Jason Lipshutz, Billboard Pro

A fan-friendly launch featuring monuments awash in pink light kicked off an expansive rollout for the group’s new album – and it’s “only just begun.”

BLACKPINK’s return earlier this month with their first official single in nearly two years represented a momentous occasion for the K-pop quartet’s global fan base and resulted in one of the biggest No. 1 debuts in the Billboard Global 200 chart’s history.

“Pink Venom” scored the second-biggest worldwide weekly streaming total since the chart launched in September 2020, with 212.1 million streams and sold 36,000 downloads worldwide in the Aug. 19-25 tracking week, according to Luminate. The song – which leads sophomore album Born Pink, due out Sept. 16 – also debuts at No. 22 on this week’s Hot 100 chart, marking BLACKPINK’s highest-charting non-collaboration to date (“Ice Cream,” their 2020 team-up with Selena Gomez, peaked at No. 13).

As the group’s fans, the Blinks, played “Pink Venom” on repeat after the track’s Aug. 19 release, Interscope Records and YG Entertainment, the group’s label homes through a global partnership, toasted an international, multi-pronged launch that was months in the making. “They’re the biggest girl group in the world, and one of the biggest groups in the world,” Hannah Gold, vp of marketing at Interscope, tells Billboard, “And we wanted to show the scope of their reach.”

That reach spanned five continents thanks to the Light Up the Pink campaign, which launched hours before the release of “Pink Venom” across different time zones. Monuments ranging from the Tokyo Tower in Japan to the Hammersmith Bridge in London to Radio City Music Hall in New York to the Santa Monica Pier Ferris Wheel in Los Angeles were bathed in pink light on the night of Aug. 18. Meanwhile, pink lighting, projections and digital billboards also popped up in countries like Brazil, Australia and BLACKPINK’s native South Korea.

The idea for Light Up the Pink was first kicked around back in January, Gold says, as Interscope and YG prepared for BLACKPINK’s return following the 2020 release of debut full-length The Album and a relatively quiet 2021. “It’s been a while since they put out something as a group,” says Daniel Hong, president of YG USA, “so we wanted to do something special for fans, and also for the artist. We felt like this kind of campaign just visualizes what we’re thinking about [for] the group, which is a global scale.”

Plans for the launch started to come together three months ago, as the YG and Interscope marketing teams worked together to gain the proper security clearances needed to project pink light on different monuments. “It wasn’t easy,” says Hong. “Every country has their regulations and rules.” Blinks who didn’t live close to the select monuments could still participate in the fan frenzy thanks to a partnership with the app Landmark that allowed users to unlock exclusive digital content, such as a special illustration created by the four group members, at 500 hotspots around the world – think Pokémon Go, but for BLACKPINK diehards.

Creating a fan experience with a heavy in-person component was important for both Interscope and YG – after all, BLACKPINK’s The Album was released at the height of the pandemic, and the quartet never got to tour behind the project. “Their first album, everyone was locked up at home,” says Gold, “and it’s fun this time being able to come back in such a big way and take it to the world.”

After the live debut of “Pink Venom” at the MTV Video Music Awards on Sunday night (Aug. 28), BLACKPINK is gearing up for next month’s release of Born Pink, followed by a world tour that kicks off in Seoul on Oct. 15. Light Up the Pink was just the start of what promises to be an extended, fan-centric promo run for Born Pink.

“There’s so much to come. … They’re going to be around for a while with this next album cycle,” says Gold. “It really has only just begun.”

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