4 AUGUST 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.
If you’ve ever wondered which Taylor Swift era you’re in (and why wouldn’t you?) you’re in luck: Spotify recently unveiled My Top 5: Taylor Swift Eras, which lets fans curate and share their top eras. Swifties that have listened to five or more Eras can unlock a personalized streaming card. We love how this appeals to both casual Taylor fans and serious Swifties.
- Innovation of the Week: The bunnies are taking over…
- Fax, No Printer: What is the latest Prime Video Originals success story?
- Regional Round-up: Cat-and-mouse games in Singapore, Malaysia slays (again), pop-up sustainability and more!
Innovation of the Week
🐰HOP TO IT!
K-pop girl group NewJeans has partnered with Spotify to celebrate the launch of their second EP Get Up with a series of digital and IRL activations. On the Bunnyland website, fans can discover their NewJeans hero (based on their music tastes) and then listen to special playlists. Bunnies – the official name for the band’s fandom – in Jakarta and Seoul can hop on down to themed pop-up experiences featuring retro arcade games, playlist stations and a Bunny Beach. Giant bunny characters (‘Spotibuninis’) will also make an appearance at malls in Manila and Tokyo.
💡 Our take
Fittingly, for a band that has more than 24M monthly listeners globally, this activation is being rolled out on a global scale: the Bunnyland experience will also pop-up at Lollapalooza, which is being held in Chicago this weekend. Building buzz with playful real-world activations and partnerships (look out for a NewJeans x LINE FRIENDS collaboration late in August) is marketing 101, but when done well, it’s still incredibly effective. Gen Z in particular are prioritizing fun: 43% say it’s important to them to do things that give them pleasure and that they seek every chance to have fun. So what can you do to dial up the thrill factor and really seize their attention? Bunnies optional 🐰
Some newsletter readers might remember that just a few weeks ago we highlighted how Thailand’s T-wave is on the rise, but K-pop still reigns supreme. After all, the recent Starbucks x Blackpink collaboration, which included 11 types of drinkware and six lifestyle accessories, sold out online in some markets in just a few minutes. Most markets sold 95% of the merchandise within two to three hours.
The phenomenal success of new, up-and-coming K-pop acts like NewJeans (the girl group debuted only a year ago and already accumulated 2B streams on Spotify) not only shows that the genre is here to stay, but also serves as a reminder that K-pop is so much more than megastars Blackpink and BTS.
Smart brands should be on the lookout for up-and-coming acts, which might be less familiar to marketers, but commands a huge and passionate fanbase nonetheless. Not only does this allow brands to align with a fresh, new act (and at a fraction of the partnership fee with top tier groups), it will also allow brands to build a strong rapport with the fanbase and roll out unique campaigns tailored to the act’s theme or concept. Need some help identifying these up-and-coming opportunities? Culture Group is here to help!
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 Prime Originals success story?
My Fault ❤️
The Summer I Turned Pretty 🐚
🐱🐭 Warner Bros Discovery just announced that Tom and Jerry is coming to Singapore in the beloved cartoon characters’ first localized series. Seven episodes will premiere on Cartoon Network in 2023. Last year, WBD released T&J shorts in Japan in an anime style, but this time expect to see local landmarks and scenarios. There’s nothing like good old-fashion fun… especially when it’s updated and localized to appeal to a new audience!
🏆 The Malaysian short film Horologist won the Best Animation award at the San Diego Comic Con, the first Malay film to do so. It initially started out as a manga, before creator Jared Lee worked with a local studio to turn it into a short film. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: SEA culture is making waves across the world. How can you harness it, uplift it and empower local creators?
🥤Win Metawin, the Thai star of BL dramas 2gether and Boys Over Flowers, is Coca-Cola’s first ASEAN ambassador. As part of the Recipe For Magic campaign, which celebrates how food can bring people together, Metawin (a self professed foodie) will share a meal that he loves. Giving fans the chance to see a new side of their idol could help your ambassador program go beyond another celebrity tie-up.
☕ In other beverage-related news, the Infinite Café in Bangkok is showcasing sustainability with an off-grid solar system and batteries. The pop-up café, developed by energy provider Banpu NEXT in partnership with specialty coffee brand Roots also shows CO2 emissions in real-time. With young people skeptical of greenwashing, consider ways to embed transparency into your eco initiatives.
⚠️ ICYMI: The Boy and the Heron and Oppenheimer have put Studio Ghibli back in the spotlight… and now Levi’s is getting involved. The denim brand has created an exclusive Princess Mononoke-inspired collection that features jeans, jackets and totes. A play for the nostalgic-loving Gen Z, the collection is designed to appeal to super fans and casual observers. Will it be as successful as LOEWE’s collaboration?
This Week's Trivia Answer
B. My Fault ❤️
The Spanish-language original My Fault (‘Culpa Mía’) has been a huge international success for Prime, ranking in the top 10 most watched titles in over 190 countries, with more than 75% of total viewing coming from outside Spain. It’s based on Mercedes Ron’s Culpables book trilogy, which was first published on Wattpad where it garnered a huge fanbase, thanks in part to the influence of Twilight and Taylor Swift’s I Knew You Were Trouble music video (watch the My Fault trailer here).
We’ve previously discussed how platforms like Wattpad and Bilibili have empowered young creators to craft more diverse narratives that resonate with their lived experience. Now those stories are reaching international audiences via streaming platforms (see also Perfect Addiction and Beauty Newbie). Young people aren’t waiting for the content they want, they’re creating it themselves.
There’s plenty of space for brands in this nascent creator economy. It might mean empowering young people – gaming company One True King launched a publishing label to develop indie games for streaming platforms. Or even going direct to Wattpad and co’s vast IP libraries to find new original content – see how SouthWest Airlines debuted a brand film developed with Wattpad. How will you play?
🚀 Over and Out!
So are you Fearless or Folklore? Seeing Red or getting a Reputation?
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Your Culture Mavens,
Acacia, Aliya, Angela, Kiko, & Vicki