BTS has launched its first exclusive pop-up store in 1 Utama Shopping Centre, featuring a range of merchandise available for purchase to the consumer. This pop-up store is in line with 1 Utama's expansion plans of bringing in a series of Korean attractions to its Korean-themed retail zone, District K, for shoppers.

Combining a brand experience and storytelling, the store's interior is set up into distinctive experiential zones that aims to take fans on a walk down memory lane, showcasing the different eras of BTS's music career. Each zone is also specifically decorated to recreate BTS music video sets and corresponding tracks from the band's most popular albums. 

After a regional run from South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines, Malaysia was selected as the fifth country to feature the showcase and will set to end on 31 January 2022. While 1 Utama declined to comment on the ROI or sales and target it hopes to generate from this pop-up store, its spokesperson told A+M that it will be using an umbrella marketing strategy for the pop-up. "The umbrella marketing strategy is kept simple and subtle as there are some BTS brand guidelines to follow as this pop-up is a regional run," the spokesperson said.

The pop-up is a sensational marketing initiative by itself and exclusively showcased in 1 Utama so publicity is pretty much organic especially in the presence of the Malaysian ARMY and fans of BTS.

The pandemic has no doubt impacted retailers and shopping malls. Last year, 1 Utama rolled out an additional RM1 million for its retail stimulus package. These came in smart e-cash vouchers which are personalised to each qualified shopper’s shopping preferences. The mall had previously issued RM1 million in its first stimulus package during March 2020 before the Movement Control Order. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, 1 Utama said it has been aggressively rolling out various marketing initiatives such as promotions, redemption gifts and cashback to shoppers to encourage purchases. 


More recently, the Malaysian government has since eased restrictions, especially for the creative industry which was allowed to resume operations on 9 September. Just yesterday, National Recovery Council chairman and former PM, Muhyiddin Yassin, said 2022 is predicted to be a recovery year for Malaysia's economy but the journey can be "prolonged and a painful process", The Edge Markets reported.

For 1 Utama, its spokesperson said it marketing plans for 2022 would be to drive its 1PAY e-wallet for contactless shopping and ONESHOP for online shopping and focus less on on-ground events due to limits placed by the government.

This is not the first time that BTS has created a wave in Malaysia. Its most recent launch was the McDonald's BTS meal in May this year. It was reported that  long queues formed at McDonald's outlets   as fans flocked to purchase the meals.  Regional director of marketing, McDonald Asia, Eugene Lee, said previously that Malaysia is selling six times more BTS meals than it projected and the local team decided to hold off on influencer marketing because the response was overwhelming. 

In Indonesia, McDonald's Indonesia was asked by the Jakarta Metro Police to discontinue its BTS Meal after 32 outlets were found to have violated health protocols, the police said in a statement on its website. According to multiple media reports  including Reuters New York Times  and BBC, the limited-edition meal by the K-pop group resulted in a buying frenzy among fans.

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