If tens of thousands of New Yorkers buying all the apparel, stationary and stuffed animals they could for the U.S. launch of BTS' new BT21 collection was any indication, the K-pop group's animated characters are a hit. Now, they're taking over your phone — in the most adorable way possible.
Billboard can exclusively share that Tata, RJ, Chimmy and the whole gang will be part of a collection of stickers and AR effects on Messenger and Facebook later this month. In partnership with LINE FRIENDS, Messenger's 1.3 billion users will soon be able to utilize eight camera stickers, two camera frames, eight AR effects and one sticker pack starring the BT21 characters.
In an early look at the new utilization, Billboard found users will be treated to a puppy-dog-face filter in the style of Chimmy (boasting the pup's signature pink sunglasses), a crown featuring Shooky (with four iterations of the cookie character jumping on top of one's head), the mischievous Cooky climbing alongside one's face (to draw one of his wild eyebrows), and other visual surprises that users will have to wait a few more days to see.
As reported in October, the BT21 characters and their personalities were imagined by the members of BTS themselves featuring Tata (the character inspired by BTS singer V), Koya (inspired by RM), Chimmy (Jimin), RJ (Jin), Mang (J-Hope), Shooky (Suga), Cooky (Jungkook) and their space robot Van (who is said to represent the group and its fandom ARMY). This new activation allows members of the ARMY — and any other users who end up interacting with the colorful creatures — to share this special aspect of fandom with their Facebook friends.
"Creative expression is at the core of how people communicate in Messenger," Jennifer Whitley, Creative Director at Messenger Art, shares with Billboard. "We're always looking for fun, new ways to help people say what they want to say. We offer so many fun ways for people to express themselves visually, through one-on-one messages, group video chats, and a variety of camera experiences."
The collection launches on Thursday, July 19. While you wait for that, watch BTS tease their new sticker set for Facebook Messenger in the video above. Next, watch the guys share their thoughts on the BT21 collaboration during their Billboard cover shoot.