Charity and collectables
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Charity and collectables

Pop Mart is offering 'blind box' art toys as incentives to young people to donate blood

Justin Moon, president of Pop Mart International at 'Pop Blood Giver Campaign Season 2'.
Justin Moon, president of Pop Mart International at 'Pop Blood Giver Campaign Season 2'.

As a regular blood donor, Siriporn Plangchatuk, country general manager of Pop Mart Thailand, learned from the National Blood Center, Thai Red Cross Society that during the Covid-19 pandemic, the number of blood donors dropped from 24% to just 11%. This shortage forced many patients to postpone surgeries and/or medical treatments, which affected their life.


To encourage young people in good health to donate blood to the Thai Red Cross Society, Pop Mart Thailand launched "Pop Blood Giver Campaign" earlier this year. From this campaign, the Thai Red Cross received 8,139 units of blood. The campaign gained the attention of young people since each donor received a "blind box" art toy from Pop Mart as a token of appreciation.

It is a well-known fact that Pop Mart is one of the most popular art toy brands among young people. Renowned for its blind boxes featuring diverse characters, Pop Mart has collaborated with global brands such as Disney, Sanrio and Warner Bros, as well as celebrated designers like Kenny, Pucky and Kasing Lung, to launch a variety of pop culture-inspired products.

Due to the excellent response, Pop Mart Thailand organised "Pop Blood Giver Campaign Season 2" to once again invite target donors to make merit with the Thai Red Cross Society. The second campaign ran last month at the National Blood Center, the Thai Red Cross Society on Henri-Dunant Road.

Throughout the year, Pop Mart Thailand plans to donate 40,000 blind box art toys worth 5.6 million baht to blood donors. In the first season, 2,500 blind box art toys were distributed to donors and 8,500 blind box art toys in the second instalment. In future, the project will expand to Thai Red Cross Blood Centers in 12 provinces nationwide including Lop Buri, Nakhon Ratchasima, Chiang Mai, Songkhla and Phuket.

From left, Jeremy Lee, Justin Moon and Siriporn Plangchatuk. Pop Mart (Thailand)

Justin Moon, president of Pop Mart International, visited Bangkok for "Pop Blood Giver Campaign Season 2". The Korean executive was thrilled with Pop Mart's charity campaign and Moon plans to expand the campaign to other countries and seek assistance from the Thai Red Cross Society to reach out to Red Cross organisations in other nations.

Despite being delighted with the campaign, Moon was disappointed that he could not participate in the blood drive because, according to a requirement by the Thai Red Cross Society, donors must be people who have stayed in Thailand for one year. As a Korean citizen, Moon shared that the South Korean government supports blood drives through many activities which encourages young Koreans to donate blood.

"I started donating blood when I was 18. Donors would receive a free movie ticket or a book as well as a small certificate to certify their good deed. When hiring, companies often select candidates who have a background of giving back to society or helping others. These benefits encourage young people to participate in blood drives. Additionally, men who have participated in military service have to donate blood while serving in the military. There are also blood donation buses that operate nationwide, so people have easily access to donation locations," he said.

In Thailand, Pop Mart is a popular art toy brand among collectors. In September last year when Pop Mart opened its first branch in CentralWorld, a long queue formed early in the morning before the store opened. Some products sold out within a few hours. Last month, after Blackpink's Lisa posted a photo holding Labubu Macaron on her Instagram, the character became very popular. It is one of Pop Mart's Monster collections created by Kasing Lung, an artist from Hong Kong. Due to Lisa's popularity, the price of Labubu increased by a significant amount and sold out.

"We never sent any art toy to Lisa, but we were lucky that someone bought Lisa a Labubu Macaron and she made the product popular with her Instagram photo. This is just the beginning. Pop Mart will gain more popularity in the future."

Blood donors at 'Pop Blood Giver Campaign Season 2' by Pop Mart.

After Pop Mart experienced the K-pop soft power boost, does the company have any plans to collaborate with Korean stars?

"We have received many requests regarding Korean sensations, but at this time, we would like to conduct surveys secretly because many fandoms are watching us. Since creating art toys inspired by celebrities can be an advantage or a disadvantage, we need to be cautious about this," said Moon.

Pop Mart was first launched in Beijing, China, in 2010. The company later expanded to over 500 stores in 30 countries such as the US, New Zealand, Australia, France, Germany, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and South Korea. In Thailand, six branches launched in Bangkok in the same year.

According to Moon, people at headquarters in Beijing come up with marketing plans. Since each country has a different demand, headquarters will talk with different branches to develop and enhance products to match the different preferences of each country being targeted.

"Since each country has a different language, culture and religion, Pop Mart has to localise its products. For example, in Islamic countries, some restrictions make it impossible to sell certain characters. Headquarters speaks to local offices to learn the restrictions and adjust the products accordingly."

Thailand also recently launched a special collection that may not be able to sell in some countries. Thaphatkorn Dulgaiphan, head of marketing, Pop Mart Thailand, explained that in June, Thailand launched a collection called Crybaby Pride Parade Figurine for Pride month. Designed by Thai artist Nisa Srikumdee, the figurine appears in the colour of the rainbow to represent the LGBTI community.

"Thailand is one of the biggest hubs of the LGBTI community and Pop Mart is a supporter of Pride parade every year. This collection is to express that Pop Mart believes in inclusivity. We accept everyone, including the LGBTI community," said Thaphatkorn.

Blood donors receive a Pop Mart blind box.

The art toy market has grown rapidly. Some collectors adore their collections while some turn it into a profit-making investment. Are art toys just a trend or can they be long-term products?

Jeremy Lee, the go-to-market director of Southeast Asia of Pop Mart, said that he believes there is no everlasting product.

"I don't think any product is forever. I think the key is knowing where the trend is going and how we can figure out who's buying our products and adapt according to the trend. After the Covid-19 pandemic, new shopping behaviours have evolved, so we have to move with the times. The core of the brand is innovation and creativity. We have to know who are the consumers and get a good sense of what they like and then go with that," he said.

Moon believes that Pop Mart can be a part of collectors' lives.

"In my opinion, culture is something that remains the same, but the trend always changes. It depends on people's attitude towards art toys. It can be that people buy art toys because it is the in thing to do, or that people buy art toys out of love and a desire to collect them. I don't want to think that art toys are a temporary trend. They can be adjusted to be part of the culture and routine lives of collectors."

Pop Mart (Thailand)

The Crybaby Pride Parade Figurine. Pop Mart (Thailand)

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