Scroll to top

2 JUNE 2023

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: How Gen Z fandom and wellness came together in a new beer
  • Fax, No Printer: Who is the future of K-pop? 
  • Regional Round-up: Gachapon, luxury airways, and Puma x Porsche! 

Innovation of the Week

🐯Something’s Brewing

Tiger Beer has released a new soju-infused lager that’s a roaring success with Gen Z. It’s based on somaek, a Korean cocktail made from soju and maekju (beer) that regularly pops up in Korean dramas: we’ve seen onscreen couples bond over the drink (and fried chicken) and K-pop idols sip somaek behind the scenes. The new canned cocktail is just part of a broader embrace of K-culture. In May, Tiger Beer hosted a festival in Singapore which featured K-pop Star 1 runner up Lee Hi, and BIGBANG’s G-Dragon is the brand’s global ambassador.

💡 Our take

First off – this innovation highlights the power that pop culture has on consumer preferences. But more importantly, it demonstrates how a genuine understanding of passion points can unlock opportunities to deliver surprise and delight into micro moments in consumers’ lives. 

This pays dividends: brands that display high cultural relevance see growth up to six times more than brands that don’t. And as younger consumers gravitate towards brands that get involved in their pop culture experiences, it’s even better if your brand can allow fans to live out their fandoms in new ways. After all, which K-culture stan doesn’t want to drink like their idol? 

Let’s also zoom out to the bigger picture here. Drinking is at an all-time low for sober-curious Gen Z (when they do drink, they prefer spirits to beer 🍸) and this is the demographic that’s most likely to be teetotal. That’s a problem for 90-year old beer brands, even those that are rooted in SEA’s cultural fabric. Finding new ways to appeal to connect with younger consumers is essential – and tying your product to fandom is one way approach. Beyond Tiger Beer’s alignment with K-pop, we’ve seen Heineken refresh music, and Tuborg Beer create a rap alliance. 

If you’re operating in an industry that’s fallen out of favor with Gen Z, it’s beyond time to mix up your message. How can a pop culture formula help you win over younger consumers? 


Fax, No Printer*

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

Who is the future of K-pop?


New Jeans


Regional Round-up

✈️ Do you fly Business or Coach? The luxury bag brand has brought out an airplane-themed retail activation in Malaysia, with their travel collection being sold inside an actual plane. It harkens back to the golden age of airtravel in the 1950s, and urges consumers to find joy in the once-rare experience of flying with Coach. How can your brand leverage nostalgia, to bring magic back to the mundane?

🧸 Gashapon, the Japanese ball lottery game, is taking Singapore by storm. Bandai has opened its first Singapore store, with over 200 machines for consumers to try their luck at. The collections are mostly anime themed, encouraging users to collect whole sets from popular IPs like Spy x Family and Pokemon. Low prices, J-fandom theming, and the gamified experience make it a winning combo with Gen Z fans!

🎙️ Pinoys are loving podcasts, Spotify has revealed. The Love & Relationships genre is the most popular, with a 400% growth from 2021 to 2023. Recognizing the rising power of the audio medium, Culture Group is currently working with Wattpad star writers from ID and PH to start their own Spotify podcast series. What IP, content, and/or creators can your brand translate to audio?

🚗 Porsche is celebrating its 30th year in Thailand with limited edition sneakers in collaboration with Puma, as part of their ‘Dreams in Colors’ collection. Porsche will also be teaming up with 88rising to lift up young creatives in Thailand. Between fashion and creativity, it looks like Porsche is covering all the bases when it comes to empowering young people.

💄 ICYMI! Life in plastic is fantastic, but what about life in the virtual world? Barbie is bringing the fashion of Forever 21 to the gaming platform Roblox, allowing gamers from all over the world to get dressed up in the collaboration. This isn’t just a shot in the virtual-world dark – the Forever 21 Shop City world in Roblox has so far hosted 260K visits. Come on, Barbie – let’s go party!

This Week's Trivia Answer

B. New Jeans

Sorry to all the ENGENEs and HUNNIES out there (those are the fandoms for ENHYPEN and Fifty Fifty, respectively), but New Jeans are the ones to watch. They have a diverse lineup (Vietnamese-Australian vocalist Hanni representing SEA on the K-pop stage), fresh musical direction, and concepts that could’ve come straight from a twenty-something’s Pinterest board… 

We’d even go as far to say that what parent company HYBE learnt with BTS, they perfected with New Jeans. The quintet have only been recording together for less than a year, but already have collaborations with Coca-Cola, and just this week announced a Southeast Asia exclusive with McDonalds. And did we mention they hit 1.5B streams on Spotify in just 219 days? It took K-pop veteran Kim Taehyung, the previous record holder, a now-embarrassing 411 days to complete the same feat. 

Chart-topping, record-breaking – keep your eyes peeled for everything now, next and New Jeans.


🚀 Over and Out!

Don’t forget to stream New Jeans this week! OMG is a particular favorite in the Culture Group office – we’re going to officially call it the song of the summer. What’s your playlist for the sunny season? 

Pop culture insights are better when shared. Subscribe, pass it on, or share the love on social media. Thanks for reading Culture Wire!


Your Culture Mavens,

Acacia, Aliya, Angela, Kiko, & Vicki