You may not have heard of the South Korean pop group Twice, but the nine-member K-Pop superstars have put Canada, and specifically Vancouver, on the world map with their new hit video.
The video for "Likey" — a song about trying to win a love interest's "likes" on social media posts — was just released Monday, and has already racked up over 21 million views.
In the video, the young women appear in locations around Vancouver, singing and dancing at several spots in historic (and ultra-hip) Gastown, along the Stanley Park seawall, in a famous downtown alley, at a favourite deli and more — as well as in the fishing village of Steveston, on the White Rock pier, and while taking a ride on the SkyTrain.
While Toronto has appeared in a couple of Korean hip-hop videos, Canadian locations are almost unheard of, with most acts opting for shoots in Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco or Las Vegas.
It wouldn't be the first time a location became internationally famous through K-pop; in 2012, the meteoric hit "Gangnam Style" brought worldwide interest to the Gangnam district in Seoul, South Korea.
University of British Columbia professor CedarBough Saeji teaches a course on pop music, and says a K-pop video's look — including location, choreography and fashion — has become almost more important than the music.
"The visuals are key. A lot of the lyrics mean almost nothing. In a song like this, it's basically an appeal for you to like the artist," said Saeji of the social media potential, in a CBC interview.
The video will also put a spotlight on Vancouver, she said, and in turn will help the group expand its North American fan base.
"[They're thinking] we have a very large audience in Canada. We're able to sell out concerts in Canada and we're able to sell out concerts in Vancouver. Let's appeal to this audience."
Check out the video: