnered with K-pop superstar group BTS, which is basically the biggest thing in entertainment on the planet at this moment.

On September 1, BTS and Hyundai debuted a music video called, “Ioniq: I’m On It,” designed to promote the new sub-brand, which was launched in August.

Song lyrics include: “Full energy/higher esteem/better focus on what’s charging me.” So far, it has nearly 1 million views. This may seem like a lot, but BTS does these kinds of numbers before breakfast.

The Korean group launched its first English-language music video, “Dynamite,” on August 20. In the first 24 hours, it logged 101 million views, breaking a YouTube record. By September 1, the video had 269 million views. Yes — more than one-quarter of a billion. BTS are not just the most popular K-Pop band; they are among the most popular groups in the world. “Dynamite” recently won multiple trophies at MTV’s Video Music Awards, beating out Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift. BTS fans – known as the BTS ARMY — are global, multi-racial, attuned to social justice issues and are political activists.

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What Does K-pop Have to Do With U.S. Politics? Plenty

Real Clear Politics

June 26, 2020

Maybe the first time you heard of K-pop fans, or maybe even K-pop music, was in the wake of President Trump’s campaign rally last weekend in Tulsa, Okla. But it will not be the last.

TikTokkers came up with the idea of ordering thousands of tickets to Trump’s rally with no intention of showing up, in hopes of making the arena embarrassingly empty. Whether the TikTokkers or COVID-19 was the reason for low turnout is up for debate. What is clear, however, is that K-pop fans took the TikTokkers’ idea and signal-boosted it across social media with lightning speed and algorithm-savvy tactics. It was only the most recent of a number of social media disruptions caused by K-pop fans, which I believe will increase, especially as the presidential election draws closer.

Loosely, K-pop is the term given to pop music created by artists from South Korea, typically by what are erroneously referred to as boy bands and girl bands. (These are grown men and women.) The songs’ lyrics are mostly in Korean with some English words. But that has proven no inhibitor to the genre’s worldwide growth. The beats and grooves are universally appealing, the artists’ choreography is spellbinding, and the artists themselves, by and large, tend to project an agreeable, even wholesome persona and are increasingly associated with charitable causes. Like any musical genre, the songs cover the range of emotions, but much of the music is positive and affirming. This is music you can dance to AND feel good about supporting, as opposed to wallowing in whiny emo rock or bloodying your head with nihilistic metal.

But you don’t really need to know about K-pop music. It’s the K-pop fans you need to worry about. If you’re involved in politics, government, advocacy or communications and you don’t know about K-pop fans, then you’re engaging in professional malpractice.

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In Coronavirus Crisis, South Korea Shows How Government PR is Done

PR News

March 16, 2020


At its core PR is about relating information to the public. Few governments are doing that better than South Korea as it battles coronavirus.

South Korea wouldn’t think of its transparency and rapid communication of information as public relations. But PR pros recognize South Korea’s use of openness and transparency. They would admire its tactics, speed and technology.

Outside of China and Italy, coronavirus has hit no country harder than South Korea. More than 82,00 cases are reported (as of March 16, 2020). Fortunately, new cases have been trending down in recent days.

Communications Helping

The nation’s success against the virus is attributable in part to the varied, transparent and innovative ways the government has been communicating. Importantly, the communication is aimed at citizens and foreigners living in the country. Some highlights:

The Korean Centers for Disease Control conducts twice-daily briefings in English. In addition, it is offering daily updates in English. Seoul-based international media has lauded these briefings.

Every campaign needs a slogan. The country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs created one based on the acronym TRUST. Some of the language is clunky (as in any document a committee creates), but it effectively outlines five pillars of the government’s response.

Testing and Convenience

Testing also has played a major role. The nation of 51 million has conducted more than 222,000 tests, far more than any other country – including China – per capita. South Korea has made testing free for anyone who wants a test and has made it convenient.

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