Why is EXO out of this world popular

exo 2

You guys see what I did with the title, because EXO is from EXO planet.  Get it? No.  That’s okay, lol.

Truthfully, when the first news came out about them, I had no interest in them whatsoever.  But now I’m OBSESSED!  EXO is SM entertainment’s latest group.  EXO has 12 members in which 4 of them are Chinese.  The original concept of EXO is that they are divided into EXO-K and EXO-M; they would promote the same song but in different languages.

Recently a friend of mine, who is a complete YG stan, text me asking about EXO’s albums.  I was suspicious. Why?  Because she hates everything that has to do with SM entertainment (Why I’m her friend. I’m still trying to figure that out haha!).  This is how our conversation went:

Friend:  I want to know more about EXO.  How many albums do they have?

Me: One mini-album and a full album.  The full album has a repackaged version.  Why the sudden interest?

Friend Because they are too popular.  Like waaay to popular.

And then I really thought about it.  Why are they so popular?  Why do I love them so much?  Their debut, I’m pretty sure, achieved results under what they expected; but somehow over the course of a year they’ve gone from barely hitting the top 30 songs to winning number 1 on music shows 14 times.  After re-watching several videos and interviews on YouTube, I’ve come up with these reasons.

A Unique Start

Even though I’ve mentioned that EXO’s debut song produced lackluster results, it doesn’t counter the fact that they had a pretty unique start.

exo 1

From SM Town’s Youtube Page

First, we get 12 teaser videos of different members (8 of them were of Kai).  Then we get a prologue song called “What is Love”.  This song is not their title song, but a prologue song.  My reaction was like everyone else’s: WTF is a prologue song, but the song is good.

After a break from the teasers, more teasers come out until they have released 25 teasers total, yeah that’s a lot.  This time featuring more members than Kai.  Although, my favorite teaser would be teaser #21 ft. Kai.

I remember watching interviews of EXO-M and every time they were asked what was different about them Kris would always answer with the teasers.  I know mostly everybody complained about the idea, but it served its main purpose.  That was to get everyone talking about it.  They were released through YouTube where everybody can access it in a second.  People knew about EXO one way or another.

Their Social Media Presence (or lack of social media presence)

The only members, out of the 12, who have social media are the 4 Chinese members.  Their accounts are on Chinese websites, I personally don’t have accounts on those websites just because I can’t read a lick of Mandarin.  For some reason, this lack of social media presence works for them.  It keeps fans on their toes like a predator waiting for its prey.

It’s important for new groups to reveal new, fresh information out to the public so that they are more relevant.  EXO succeeds and fails at this at the same time.  They fail in the sense they don’t have a strong presence in social media, but their fans do.  Which in my book is a success.  When they do post something on their Line (Korean social media app) or through the SMtown’s official twitter account, fans jump on it real fast and are retweeting and blogging it.

Social media is the best way to get your group’s name out there.  What better way to do it than to use fans themselves.  The ones who are always going to be on it and will do anything to get their favorite oppars names out to the world. I have to say THE platform for EXO is Tumblr.

Tumblr is the place I go to if I need to know something about EXO.  Whether if it’s to know if they’re in China or Korea or to see if SM has released their new teaser (This is especially amusing on Tumblr.  EXO fans you know what I’m talking about); Tumblr is the place.  Last year, EXO was second on the top 10 tags on Tumblr.

exo 3

They Have 12 Freakin’ Members

If you decide to go check out the EXO tag on Tumblr, you’ll find that there isn’t just one member on the tag.  You see every single one of them on there, and not just in group pictures but individual pictures.  When they first debuted, many of the posts on Tumblr were fans complaining how their bias would change everyday.

The advantage of having 12 members is that they can cater to almost every girl’s fantasy.  You want a cute guy, you have more than one option:

luhan cute

Luhan (source)

do cute

D.O. (source)

Then you have the uber hot guys:

kris gif

Kris (source)


Kai (source)

Of course you can’t leave out the super talented ones:

They Keep you on your Toes

The marketing and PR team at SM entertainment are geniuses.  Fan culture, in general, want to know everything and anything about their favorite group, singer, team, etc.  SM knows this, I feel like they release things about EXO in spontaneous bursts to keep us fans on our toes.  It’s working.  After waiting a year after MAMA era, fans were eager to jump into the Wolf era.  I remember how excited fans were when EXO’s  comeback announced.  I also remember how angry fans were when SM released their teaser not on schedule.

Teasers revealed that there was going to be a drama version of the music video.  When a regular, dance version of the song came out, fans waited anxiously for the drama version to come out.  Everyday was a waiting game and quiet.  Until they spontaneously released the drama version and then all social media exploded.  The same thing happened with Growl.

With each release, EXO seemingly grew bigger and bigger everyday.  To the point where they could be worldwide trending 3 times and in over 10 countries because of a member’s birthday.

chen trend


And I’m pretty sure EXO’s not stopping anytime soon.


One thought on “Why is EXO out of this world popular

  1. 9/27 I really like the fact that you are so excited about this brand of music. You provide a lot of good information about what EXO is. I like how you point out the fact that even though they are weak “social media wise”, they have a lot of great fans (Like you!) that promote their music for them. Excellent blog post.

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