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19 APRIL 2024

Welcome to this week’s edition of Culture Wire, a newsletter brought to you by Singapore-based pop culture and lifestyle marketing agency Culture Group.

In this week’s edition:

  • Innovation of the Week: Coachella, fandoms, brand roles – need we say more?  
  • Fax, No Printer: Which 90s TV series has got Gen Z talking? 
  • Regional Round-up: Songkran, soccer and a LEGO rebrand…

Innovation of the Week


The undisputed ✨Mother ✨of all music festivals returns to signal the unofficial start of summer music festivals in North America. Though their ticket sales might’ve slowed this year, the festival (which takes place in Indio, California across two weekends) is still a lesson in cultural marketing. Amex – an official event sponsor – hosted an on-site experience for Card Members which included a wonderland inspired by Reneé Rapp’s album Snow Angel and a manifestation room where attendees could complete a short quiz to receive a pre-recorded ‘festival fortune’ from the singer. The brand also debuted complimentary glam services provided by In Your Dreams and a merch-to-go window, where Card Members could purchase mystery boxes filled with merch from Rapp and Tyler The Creator. So, what does this tell us about marketing in culture today? 


A credit card brand may seem out of place at a music festival – let alone one that’s known for their sophistication and elevation. Yet Amex manages to make it work in their favor – all while keeping their cool in the sweltering heat. Their exclusive artist activations celebrate fandoms by creating more touchpoints for fans to experience their favorite performer, cementing the brand’s presence across various facets of live entertainment (ticketing, merch, IRL immersive experiences etc.). 

An event partnership goes way beyond main-stage sponsorship to on-ground activations that creates depth to the brand presence at the event. And Amex isn’t the only brand to realize this. We take a quick look at the different ways brands chose to show up and engage with fans at Coachella;

📌Pinterest authenticated each Pinners’ distinct style 

Imagine your Pinterest board coming to life – which is exactly what happened this year. For years, the visualization platform was THE go-to source for festival-goers to look for inspiration, plan and shop for their fashion looks. This year, armed with valuable insights of user activity, Pinterest took on a more active role from inspiration to execution with programs including a partnership with celebrity stylists Chloe and Chenelle meant to help Pinners plan and shop festival looks on the platform, a hub for all things Coachella and an on-ground experience aptly called the Pinterest Manifest Station (how’s that for wordplay!) where visitors get to transform into their most creative selves with the help of expert fashion and beauty stylists. 

If you are a brand looking to inspire,  think of ways you can 💖authenticate 💖your audiences’ individuality and interests. The nicher you go, the more impact you make. 

🛁 Method enabled festival goers to have the time of their lives – squeaky clean!  

Building on the recent launch of the ‘Unleash Your Inner Shower’ platform, the personal care brand Method brought an inner shower portal, a hair glam beauty station and an inner shower lounge giving festival-goers the space to refresh and setting them up for an all-night party. It was previously reported that fans are open to brands joining the conversation as long as they add positive value. As a more functional brand, Method’s activation expresses their interest in being part of the live entertainment scene by bringing clear value adds. Sometimes, a brand activation doesn’t have to be complex to be successful.  

If you are a more functional brand looking to tap into fandoms but don’t know where to start, think of what you can bring to the table to ✨enhance✨ fandom experiences.  

🍻 Heineken brought even more music to festival goers

Heineken has long been a purveyor of culture – consistently bringing in unique experiences for fans across passion points; music, sports, food, you name it. And their presence in Coachella was no different. Their famous Heineken House, which is now established as a standalone Coachella venue, comes with a beer garden, free beverages (this year, the recently-launched, lower ABV Heineken Silver) and a lineup of their own. Beer preferences aside, Heineken chose to speak the universal language of music – creating their own you-just-had-to-be-there moments within an already culturally significant event. 

If you are a brand already playing in the space of culture, think of how you can 💡create💡your own cultural moments that is distinct to your brand. 

These activations are all very different. But one thing is clear – there are various dimensions to event partnership and ticketing / pre-sales is just the tipping point. As more brands in SEA look into creating a presence within live music, there’s opportunity for them to create a distinct entertainment platform – no matter the category.  After all, if a functional brand like Method can lean into culture-led marketing, anyone can. And if you need help, you know who you can call on…

Fax, No Printer*

For those of you born before 1997, ‘fax, no printer‘ is Gen Z speak for ‘undeniable facts I agree with’

Which 90s TV series has got Gen Z talking?

A. Friends

B. Seinfeld

C. Sex and the City

Scroll down to the end of the newsletter for the correct answer!

Regional Round-up

🔫 Recently acknowledged as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO, Thailand’s Songkran festivities have stepped up a gear this year. IconSiam’s 12-day event, which includes mini-concerts from Thai artists and a TikTok shop, has attracted tourists from across the world. But sometimes well-attended events come at a cost – reports suggest that an separate event on Khao San Road resulted in more than 100 tonnes of garbage. Time to minimize the footprint of your IRL activations?

🧥 Leading the fight back against fast fashion, Singapore’s National Heritage Board (NHB) has launched its own brand that supports the local tailoring industry. Recustom garments can’t be purchased off-the-shelf. Instead, local makers refashion pre-loved garments supplied by customers and designs provided by Singapore’s leading fashion designers. Sustainability-minded Gen Z are gravitating towards slow fashion brands and investing in (second-hand) quiet luxury. How does shift translate to your industry? And will investing in heritage crafts help you appeal to this consumer group?

🌳 In the Philippines, GCash users can collect and convert green energy points into virtual trees. For every virtual tree planted, the brand will plant a real tree. GCash just partnered with TaskUs to support local coffee farmers, with the goal of planting 10,000 coffee seedlings. As the visible signs of the climate crisis drive up climate anxiety, consider how you can bring consumers into your eco-initiatives. Involvement creates empowerment!

⚽ Heinken knows that music unites… but so does soccer! In South Korea, the brand has partnered with WashEnjoy to convert 24-hour laundromats into all-night sports bars ahead of the UEFA Champions League, when many fans will be waking up at 4am to catch a game. Do you have unique infrastructure that could be (re)deployed to serve the needs of a group of hardcore fans? 

⚠️  ICYMI: As anyone who’s ever stepped on a brick with bare feet knows, LEGO is a hit with younger consumers. The brand’s new rebranding should further cement that – it replicates the design elements of comic books and includes ‘action graphics’ that add allow emotions to be conveyed without words. Marketers are waking up to Gen Alpha, who just might be the most brand-literate, tech-savvy generation to date, but this rebrand feels like an attempt to capture an emerging demographic and their Millennial parents. Is it time to consider cross-generational messaging? 


This Week's Trivia Answer

C. Sex and the City 

Sex and the City finally made its way to Netflix, opening it up to a much wider global audience including a much younger generation now watching it for the very first time. Much has been said about what they would make of the show’s more problematic aspects – i.e. the handling of more sensitive topics that have become integral to Gen Z values: race, sexuality class, consent, the list just goes on. And the verdict is in – thank you, next

It’s not to say that the show wasn’t ahead of its time – for many, when SATC first landed on the small screen, it was lauded for depicting women in a new light. However, for a generation that prioritizes self love, sobriety and platonic friendships over dating, the show’s many prevailing sentiments just doesn’t sit well in today’s culture. One popular topic that’s been making its round on TikTok is the discourse on what Carrie’s worst moment was – with answers ranging from attacking Charlotte for not helping with her financial problems to when she sent Aiden to help Miranda after she hurt her neck.  

While it might be easy to dismiss this as another case of a show naturally losing its appeal over the course of time – this is also a good opportunity to consider that maybe it’s not always about being on the right side or giving the consumer what they want to see. What other “unpopular” narratives can show producers take to bring people together and push for more discourse?

🚀 Over and Out!

Pop culture insights are better when shared. Subscribe, forward this on, or share the love on social media. Thanks for reading!


Your Culture Mavens,

Angela, Catherine, Teri, Twila, & Vicki