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Starbucks’ BTS items selling out fast in Korea

Starbucks Korea’s recent collaboration with K-pop sensation BTS has made a brilliant start, with BTS-themed items flying off the shelves.

The coffee chain recently teamed up with the K-pop juggernaut to roll out a limited edition of BTS food, drinks and merchandise under a new initiative to support youth in South Korea dubbed “Be the Brightest Stars.”

The campaign kicked off Tuesday, and many stores had already sold out of the BTS items within a day. 

“This morning, we saw a queue of fans lining up at the stores and many of them were international fans. It was a pleasant surprise to see such a huge fan reaction. Merchandise is selling real fast,” a Starbucks Korea official said.

The lineup includes a beverage called “Blooming Purple Vin Chaud,” flavored with elderflowers, grape juice and fruit, as well as desserts with names such as “Blueberry Star Macaroon,” “Purple Berry Cheesecake,” “Purple Star Cupcake” and “Purple Pound Cake.” The merchandise includes mugs, glassware, key chains, and pouches for laptops and tablets.
All the items include purple, a color that is synonymous with BTS and reminiscent of a starry night sky. Customers can also listen to BTS’ “Make it Right” from the “Map of the Soul: Persona” album playing in stores to celebrate the collaboration.

Despite Starbucks Korea’s “one person, one item” rule, almost every store is out of merchandise, according to the Starbucks official. The key chains sold especially fast after the band’s Suga was seen sporting one. On social media, fans have been posting photos of their purchases, saying they had to line up early in the morning and even visit several stores to get hold of the hit merchandise. Some of the items are up for resale online at almost double the original prices.

Amid the craze, international fans are showing interest in the campaign too -- hoping the coffee company will take it worldwide.

“Starbucks is a global company. Please make it global,” wrote one online user. “I don’t even drink coffee, but I will go to Starbucks for the merchandises if you make it worldwide,” another user wrote.

When asked about the possibility of a global launch, the official said it was too early to say. He said the company would also need to discuss the issue with BTS’ agency, Big Hit Entertainment, adding that the two parties had collaborated closely from the very beginning, starting at the product development stage.

“After the promotion ends, we might be able to discuss making it global with Big Hit. Until then, we will have to collect data on overall customers’ satisfaction and reactions,” he said.

The campaign runs until Feb. 6. Part of the proceeds will go to the Beautiful Foundation, a Korean nonprofit organization, to support its Opportunity Youth Independence Project.

Meanwhile, BTS is gearing up for the release of its new album, “Map of the Soul: 7,” set to drop Feb. 21.
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