Scroll to top

10 NOVEMBER 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: The stage is set for a theater revival 
  • Fax, No Printer: Can you guess Gen Z’s latest accessory?
  • Regional Round-up: Brand partnerships, tribute acts, trend bingo, and more!

Innovation of the Week


Earlier this week, pre-sale tickets for the much-anticipated Singapore debut of the musical Hamilton went on display and fans were eager. The Tony Award-winning Broadway musical will debut at the Sands Theatre in April 2024. This builds on the show’s successful Asian premiere, which took place in Manila in September


The success of big-budget theater shows in Southeast Asia ties back into a theme we’ve discussed several times in Culture Wire: the post-COVID revenge demand for experiences. Tickets for theater shows like Hamilton aren’t cheap (ranging from SGD 80-280) but audiences are opening their culture wallets. And it’s younger consumers that are driving demand: 29% of Singaporeans aged 18-24 expect to spend more on live entertainment now than in 2022, compared to 8% of those aged 35-44. 

Data about who’s buying these tickets is hard to come by, but we’d bet our opening night seat* that this demographic was first in line for Hamilton. After all, this is the show that broadened the appeal of musicals to non-traditional theatergoers through the use of rap, hip-hop, and jazz. 

Since Hamilton debuted off-Broadway in 2015, TikTok has also made musical theater even more accessible and participatory. Song duets and dance routines were just the start — during the pandemic a bunch of Gen Z TikTok creators collaborated on a musical adaptation of the animated movie Ratatouille. The Unofficial Bridgerton Musical (inspired by, but not affiliated with the hit Netflix series) also went viral. Now, young musical theater fans have the chance to attend shows they are already familiar with. 

One final note on this accessibility point: Hamilton is just the latest in a string of high-profile productions that are putting Singapore’s theater scene on the map. Other shows that have made a splash this year include Disney’s Frozen and MamaMia!. Additionally, Dear Evan Hansen and Little Shop of Horrors have already been announced for 2024. This will help normalize theater-going in Singapore and across SEA and will set expectations around quality and variety. 

With Gen Z flocking to live entertainment experiences, it’s time to tap into the excitement shows like Hamilton are creating. Even better if those campaigns and activations can build on the participatory element that turned TikTokers into fans! 

*Ok, we made that bit up!

Fax, No Printer*

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

What’s the latest accessory craze among Gen Zs?

A. Bag charms

B. Shoelaces

C. Vintage neckties

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

Regional Round-up

🎁 To celebrate its 45th birthday, Jollibee has partnered with Grab. The fast-food chain’s iconic red mascot appeared on real-time location delivery maps instead of Grab’s green rider icon in a stunt that was part of a broader ‘birthday blowout’ that also saw Jollibee x Grab customers rewarded with freebies. Done right, brand partnerships can still deliver value — especially when they have an element of surprise. 

💜 The 11th edition of the Purple Parade, which supports and celebrates people with disabilities, just took place in Singapore. Over 13K people attended — that’s more than four times the number that turned out in 2013. We’ve previously discussed how Gen Z values brands that practice inclusivity and compassion. In 2024, does your brand need to do more to prioritize DEI? 

🍻 Yam seng! Arthur’s Storehouse and Heineken Malaysia just celebrated the opening of the country’s second official Guinness outlet with a surprising guest: a U2 tribute act fronted by a Bono lookalike. Creators teased the ‘frontman’s’ arrival in Kuala Lumpur before revealing the ruse. Sometimes second-best can be first class — especially if you can get fans to play along!

🧸 Calling all kidults! This holiday season, Toys”R”Us Asia is collaborating with artist duo Craig & Karl: expect fun in-store experiences featuring giant advent calendars and exclusive merchandise that merges fashion, toys, and lifestyles. How will your brand help young people unwrap play this holiday season?

🚌 Singapore’s newest resort hotel comes with a surprising twist: it features rooms made from decommissioned public buses previously operated by SBS Transit. If we were playing trend bingo, The Bus Collective would be a full house: upcycled materials ✅, unique concept ✅, unusual experience ✅

This Week's Trivia Answer

A. Bag charms

New trend alert: Gen Zs are hanging plushie charms on their bags as accessories. In South Korea, these charms or ‘key rings’ have emerged as the most frequently searched keyword among 1,000 consumer goods on social media platforms this year. And according to the Korea Herald, 90% of bag charm purchasers are women in their 20s. 

Celebrity influence has played a role: BLACKPINK’s Jisoo is known to accessorize her bags with Jellycat and Hello Kitty charms. Naturally, fans will be inspired to replicate her style. The cost of these plushie charms ranges from $10-50, giving the wearer an affordable way to acknowledge their fandom, ‘dress up’ an outfit, and express their personality. 

Self-expression is key for Gen Z, and getting creative with charms allows this demographic to differentiate themselves while keeping up with trends. Maybe your brand isn’t about to rush out a line of cute bag charms, but young consumers’ changing attitudes toward self-expression should factor into your next campaign.

🚀 Over and Out!

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


Your Culture Mavens,

Acacia, Angela, Kiko, Teri, & Vicki