11 NOVEMBER 2022
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.
🎁A quick snapshot to start with: today, the Singles Day shopping festival celebrates its 13th year. And while economic turbulence might make it hard to top 2021’s USD 139B sales volume, this is still a momentous shopping extravaganza! No other event has done more to turn shopping into a pop culture phenomenon across China and SEA, so expect plenty of e-commerce innovations – Tmall has already used XR-powered marketplaces and 3D virtual experiences that don’t require headsets.
In this week’s edition:
- Innovation of the Week: Fashion collabs x virtual worlds
- Fax, No Printer: What’s Netflix up to?
- Regional Round-up: SB19 go global, Shake Shack goes local, and Gucci enters the Sandbox
Innovation of the Week
🎮 FOR LUXURY BRANDS, THE GAME IS ON!
This week we’re diving deep into luxury fashion and gaming, spotlighting two recent partnerships.
First up, Burberry. The British brand has built a mini London on Minecraft, filled with creative references to the brand’s heritage (including a monogram maze). Users can dress their characters in Burberry skins – think logo t-shirts and tartan suits – and also shop IRL versions of the same clothes at seven stores, including Bangkok, Tokyo, Seoul, and Taiwan.
Not to be outdone, Ralph Lauren, purveyor of prep, is collaborating with Fortnite. The digital-first collection will be followed by a physical drop and, in an unexpected move, Ralph Lauren has redesigned its iconic Polo logo, replacing the horse with a cartoon llama 🦙
💡 Our take
Luxury brands have thrived in recent years through experimentation and collaboration, leveraging a presence in games as a key approach to Gen Zs – think Balenciaga and Moncler in Fortnite, or Gucci‘s persistent space in Roblox (and now the Sandbox). Although Burberry and Ralph Lauren chose different platform partners, there are a lot of similarities to explore.
First, both allow players to dress their real and digital selves in the same (or very similar) items. For younger players, URL style is now influencing IRL looks. A recent survey from Roblox found that 70% of US Gen Zs dress their avatars similar to their real-life self, while equally as many users get physical style inspiration from dressing their avatars. Yes, this is US data, but if you think 18-25-year-olds across SEA aren’t using their avatars as a canvas for experimentation, then bringing that identity to the real world, think again! In this vein, virtual launches could also allow brands to test consumer response to new products, and then influence the items that go into production.
Something else that links these partnerships? Both take elements of the brand’s core DNA, then remix it for the virtual world. Burberry recreated London (a city it has a strong association with), while Ralph Lauren redesigned their classic logo (the ultimate signifier of ‘preppiness’). ‘Luxury brand’ and ‘craftsmanship’ typically go hand-in-hand, but Burberry deviated from the playbook, making the Minecraft fashion very blocky – in keeping with the style of the game. This isn’t the obvious choice, it’s a surprising remix. Which aspects of your brand DNA will you need to challenge when translating them into digital worlds? Culture Group can help you step into the unexpected!
Fax, No Printer*
For those of you born before 1997, ‘fax, no printer‘ is Gen Z speak for ‘undeniable facts I agree with’
What is Netflix's latest innovative on-platform endeavor?
Dance Dance Revolution
Scroll down to the end of the newsletter for the correct answer!
🎤 SB19 is going global! The Filipino born, Korean trained Ppop group SB19 is off on their first-ever world tour. This group earned accolades, and threw BTS from their No1 spot in the Philippines charts thanks to their mix of genres and emphasis on Pinoy culture. Laban, boys!
🍔Shake Shack embraced Peranakan culture with limited edition Buah Keluak Burger and Curry Fries, created in partnership with Michelin-starred restaurant Candlenut. The burger was made using iconic local ingredients from Peranakan culture. Local + limited is a powerful combination. Shiok ah!
🇨🇳Patagonia is bringing ‘1% for the Planet’ to China to support nonprofit organizations dedicated to environmental protection in the country. Starting in December, Patagonia will take 1% of sales from each product sold in China and donate it to environmental protection projects. How will your brand give back?
👗Filipino fashion is going digital. Kandama CEO and Creative Director Victor Baguilat Jr launched an NFT collection with blockchain firm Tetrix to raise awareness of traditional Filipino handloom weaving and to provide opportunities to indigenous weavers. New tech has never looked so local!
🛹 To reach younger consumers, Prudential Malaysia have developed 3D avatars in the style of Gen Z aesthetics and subcultures. By highlighting Gen Z niches in the country, from skaters to fashionistas, they’re showing they ‘get’ what makes Gen Z tick. Can your brand say the same?
This Week's Trivia Answer
Netflix is launching Triviaverse – a new interactive trivia game. Are we being too meta by putting trivia in the trivia section? We couldn’t help ourselves! The game itself is easy to play, separated into categories like history, science, and pop culture. Users earn badges based on their quizzing prowess.
Netflix is testing out its gaming capabilities – the brand has hired five gaming studios to be their in-house developers. While the Triviverse format is simple, it’s introducing multiplayer modes to Netflix and it’s a casual competition that can be shared. Given the success of Netflix’s interactive episodes, it’s clear that the platform is capable of much more than just streaming. And if you’ve been reading this section of the newsletter closely, you’ve already at an advantage in the pop culture section of the trivia!
🚀 Over and Out!
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Your Culture Mavens,
Acacia, Aliya, Angela, Kiko, & Vicki