With over three billion views and counting, the #PositiveEnergyChallenge was one of the most fun and eye-catching TikTok trends of the summer. Starting on World Environment Day and featuring collaboration with the popular Korean band BTS, this global campaign was launched by Korea's Global Business Solutions (GBS) team on behalf of Hyundai to promote awareness about hydrogen cars and environmental sustainability.
Since it's not every day that you get to manage a campaign with one of the world's hottest boy bands, we were eager to speak with two leaders of the project in our Korea office, Qmin Lee (Key Account Direct Sales) and Youngkyung Jo (Client Solutions). They shared with us their experiences working on the #PositiveEnergyChallenge and being part of the TikTok GBS team.
Qmin: "Working in Key Account Direct Sales, I communicate with our largest clients in the automotive and fashion verticals, often pitching proposals for new TikTok advertising solutions (which include hashtag challenges). For this particular project, Hyundai's marketing team came to me with the idea of working with BTS on a TikTok campaign, and I handled the initial legwork of forming a pitch, establishing the budget, and so on."
Youngkyung: "As a project manager on the GBS team, I'm primarily responsible for the execution of advertising campaigns. A big part of what I do is working with data: monitoring the performance of campaigns and organizing reports to help clients evaluate their success. Throughout the #PositiveEnergyChallenge campaign, I was communicating with Hyundai to make sure the content was in line with what they had envisioned, and that the message was reaching the right audiences."
Qmin: "Our primary goal for this campaign was to spread awareness among a younger demographic ("Gen Z") about hydrogen cars and Hyundai's vision for environmental sustainability in the future. Since BTS was already a global brand ambassador for Hyundai and had a significant following on TikTok, running a campaign with the band on our platform made a lot of sense. Looking back on it, my favorite moment of the project was when I got to shoot the TikTok videos of BTS myself. I've always been a huge BTS fan (ARMY!), so I nearly melted when I got to meet and work with them face-to-face!"
Youngkyung: "Unfortunately I missed the opportunity to meet BTS (which I regret!), but the major highlight of the project for me was the chance to spread such a positive message. The concept of 'positive energy' wasn't just about sharing positive vibes, but about teaching younger users that we should make efforts to find more sustainable energy sources. When I saw the hashtag draw nearly two billion views in the first 20 days, I was so happy that the message had resonated with our community."
Qmin: "This was a global campaign with a larger scope than anything we'd done before with a Korean company. We had no playbook or case studies to refer to when we were pitching the idea, and it took a lot longer to align all the stakeholders across various regions like the US, UK, and Japan. Since it was our first time trying something of this scale, I felt a lot of pressure to make it work so that we could set an example for future global projects."
Youngkyung: "As Qmin mentioned, this campaign was the first of its kind in the global market, so there was no manual for me to follow as the project manager. As the main organizer, it was my responsibility to check in every day with four regional points of contact in order to figure out how to accommodate the unique policies and branded effects for each region. This often involved working across multiple time zones to solve several issues at once, which made this campaign one of the most challenging I've done!"
Qmin: "You need to enjoy working in a fast-paced, dynamic environment. Especially on the GBS team, we have to keep up with TikTok trends that are changing rapidly in order to make relevant pitches to clients. We really have a start-up mentality, so you should also embrace taking ownership of new projects without an existing set of guidelines or instructions."
Youngkyung: "I agree with everything Qmin said here! I'll also add that you need to enjoy change and personal development. There's very little sense of hierarchy at TikTok and the structure is flexible, meaning you're constantly taking on different responsibilities and learning new skills. There are amazing opportunities to grow if you're willing to put aside your ego and work outside your usual comfort zone."
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