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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.

🤑 According to a report from Google, Temasek Holdings, and Bain, SEA’s internet economy is set to reach USD 200B in GMV in 2022 – that’s three years earlier than projected. Over 100M people have come online in the region in the past three years; expect the next three to be about deeper engagement rather than acquiring new consumers.

In this week’s edition:

  • Innovation of the Week: The world’s biggest esports tournament comes to Singapore
  • Fax, No Printer: Who’s the first family of anime?
  • Regional Round-up: Sustainable fashion fairs, Gucci meets Kpop, Pinoy Prime and more

Innovation of the Week


This week, Jackson Wang announced that he would headline the League of Legends World Championship (or Worlds, for those in the scene 😉 finals this year, alongside President of League, Lil Nas X. Worlds has established itself as a pop culture tentpole, with sought-after official merch, live performances of specially-written songs, and of course, the actual esports match itself. Last year, there were a collated 46.5M hours spent watching the group stages, with 73.9M concurrent viewers at its peak.

💡 Our take

Worlds might not be the biggest esports tournament – that spot still belongs to DotA’s The International (which just concluded in Singapore last week, boasting a prize pool of USD 18M) – but Riot Games is the undisputed leader in carving pop cultural relevance for League of Legends and fans of this subculture. We’ll break down a few notable examples:

Riot Games collaborated with Netflix to create the hugely successful Arcane, a show set in the world of League of Legends. The show set an ‘unheralded’ number of records, with 120M viewers and a 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes. The show still tops Tumblr’s ‘most talked about shows’ list well into 2022. By diversifying their offering and collaborating with Netflix, Riot were able to bring the world of Piltover and League to a whole new demographic of people, with player numbers jumping from 115M to 150M in the few months after the show was released.

Riot even developed their own Kpop girlgroup called K/DA, who performed at Worlds a few years ago to roaring crowds. This time, Riot reached out to Kpop fandoms online, and marketed K/DA the way any Kpop agency would market their groups – with merch, performances, and interviews familiar to anyone on stan Twitter. K/DA scored a photoshoot with Louis Vuitton in 2020, marking just one of the many collaborations the fashion house has had with the game.

Not one to be left out, Nike has also released collaborations with the game, like releasing their LoL Dunk Lows and partnering with a pro League athlete. Who knew gamer merch could be this cool, and could cement your position as one of the biggest pop culture brands?

The niche-ification of the internet means that most young consumers have splintered off into their own subcultures, each invested in their own corner of interest. By bringing consumers new ways to celebrate things they already love through League of Legends, Riot is reaching out to these disparate consumers and speaking their language, pulling them into the world of League.


Fax, No Printer*

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

Which dessert chain is taking over Indonesia?

KOI Bubble Tea


Potong Ice Cream

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

Regional Round-up

🇵🇭KROMA Entertainment, one of the Philippines’ largest entertainment companies, just hosted their first in-person event. They celebrated ANIMA Films winning awards in the region, podcasting insights, and their partnership with record label 88Rising. KROMA knows what their young audience wants, and are experts at bringing it to them – we broke this down in last week’s newsletter. Keep it up, KROMA!

🏡  Posong, a village in Java, is home to a whole host of YouTubers. Ever since the villagers discovered that they could create content, they’ve quit their jobs and have been posting to millions of viewers. The democratizing powers of the internet empowered their creativity. Can your brand help underserved groups reach their (online) potential?

👗 Xiaohongshu partnered up with Bottle Dream, a Shanghai-based social innovation company that specializes in environmental protection and sustainable solutions, to change the perception of fashion. Their ‘REDcycle market’ is bringing resale retail to China on a huge scale. Visitors learn how to upcycle, mend, and swap their old clothes. The future’s not green – it’s red!

👜  Ever wished your fan fervor would make you famous? Well, it worked for Hanni, the Vietnamese-Australian member of BTS’ sister group NewJeans, who got her big break after being scouted at a Kpop fan dance group in Australia. She’s now a pop sensation at the age of 18, and the newest Gucci brand ambassador.

🎥  Not only is Prime Video providing a stage for K-drama titles, they’re also highlighting local content in the Philippines. Amazon Prime will partner with new and established filmmakers and producers to take Pinoy stories global. In order to foster relationships with Gen Z, marketers must understand that localization (and niche-ification) is the way forward!

This Week's Trivia Answer

B. The Simpsons!

For their annual Treehouse of Horror special, The Simpsons did a send up of popular anime, pulling styles, plot points, and cameos from anime like Death Note. While The Simpsons has been an American hallmark for time immemorial, it clearly can’t ignore the rise of Asian pop culture. With Homer drinking sake, Marge cooking teppanyaki, and Lisa entering the anime world of Death Note star Light Yagami, it’s a great example of what happens when (fictional) worlds collide.

Anime is no longer just the realm of mega-geeks and otakus – it’s a billion dollar industry. The most watched TV show in the US in 2021 was the anime series Attack On Titan; anime festivals in Southeast Asia routinely pull 100K attendees yearly, and Netflix has announced at least 29 anime products will launch on the platform next year. Anime is here to stay. Ikimasho!


🚀 Over and Out!

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Your Culture Mavens,

Acacia, Aliya, Angela, Kiko, & Vicki