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29 MARCH 2024

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.

In this week’s edition:

  • Innovation of the Week: Thailand announces two major music events 
  • Fax, No Printer: Which remake made headlines this week?
  • Regional Round-up: Sustainable cultural practices, shared sounds, cosmic personas, and more!

Innovation of the Week


Two major music festivals are coming to Thailand. First up, Summer Sonic Bangkok 2024 which will happen in August. It’s the first time the Japanese festival will be held in Southeast Asia. Then in 2026, Bangkok will host Tomorrowland, a world-renowned EDM festival that’s been running in Antwerp, Belgium since 2005. According to a statement from government spokesperson Chai Wacharonke, it could be the first of 10 consecutive editions that would put the festival in rare territory alongside Wonderfruit and Djakarta Warehouse Project as the region’s longest-running festivals.


The push towards major music events is part of the Thai PM’s measures to stimulate the economy by turning the country into a tourism hub (the plan also includes visa waivers). Thailand has a good track record for large-scale events—just a few weeks ago, Rolling Loud Thailand confirmed it would return for a second year following a successful April 2023 debut that, according to some reports, was the biggest music festival to take place in the nation. With a predicted crowd of 350K, Summer Sonic could break that record.

Demand for in-person experiences is here to stay, so doubling down on live entertainment is an increasingly smart strategy. What’s more, turning towards music festivals that feature a varied lineup is a great way to bring together not just fans of artists but music fans in general.  

Young people in particular are willing to open their culture wallet and spend on their passion points, with a recent survey finding that 70% of global consumers prefer to spend money on experiences rather than things. As we’ve previously observed, this type of spending is seen as essential to their well-being, versus a ‘nice-to-have’. 

Live experiences are also an antidote to social isolation and loneliness. Axa’s 2024 Mind Health report found that almost a quarter (23%) of people in Thailand say they are languishing (ie, not functioning at full capacity); that number rises to 26% in the Philippines. Fixing these types of deep-rooted issues will require more than a two-day festival, but events like Summer Sonic do provide meaningful interactions and the chance to be part of a community. 

Perhaps you’re wondering what this means for brands? Consider how you can help your consumers access the live experiences they are opening their culture wallet for. The returns are twofold: strengthening brand affinity among existing customer base while also increasing brand visibility among new users. And if you’re considering running your own events or collaborating with these events, consider developing a narrative-driven strategy that puts the emphasis on community, connection and unforgettable memories. We’re here to help with both! 

Fax, No Printer*

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

Which remake is gaining popularity?

A. X-Men ’97

B. One Piece

C. Avatar: The Last Airbender

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

Regional Round-up

💵 Ahead of Qingming Festival next week, a Singapore-based startup is offering a greener alternative for young people practicing the tradition of burning joss paper for ancestors—the ‘Eco Hell Note’ burns clean without residue. With sustainability-first approaches not doing as well as expected despite Asian Gen Z being more environmentally conscious, how can you position sustainability in a way that is culturally resonant to them?

🍻 Because music sounds better when it’s shared, Heineken Malaysia is encouraging music lovers to refresh their playlists. After analyzing the user’s (and their friends’) Spotify music profiles, Heineken curates new playlists filled with undiscovered gems and new genres. This is a great example of a brand extending its brand message (in this case, sharing a beer) into a passion point (music). Your take?

🧑‍🚀 Are you a meteorite or satellite? Dark matter or gravity? If you’re lost in space, we suggest taking the Cosmos Persona test that’s blown up on social media this week. Devised by Thai artist Izon Falzo, it puts a celestial twist on the Myers-Brigg Type Indicator. It’s a cute, lighthearted, and very shareable way to explore your personality. We know that Gen Z can’t get enough of astrology and the zodiac, so is it time to consider how you can help young people learn about themselves?

🍞 Recognizing that young people in Singapore don’t feel as confident in their financial literacy, HSBC kicked off the Grow Your Wealth campaign with Bread and Better: a song featuring Gareth.T, Keung To and Gentle Bones (Joel Tan). Blending entertainment and education, the video racked up 1.7M views in the first month of release. How will you give young people the confidence they need to make their dreams a reality now?

⚠️ ICYMI: A new global alliance between HYBE and Universal Music Group (UMG) could supercharge Weverse, allowing more Western artists to connect with their fandom. With the fan platform on an upward trajectory—subscribers spent an average of 250 minutes per month on Weverse last year, up 46% from 2022—we expect to see more global artists build out fan communities, including in the US where 18% of listeners are superfans, up from 15% at the start of 2023.

This Week's Trivia Answer

A. X-Men ’97 

Reaching 4M global views in the first five days of launch on Disney+, X-Men ‘97 has been a hit with viewers. The relaunched animated series picks up where the original X-Men:The Animated Series (which ran from 1992-97) left off and, according to Disney, it’s the streamer’s most-watched Season 1 premiere for a full-length animated series.

Tubi’s annual report found that 74% of Gen Z and Millennials prefer originals, with a similar number (71%) looking for more TV shows and movies from indies or smaller creators. X-Men ‘97 doesn’t tick either of those boxes. What it does have is nostalgia that appeals to fans of the original IP and newer audiences. It’s a show parents can watch with their kids or on their own. It’s also relatively easy to jump in if you’re unfamiliar with the original or the broader Marvel Cinematic Universe (what, you don’t have a spare 7,615 minutes to watch all that?) 

Clearly not all remakes are doomed to fail, but many of them will. A dusty IP doesn’t always equate to success, but a blend of nostalgia, legacy characters, and punchy episodes (each one is about 30 minutes) could set you up for success. And if your brand isn’t gearing up to remake a beloved franchise, what lessons can you glean from the popularity of X-Men ‘97?

🚀 Over and Out!

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Your Culture Mavens,

Angela, Catherine, Kiko, Teri, & Vicki