This is part 2 of a two part feature. Read part 1 here.
MANILA, Philippines – For the 2022 polls, thousands of Filipino K-pop multi-stans are putting on a show of force not to support the return of an idol group but to mount a political campaign.
When Vice President Leni Robredo ended her long discernment and announced that she was running, a “spark” lit up among six longtime Kpop fans. On the same day, Kpop Stans 4 Leni was launched.
The group’s debut (Read: First tweet) was a multi-camera view of Robredo announcing his intention to overlap a MAMA fancam from BTS, GOT7 and ITZY standing up to cheer him on.
This has garnered over 5,000 retweets and 10,000 favorites.
[????] # KPOPSTANS4LENI START
Mabuhay! Kami from KPOP STANS 4 LENI – is a group of Filipino K-pop fans who are subordinate to all fandoms who are the same for everyone @lenirobredo, for the Philippines!
LET LENI LEAD US TO THE NEW WORLD! pic.twitter.com/yJKNGy5zdc
– KPOP STANS 4 LENI (@ KPOPSTANS4LENI) October 7, 2021
This is just a glimpse of what the Kpop Stans 4 Leni group, made up of thousands of people, is preparing to support their candidate: a Kpop campaign style.
Achieve That Perfect All Kill
The Facebook group said a bold statement from “Leni Unnie” (Korean term for young women to older women) as president. On Twitter, where trending hashtags are mostly dominated by K-pop-related topics, the group says they are aiming to achieve a Perfect-All-Kill for the 2022 presidential election.
Perfect All Kill (PAK) is an achievement of Kpop groups that simultaneously reach # 1 in Realtime, Daily and Weekly Leaderboards.
To do this, Majo * says the group is studying how to âbest integrate campaigns and Kpopâ.
She explains that not all Korean activities can be used for their purpose of campaigning for a candidate. Let’s say fans who send a coffee truck to their filming idols won’t work during campaign seasons. The coffee truck would bear the faces and names of their idols and serve drinks to everyone on the crew tray.
âWhat will this bring to the elections? We can’t do it just because it’s Korean or K-pop, âadds Majo, as she points out,â You also have to line up, it’s ultimately campaigning. “
At this point, barely a month since Robredo declared his intention to run, the Kpop Stans 4 Leni are still making plans on what practices or activities to adopt for their campaign.
Majo says they plan to host events on cup sleeves (where the candidate’s face will be put on the cup sleeves), fundraising for merch (Kpop sells a variety of products from shirts to towels , through hangers) and community pantries.
The core team of Kpop Stans 4 Leni is made up of students and young professionals, who have been in the workforce for a few years. Majo says their group operates as a collegiate organization, divided into several teams. She directs the externs. A creative team receives requests, in a dedicated form, for infographic. Turning around would take a day or two.
But she explains that those K-pop campaign activities are all on hold at the moment. âWe cannot put our ideas in one basket at the moment. We have to make sure people don’t get tired of supporting, so we take the time to plan things, âadds Majo.
The online space is ours
A few years ago, Kpop was thriving on a niche audience, but with the rise in global popularity of their Korean culture, fans dominated virtual spaces as well. Fans regularly check Facebook groups, join Twitter trends, and never forget to stream their favorites’ MVs.
Their long hours on several social media spaces gave them an understanding of how to better disseminate their campaign.
“We have a team dedicated specifically to social media and fighting these platformsâ¦ So these will be different approaches, so we’re trying to understand how each of these platforms works in order to find the best way to attack them.” , said Majo.
For Facebook, a team is helping remove accounts that share fake news. On the TikTok video-sharing app, Majo says they’re looking to “stream Leni’s content.”
For Stan twitter, trending hashtags are a must-have for every birthday, idol anniversary, or comeback birthday. For the elections, Majo says they have launched a trending campaign: Time for Mass Reporting.
âWe thought there was a need because disinformation, fake news and revisionism are rampant and we should be doing it,â she explains.
âWe’re throwing around ideas that maybe we should do it every week, once a month. But it has become evident that it has to be a daily thing. This has to be the case, âshe adds.
When the clock strikes 8:00 p.m., the group and their host of volunteers en masse report accounts or messages that spread fake news and disinformation. They also encourage fans outside of their group to do this and to âkeep being good stansâ.
The election won’t be the first time K-pop fans have demonstrated force to rally to a cause.
Before the pandemic, fans would also donate on behalf of their idols. Plots of land for planting trees had been purchased; wreaths of rice were displayed outside concert halls which would eventually be donated to charities under their idol’s name.
Kpop idols and actors themselves regularly donate to causes or charities.
At the start of the lockdown, local kpop fandoms sent food packages to frontliners. On their packaging, EXO faces waved to tired healthcare workers before enjoying their hot meals.
When community pantries came into being, the Philippine ARMY (fandom of the juggernaut group BTS) adorned their food tables in purple (the group’s color). Apparently he would like Jin, Suga, J-Hope, RM, Jimin, V, and Jungkook to donate the free rice and food.
Majo says their group knows the best they can offer is their online workforce.
âWe have a group of volunteers helping us, but the people who spread the word are basically anyone who might not be in the volunteer group or the Facebook group,â she says.
“They are right there and they are Kpop stans for Leni or for better governance,” she adds.
And for the 2022 polls, they know it will come out of online spaces, their stronghold.
âOur instructions for you are to do it, in your families or with your own group of friends, but we’ll just share it through online support. We’re asking people on Twitter to talk to a friend today and listen to why they want to vote this kind of person, âshe said.
âThe intention is to get the word out online as if it’s our communication platform, but the call to action is offline,â she adds.