21 APRIL 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.
It’s a festive week for Southeast Asia – Songkran (the Thai New Year) stretched over last weekend, while Hari Raya Eid al-Fitr (the end of Ramadan) falls on this coming weekend. For case study examples of how brands are activating these cultural moments around the region, check out the round-up section of this week’s newsletter!
In this week’s edition:
- Innovation of the Week: Netflix’s saucy partnership brings Thai film from screen to street
- Fax, No Printer: Teamwork makes the dreamwork?
- Regional Round-up: Holidaying over Songkran, the world’s best airport gamified, Pinoy grassroots EDM, and more!
Innovation of the Week
✨NETFLIX THAILAND’S SECRET SAUCE
Thai sauces and canned food company Roza rolled out an instant sauce product, based on the ‘secret sauce’ for Chef Aroy’s Cry Baby Noodles from Hunger, Netflix’s biggest Thai original film of the year. Co-created in partnership with Netflix Thailand, the Roza Chef@Home sauce is now available in supermarkets nationwide.
💡 Our take
First stop, Southeast Asia – next, the world! Let’s first discuss the significance of the Hunger film itself. Regular readers know that Southeast Asia is fast becoming a popular culture exporter, and Hunger’s success is just the latest example.
Beyond becoming the number one trending topic in Thailand, Hunger landed as the number one non-English film on Netflix worldwide and in the Top 10 on Netflix in 91 countries, all within a week of release. It also accumulated 43.5M hours viewed last week, more than any other English-speaking film did. If you have not already, think about how your brand might harness the power of local culture and IPs, to appeal to both global and regional consumers.
The Netflix and Roza partnership is a great example of how a brand might celebrate local IP and bring it to life for consumers in novel ways. Additionally, to celebrate the film release, Netflix also set-up a Hunger pop-up restaurant in Bangkok.
The concept of an IP universe – adapting IP from one media format to another – is not a new one. But what Netflix does best is bring these story worlds beyond media and into tangible reality, allowing fans more touchpoints to experience their favorite stories, and ultimately strengthening their interest in the IP itself. We have seen this with the Stranger Things experience, the local newspaper insert for Bridgerton in Indonesia, and the zombie bus for All of Us are Dead in Thailand.
How might your brand bring consumers closer to the worlds they love, and in turn, harness fan love into brand love?
Fax, No Printer*
For those of you born before 1997, ‘fax, no printer‘ is Gen Z speak for ‘undeniable facts I agree with’
Which movie based on a much-loved IP is going viral right now?
BLACKPINK and Frank Ocean
Bad Bunny and Blink 182
Jackson Wang and Ciara
🔫 Spotify and Airbnb partnered to remind travelers to carve out time and space for rejuvenation amidst the Songkran festivities. The two brands jointly curated a T-pop playlist of relaxing tunes and a list of wellness-themed Thai homes to stay in. We love this example for tapping into both a cultural moment (Songkran!) and consumer movement (wellness!). To all our Thai readers – สุขสันต์วันสงกรานต์!
🚴 The RHB bank has brought out a Hari Raya campaign celebrating the achievements of Ramli Aziz, a retired police officer who builds disabled-friendly tricycles using recycled scrap materials. This campaign goes beyond the typical Hari Raya motifs and presents an alternative interpretation to the theme of forgiveness – the promise of second chances in life – while highlighting the hot topic of sustainability.
📻 It’s time for a Tagalog takeover! Manila Community Radio won a grant from the global club culture company Boiler Room to keep developing and uplifting budots, a growing Filipino grassroots EDM / street-style hip hop music genre. Manila Community Radio will now be launching a secret showcase of DJs in order to foster this community – how can your brand empower and elevate niche groups?
✈️ Changi Airport is taking off in Roblox with the world’s first airport-based branded experience on the platform, allowing gamers to play and interact with the Singaporean location. There will be replicas of landmarks, minigames, and interactive spaces. Already the world’s best airport for a few years running, Changi is constantly innovating to stay on top of what’s new and next for consumers.
🖤💓 After making history as the first K-pop act to headline in 2019, the biggest girl group in the world returned to Coachella this year. BlackPink represented their country and K-culture by arriving in hanboks, and finishing the set in Korean. We are cheering and rooting for their continued world takeover. Hwaiting, BLACKPINK!
⚠️ ICYMI: Netflix has just announced that they have hired Halo Infinite’s creative head in order to develop a new, multi-platform, AAA (that’s blockbuster for you non-gamers) game. This is a huge jump from Netflix’s current gaming offerings, and could spell out a bright future for the platform in the gaming space. We’ll be watching how they level up.
This Week's Trivia Answer
C. Jackson Wang and Ciara
Jackson surprised the crowd by bringing Goodies singer Ciara onstage to sing duets and collaborations – remixing XG’s Left Right, sharing Ciara’s own song 1, 2, Step, and debuting the two artists’ new collab track, Slow.
Jackson Wang’s success has always been due to his courage in pushing boundaries – partnering with new creators and exploring new concepts concepts, whether that’s launching his new art-based line, or a series of biscuits, or just completely taking over the fashion and design world with his TEAM WANG group.
The lesson here? Being light on your feet, innovative, and daring to experiment is the key to securing success with the multi-hyphenate consumer generation!
🚀 Over and Out!
We hope that all of our Thai readers had a happy Songkran, and we’d like to wish all of our Muslim readers a blessed Eid ahead.
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Your Culture Mavens,
Acacia, Aliya, Angela, Kiko, & Vicki