From PCs to glow sticks, K-pop fans create next-level campaign merchandise for Robredo

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Manila, Philippines – According to a 2021 Twitter report, the Philippines ranks third among the countries with the most K-pop fans in the world, even beating South Korea.

And it wasn’t until 2021, too, when, for the first time in Philippine politics, Filipino fans of South Korean artists came together to show their support for a presidential candidate.

Since the establishment of KPOP STANS 4 LENI in October 2021, the group of volunteers (composed of fans from different generations of K-pop actors) has channeled their passion towards a common cause: campaigning for the presidential candidacy of the vice-president Leni Robredo, “K-pop style.”

They did hours of mass reporting, mass broadcasting and giveaways – online activities common to most K-pop fandoms – and even held offline events when campaign season officially began. in February 2022. At almost every step of the Leni Robredo-Kiko Pangilinan tandem campaign, KPOP STANS 4 LENI members are seen with their favorite glow sticks and photocards – with Pangilinan’s wife and fellow K-pop fan, actress Sharon Cuneta, even receive several of these photocards.

And even after these many pakulo, they’re taking their campaign to the next level yet again: crafting Robredo-themed glow sticks and photocards to use as K-pop-inspired campaign paraphernalia.

“It’s no secret that K-pop fans are very ~extra~ in the projects we do, and that extraness has definitely carried over to the campaign,” said Majo, a core member of the group. , to Rappler.

The Rad Love Merch Kit

” If we want [reach] young people and other voters, we need to find a witty, unique and effective way to spread information in the campaign for [Robredo]“, Ae, another member of KPOP STANS 4 LENI, explained.

Another member, Zee, added, “Our reason for being part of the ‘For Leni’ movement is to represent K-pop fans in the campaign, which means we will also run our campaign in K-pop style. ”

Taking inspiration from the membership kits that K-pop groups have for their fanclubs, the Rad Love Merch Kit features a handful of custom items – fans, face masks, mask straps, phone holders, banners and posters. And of course, it wouldn’t be a K-pop kit if it weren’t for glow sticks and photo cards.

For non-K-pop fans, photocards are printed photos of their idols, while glowsticks share the same function as flashlights, but are customized to fit an act’s aesthetic. of K-pop.

According to KPOP STANS 4 LENI, the kit’s name comes from a combination of ITZY’s “Crazy Love” concept, Key’s song title “Bad Love,” and Robredo’s. Radikal na Pagmamahal slogan. The kit aims to 1) increase the visibility and representation of the group; 2) campaign for Robredo, as the kit’s inclusions double as campaign props; and 3) fundraising, with net proceeds from the project going to the group’s ongoing campaigning efforts.

Zee said the inclusions were designed by the group’s creative team, with the entire production process taking around two months as the light stick was sourced from outside the Philippines. The production and shipment schedule was also affected by the Chinese New Year holiday and the outbreak of COVID-19 overseas.

The group has reached around 200 orders, and more and more people are still inquiring about the possibility of having another batch of kits. But the group clarified that it would not manufacture another batch.

Nakakataba ng puso (It warms our hearts) that many [buyers] really enjoyed the job and the time we have [put into constructing] the kit itself.… Even non-K-pop fans, locals, natutuwa sila sa ganitong pakulo kasi (are happy with things like this because) it connects a lot of people with different kinds of campaign strategies, who share the same denominator of wanting positive change now,” Ae said.

Some buyers even received photo cards signed by Robredo herself. KPOP STANS 4 LENI members had already contacted Robredo People’s Council.

Kisses, a 28-year-old SNSD and IU fan, bought the kit as a show of support. “For me, this kit is a clear indication that we’re not just here for our idols, but we’re also here to make a change.”

Tris, a 23-year-old TWICE fan, added, “I’m glad that [through this]we have a chance to express our love for K-pop and support Vice President Leni Robredo at the same time.

28-year-old MAMAMOO fan Iris shared that collecting merchandise like this is exciting for K-pop fans like her. “Not only did the kit bring me happiness but [I was also] happy that the proceeds of the sale are put to good use. She added that initiatives like this are a way to make the campaign “more fun and encouraging”. “Yes [fans like us] we can provide tremendous effort and support to our K-pop idols, we can also do the same with our chosen contestants.

‘Laenis’ all over the Philippines

Similar to how most K-pop groups have official names for their fans, KPOP STANS 4 LENI also dubbed their members “Laenis.” And within three months of the campaign season, Laenis all over the Philippines have made their presence known.

“When we started as K-POP STANS 4 LENI, we just wanted to represent the K-pop stans who support Leni Robredo’s presidential candidacy, and let it be known that even though we love foreign music, it does not mean that we are not patriots and are not aware of what is happening in our own country,” Zee said.

“But somehow the community has grown exponentially and we’re not just a community of K-pop fans coming together for a cause anymore; we have become that force and movement that even non-K-pop fans rely on.

Majo echoed the sentiment, saying that by following Robredo’s election campaign, their group unwittingly established local chapters across the country. “Amazingly, even when we don’t have a volunteer group in a locality, we would still be tagged in photos and sometimes donors still show up to donate items. We don’t need to invite people, they already know the drill.

At nearly every campaign stop, Laenis performs K-pop fandom activities such as random game dances and K-pop glowstick group photos. “Local volunteers are the brains of these pakulo and they are, just like the aespa song, next level,” Majo said.

At Robredo and Pangilinan’s campaign rally in Pasig, Ahgases 4 Leni, fans of K-pop group GOT7 who support Robredo, even held a coffee truck and headline event. They said it was inspired by the coffee truck that fans send to artists or actors they admire whenever there’s something to celebrate, like birthdays or new shows.

KPOP STANS 4 LENI is also hosting a national event in time for Robredo’s birthday, with participants from Metro Manila, Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. At cupsleeve events, attendees buy a drink and, in exchange, also receive personalized fandom kits.

The national Cupsleeve event will be a testament to the group’s reach. But while this activity is already a feat in itself, the group teases that they have even more events planned. “We have always maintained that KPOP STANS 4 LENI is a collective. We identify as our own fandoms, but come together as Laenis,” Majo said. – Rappler.com

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