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3 MAY 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: Spotify helps fans discover their K-Pop persona 
  • Fax, No Printer: Which brand is grabbing Gen Z’s attention? 
  • Regional Round-up: Marketing to foodies, gamers galore, and an IP success story 

Innovation of the Week


If you’ve ever wondered if you’re a Jennie or a Jin, Spotify’s Your K-Pop Persona quiz is here to help. Users answer five short questions to uncover their persona (Main Visual, a Main Vocal, a Main Rappers, a Main Dancer or a Trainee) and receive a customizable photocard—reminiscent of band-specific trading cards—that can be shared across a range of platforms. Spotify users also unlocked a bonus fan role based on their K-Pop listening habits. Testament to the genre’s global appeal, Your K-Pop Persona rolled out in 31 markets and 13 languages.


Think of personalization and Spotify is one of the first brands that comes to mind. In internal surveys, 81% of Spotify users cited personalization as the thing they like the most about the brand. We’ve previously discussed how efforts like Wrapped have become cultural moments in their own right, but clearly owning the end-of-year conversation isn’t enough. 

Newer personalization-focused features like Daylist (daily playlists that are curated to reflect users’ changing tastes) promise to improve the user experience and give Spotify another way to show up in online conversations. It seems to be working: at the start of 2024, Instagram Story templates that allowed users to share their Daylists went viral. Other initiatives that show how Spotify is leaning into Wrapped-inspired initiatives year-round include Song Psychic 🎱and Playlist in a Bottle 🍾.

Now, Spotify is bringing personalization to the K-pop fandom, giving stans the chance to learn more about themselves and their fandom, then share that knowledge with others. Beyond authenticating a fandom that’s evolved into a global phenomenon (since 2018, K-Pop streams on Spotify have skyrocketed by over 360% worldwide 📈) it highlights Spotify’s key USP via user-generated content. (Note that this isn’t the first time Spotify has created interactive content for a specific fandom—Swifties got an interactive experience in 2023.)

There are some important lessons for marketers here:

1️⃣ Be it K-pop Personas or their Cosmos Persona, consumers—particularly Gen Z—are keen to learn more about themselves and share with others what makes them unique. Done right, targeting the niche (i.e. helping fans learn and share more about their fandom) can bring mainstream success. With what they’ve done, Spotify has created anticipation amongst other fandoms—allowing them to authenticate and celebrate specific subcultures on an ongoing basis.

2️⃣ FOMO factor is real: fans that can’t access the bonus role are likely to want in. Could you build out special features that are so desirable they attract sign-ups? 

3️⃣ The power of consistent activations. Most of these campaigns extend the Wrapped ‘spirit’ to the rest of the year. Rather than dabbling in every ‘trend’, pick the one that aligns with your brand and lean into it.

Fax, No Printer*

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

Which luxury brand can Gen Z not get enough of?

A. Chanel

B. Hermès

C. Louis Vuitton

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

Regional Round-up

🍦 Foodies in Singapore have more options than ever: at the Magnum Pleasure Express: Beyond Worlds exhibition, attendees take a test to unlock AI artwork and convert new ice cream flavors into a multi-sensory experience. Meanwhile Heineken Singapore’s ‘Maltiverse’ includes a chef table experience with Stefan Kam (malt-infused dishes feature, of course), an interactive art installation and the chance to learn the art of the perfect pour. How will you bring your brand to life through engaging experiences?

🎮 Recent research revealed that SEA has the world’s most active gamers, with the Philippines (96.5%), Indonesia (95.3%) and Vietnam (94.7%) taking the top three spots (the global average is 84.7%). When (almost!) everyone is a gamer, how does that impact your marketing strategy? Do you need to be putting more effort into this space? If the answer is yes, we’re here to help! 

💪 ‘You Got This’ is a new video series from adidas Singapore featuring local creators like pilates instructor Eugena Bey. It builds on the global activation that launched earlier in the year with high-profile stars like Lionel Messi. We’re big fans of adidas’ approach to ambassadorschampioning star names alongside local players creates a sense of relatability without forfeiting existing credibility. What would a high-low influencer mix bring to your brand? 

🏦 Younger consumers in SEA have embraced Islamic banking, with 77% of Malaysians and 65% of Indonesians surveyed using it alongside traditional banking, compared to 31% globally. With the majority of consumers in these countries agreeing that religion is very important in their lives, there’s an opportunity for brands to help younger consumers observe their faith in a way that aligns with their digital-first lives.

⚠️ ICYMI: Suggesting that the success of The Last of Us wasn’t a fluke, Amazon Prime’s Fallout (also based on a post-apocalyptic video game IP) has reached mainstream audiences. According to the steamer, Fallout attracted 65M viewers in its first 16 days of availability, making it the second most-watched title ever on the platform. The success of the show is also driving people to the Fallout games, with new fans invited to join a Discord community. As more people discover existing IPs through shows, what needs to be done to bring newbies into the fandom? Can your brand be a part of that experience? 

This Week's Trivia Answer

B. Hermès 

The luxury brand—best known for the exclusive Birkin and Kelly bags—topped the latest Ad Age-Harris Poll Gen Z brand tracker, which ranks brands ‘that made significant progress in gaining attention from Gen Z in the first quarter of 2024’. A separate report found that Hermès continues to outperform LVMH and Kering, with sales up 17% during that period.

It’s unlikely that Gen Z is driving this growth. Birkins come with five-figure price tags and reports that purchases have to be ‘earned’ persist. Instead, as the stigma around second-hand shopping continues to decline, younger consumers are buying their Birkins on resale sites like The RealReal, although they’re still not cheap—these bags hold their value. Soon they could be available on Gen Z’s FYP, too.

But why does Hermès, a brand without a TikTok account, hold sway over younger consumers? The brand combines ‘old luxury’ with a narrative that spans the past and present (more on that here). Others suggest that, for a generation for whom property seems increasingly out of reach, luxury ‘doom spending’ is on the rise.

You might operate in a sector that’s well below the Hermès price point, but it’s worth considering the underlying imperatives that are driving up the desirability of this brand among younger consumers and ask how they translate to your vertical.

🚀 Over and Out!

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Your Culture Mavens,

Angela, Catherine, Teri, Twila, & Vicki