Brands Ride on the Squid Game Hype: The Rise of the Hit Show on Social Media
South Korean thriller Squid Game has become one of the most talked-about shows in 2021. Since its launch on Netflix three weeks ago, Squid Game has been watched by millions around the world and is on its way to becoming the streaming platform’s most popular original series of all time. Be it the dystopian show’s violent take on childhood games, striking visuals or a disturbing study of human nature, Squid Game has gathered much buzz on social media.
Since Squid Game was released worldwide on 17 September, the number of social mentions has steadily increased from 30,000 social mentions on launch day to close to peaking at close to 1 million mentions on 29 September. There were over 230,000 mentions using the hashtag #squidgame just on that day. As of 5 October, more than 9 million social mentions by over 8 million people have posted something related to “Squid Game” or “SquidGame” on social.
Within the first 2 weeks of Squid Game’s launch, the series had already garnered 1.5 million social mentions and the volume of social mentions increased by 331% in the second week of its launch.
Mixed emotions over Squid Game
While Squid Game is immensely popular around the world, it also has a share fair of detractors. Sadness and joy are the top 2 emotions among audiences, followed closely by anger.
Netizens expressed sadness over the outcomes of the plot in their social posts (given the violent nature of the show, deaths are inevitable). Some were saddened by how the show shed light on the harsh realities of living in a competitive society, touching on the themes of injustice and humanity. Many expressed disappointment if there would be a Western remake of the series.
Examples of social mentions with positive sentiment of Squid Game on Twitter.
Joyfulness was the second most emotion conveyed – many fans expressed satisfaction and delight from sharing their favourite moments and characters from the show. For some, this show brought back memories of watching other K-dramas that have similar deadly twists, while others could relate to the dilemmas and predicaments that the characters faced. Special attention was also lavished on the show’s breakout star – Jung Ho Yeon, an actress-model, whose Instagram following has since ballooned to more than 15 million followers at the time of writing.
Fans also had fun posting photos of their everyday life that were reminiscent of key scenes in the show.
Coming in a close third is anger – most of them were directed at Squid Game’s closed-caption subtitles in English, which didn’t capture the meaning of the Korean dialogue accurately and the plot twists.
How brands in APAC are responding to Squid Game’s massive fame?
Brands were quick to create trendjacking content opportunities with the show’s growing popularity over the past few weeks. Timeliness is vital when it comes to trendjacking and brands can monitor trending topics in real-time with social listening. Besides keeping abreast of the latest developments, brands can also track the sentiments and emotions from the social conversations to see how best to join and add value to conversations in relevant and purposeful ways.
A couple of brands in APAC quickly jumped on the bandwagon – riding on the exciting buzz that Squid Game has created.
Here’re some examples:
- Malaysian rail operator RapidKL posted a video clip on Facebook showing two men playing ddakji in a train station to promote its transportation card.
2. A Squid Game-themed promotional banner by Marigold HL Milk in Singapore on Facebook
3. Hong Kong Airlines‘ take on dalgona, a toffee-like sugar candy that appeared on Squid Game.
It was not all fun and games, some brands took the opportunity to address uncertainties over securing a brighter future – a theme discussed in the show.
Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) released a Facebook post, saying “why bother to play #Squidgame”, addressing worries over funding one’s higher education.
All social listening data in this article was gathered using
Cision Social Listening powered by Brandwatch
This blog article is written by Kenneth Goh, Senior Marketing Executive at PR Newswire.