Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard of “Ice Cream“, the highly anticipated collaboration between the popular K-pop girl group BLACKPINK and international pop star Selena Gomez that was released on Aug. 28. BLACKPINK fans (more popularly known as BLINKS), however, were surprised when an “Ice Cream” dance performance video also came out after the music video.
This wasn’t the usual dance performance video K-pop fans are used to, however, but instead a virtual one created using the South Korean 3D avatar social network ZEPETO.
Virtual fansign event
BLINKS were even more shocked when it turned out that the “Ice Cream” dance video included an avatar of Selena, dancing in all her animated glory with Jisoo, Jennie, Rosé, and Lisa.
Adding to the virtual excitement, BLACKPINK’s music company YG Entertainment and ZEPETO also launched a virtual fansign event to celebrate the launch of the “Ice Cream” dance performance video. After all, this was SELPINK’s historic first performance on ZEPETO.
It’s great to see BLACKPINK embracing digital with this innovative event, where fans can collect 36 autographs on ZEPETO in order to get virtual and real-life rewards.
As I’ve previously said in this column, K-pop fans are already living in the virtual world. The COVID-19 pandemic has only accelerated the digital transformation that has been taking place for years now. So you can expect more virtual events such as this one and innovative use of technology such as the 3D avatar-powered “Ice Cream” dance performance video.
K-pop and gamification
Though I was late to the party and only started using ZEPETO this year, it’s become one of my favorite apps. This is thanks in no small part to ZEPETO’s collaboration with BLACKPINK, which is my favorite K-pop group.
ZEPETO, which is available for both iOS and Android devices, lets you create a 3D digital character called a Zepeto that is based on a picture of yourself. You can buy clothes and other items for your avatar, play games, and take 3D selfies with your friends.
As a BLINK, the biggest incentive for me is buying the BLACKPINK virtual merch on ZEPETO, and going to the BLACKPINK maps in the virtual world of ZEPETO.
I’ve always been a fan of gamification, and I love how the virtual fansign event is not only keeping fans engaged, but also encouraging us to keep watching the “Ice Cream” dance performance video.
As of this writing, I’ve already collected 32 of the 36 autographs. The remaining four I need to get are special autographs that will only be unlocked once the dance video reaches a certain number of views. In fact, there are five of these special autographs, but the first has been unlocked.
Expect the virtual to become even more real in the months and years to come. After all, we are living in a world where even the virtual pop group K/DA, which features the voices of SOYEON and MIYEON of K-pop girl group (G)I-DLE, is making a comeback.
And a world where the 12-member South Korean-Japanese girl group IZ*ONE will make use of AR (augmented reality) and XR (extended reality) in their Sept. 13 online concert to deliver a unique virtual experience.
How about you? Are you ready to embrace the virtual world?