Fans wrap entire S. Korea train in ad to celebrate BTS member’s birthday

An image of JungKook is wrapped on a high-speed train in South Korea as a birthday gift for the BTS member. (Korail via Pulse photo)

BTS member Jungkook received a separate spotlight on Tuesday with his images adorning a 388-metre-long South Korean express train in a lavish birthday gift from his Chinese fans.

Photos of Jungkook and phrases like Happy Birthday and other messages for the 23-year-old member have wrapped the entire 20-compartment passenger train running from Seoul to Busan, Pulse reported, citing the information from Korea Train Express (KTX), operator of the country’s high-speed train.

It is the first time that KTX has allowed a wrapping advertisement since a local mobile carrier ran such an ad in 2004.

KTX said its subsidiary Korail Retail received a request from BTS’s Chinese fan club last month to roll out the ad in time for Jungkook’s birthday on Sept 1. The advertisement, which would run through Oct 4, is said to have cost about 80 million won (2 million baht), which includes installation and removal fees.

On the day of Jungkook’s birthday on Tuesday, the seven-member boyband made headlines by becoming the first South Korean artist to top Billboard`s main singles chart with their latest single Dynamite.

KTX said it decided to run the ad to raise the global stature of K-pop and generate new revenue sources. As a state-run company, it has mainly reserved such wrapping ads for international festivals held in Korea or tourist sites of provincial regions.

A high-speed train car with the message to celebrate Jungkook's birthday is seen at Seoul Station. (Korail via Pulse photo)

A Korail official said the ad proceeds would also help make up for lost sales from the ongoing pandemic. Traffic up to May dropped 40-50% from year-ago levels following the outbreak, but recovered to 60% in June and July as virus counts decreased and people started going on summer vacations. But this has now plummeted to 30% with the latest resurgence.

In another birthday celebration for the youngest BTS member, Chinese fans hosted an online fireworks event in South Korea’s southern port city of Busan, Jungkook’s home town.