Filipino fans of boy band BTS raise $1,200 for food delivery driver

The Army quickly mobilised and managed to raise $1,200 in less than a day.
The Army quickly mobilised and managed to raise $1,200 in less than a day.PHOTO: BENJAMIN BAETIONG/FACEBOOK

SEOUL - When McDonald's BTS Meal was launched in the Philippines last Friday (June 18), fans of the South Korean mega band quickly took to ordering from various delivery platforms to get their hands on the limited-edition collaboration.

The surge in orders did not go unnoticed by one Foodpanda delivery man, Mr Benjamin Baetiong, who went on Facebook to thank BTS fans, known as Army, for providing work.

"BTS Meals are selling like crazy. We Foodpanda riders are very happy to deliver your BTS meal. That's why, to all BTS fans, go, go, go, go, keep ordering," he wrote last Friday.

A Twitter user then started a donation drive to give back to Mr Baetiong for his positive words, which were in contrast to homophobic slurs used by other delivery drivers, some of whom were subsequently suspended by Grab Philippines.

The Army quickly mobilised and, using the hashtag #ARMYMealProject, managed to raise 45,230.77 pesos (S$1,250) in less than a day.

The grateful Mr Baetiong posted: "Thank you very much for appreciating me and for the help I have received. This is a great help to my family, especially to my sick father."

The universal appeal of the septet has also seen it rise to the top of YouTube's advertising charts.

Their ad for South Korean car manufacturer Hyundai was revealed by the streaming platform as No. 1 for the year on its latest global advertising leaderboard.

The Hyundai spot, which was released in celebration of Earth Day 2020, features BTS members in natural settings for its global hydrogen campaign.

Even though the band members do not even sing in the commercial, their fans lapped it up and pushed it to more than 105 million views.

YouTube released its Cannes-to-Cannes Ads Leaderboard, a ranking of the top 10 most popular video ads globally, as measured between June 1, 2020, and May 30, 2021, this week at the Cannes Lions marketing festival.

Other celebrity-driven ads on the list include Amazon's ad at No. 3, featuring actor Michael B. Jordan as the embodiment of voice assistant Alexa; and Switzerland Tourism at No. 7, with tennis star Roger Federer persuading a reluctant Robert De Niro to make a film in the Swiss Alps.

At No. 8 is another South Korean ad. The spot by Korean Tourism Organization showcased parts of the country in a collaboration with South Korean alt-pop band Leenalchi and the Ambiguous Dance Company.

Other ads in the top 10 hail from the United States (Nike, Supercell), Egypt (Orange Egypt) and India (Oppo, Apple, Vodafone Idea).

Correction note: An earlier version of this story had the incorrect spelling for McDonald's. This has been corrected. We are sorry for the error.