Scroll to top

11 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.

💸 This Barbie is breaking records! Greta Gerwig’s Barbie movie reached USD 1B at the global box office. No movie in Warner Bros.’ 100-year history has sold so many tickets so fast. Time to finally retire the idea that films and entertainment geared mostly towards women can’t become cultural and economic powerhouses?

  • Innovation of the Week: Creators as a force for good 
  • Fax, No Printer: What are Singaporean singles looking for in a new partner?
  • Regional Round-up: All the music updates you need… and an alien adventure! 

Innovation of the Week


Following disastrous floods in Indonesia last year – some of which were caused by rubbish-clogged rivers – five young men started cleaning up the country’s waterways. Now, the @pandawaragroup has 9.4M followers across TikTok and Instagram and they’re inspiring others to join in: 3K people turned up to help clean up waste from a beach in Lampung on Sumatra Island after Pandawara put out a call for volunteers. They have been invited to meet government officials and done collaborations – including with TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew and local beauty brand Avoskin.

💡 Our take

This week’s story is a reminder that in addition to the more frequently discussed pop culture spaces like music and gaming, climate and sustainability rank pretty highly on young people’s list of passion points. In fact, 92% of Indonesians (versus ‘only’ 79% globally) believe that we’re on the brink of an environmental disaster if we do not change our habits quickly. And of course, Gen Zs are organizing for good using the tools they’re most familiar with: social media.

The success of the Pandawara group is rooted in its authenticity and clarity of mission, but there is a space for brands here. Consider where the environmental issues that Gen Z is passionate overlap with your brand’s purpose, and run social media activations that inspire them to take action. Of course, this isn’t about putting the onus on young people. Instead give them a way to connect with other eco-activists and work with them to make their local area better.

One bigger, underlying shift to keep in mind here is the changing nature of the creator economy, including the rise of deinfluencing. Shameless #haul videos are a thing of the past, and content that focus on materialistic aspirations are increasingly seen as out of touch. Instead, more people are looking to social media creators to use their influence for good. The rising wave of cause-driven creators are encouraging their followers to consume and do better. How might you work with them and their passionate followers?

Fax, No Printer*

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

What are Singaporean singles looking for in a new partner?


Good looks

The Eras Tour Tickets!

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

Regional Round-up

☁️ 88rising – the media company that’s bringing Asian music talent to the US and the force behind the Head in the Clouds festivals – collaborated with Honda on an exclusive merchandise shop at the event. Stocking the new Honda X 88rising limited-edition capsule collection, it’s a reminder that the right partnerships can help brands authentically connect with younger audiences.

👽You’ve heard of Grimace, the McDonald’s character that spawned a viral TikTok trend and helped boost sales by 11%. Now the fast food giant is looking to another mascot for its new restaurant idea. In an analyst call, the brand revealed plans for ‘CosMc’s’ – a small format spinoff based around an alien character. Will it take revenues to outer space? We’ll be watching! 🚀

✈️To celebrate ASEAN day, AirAsia has partnered with Malaysian synth-pop musician Sam Lopex on an audio journey. Featuring songs from five cities (Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Jakarta, Manila and Singapore), ‘Sounds of ASEAN’ allows listeners to immerse themselves in SEA’s diverse cultures. Celebrating culture ✅Uplifting local talent ✅This campaign could have come straight from Culture Group’s playbook!

🎧Apple Music is also spotlighting SEA talent with ‘Here’s to the Dreamers’. The new series, which will run through August on Apple Music, spotlights six artists and mixes live performance video with interviews and exclusive content. How will you help music lovers discover the next big (local) thing?

⚠️ ICYMI: It’s not just Barbie that’s breaking records. Earlier this week, YouTuber MrBeast (174M subscribers), revealed that his latest video titled ’7 Days Stranded At Sea’ had received the highest number of views in 24 hours for a non-music video. At the time of writing, it’s been viewed over 87M times. MrBeast has a huge fan base and with a Sideman/PewDiePie partnership on the horizon, he could be reaching new heights very soon.

This Week's Trivia Answer

A. Kindness

If you voted b) or c)… shame on you 🙈 According to a recent survey conducted by Bumble, Singaporean singles are looking for kindness: 81% of respondents are more attracted to this quality than outward appearances, with 53% noting honesty and compassion (45%) as the top defining qualities of being kind. In light of these results, the dating app just launched a new campaign called Kindness is Sexy with actor and singer Glenn Yong.

So what’s contributed to this shift? Bumble has some answers there, highlighting bad experiences, wider education around gender equality and women’s empowerment and the ways relationships are portrayed in pop culture. But let’s be honest, given the challenging events of the past few years, kindness will go a long way, not just in relationships. How might your brand infuse this value into the next initiative?

🚀 Over and Out!

🇸🇬 Last but not least, a very happy National Day to our Singaporean readers. Majulah Singapura!

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


Your Culture Mavens,

Acacia, Aliya, Angela, Kiko, & Vicki