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27 JANUARY 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.

🐰 We couldn’t fit all the best Lunar New Year campaigns into last week’s newsletter so we’re rounding up a few more of our faves: Coca-Cola’s AR-enabled campaign that focused on cross-generational connection; the Netflix x Eten Teo collaboration; and RHB Bank’s homage to Lex Low.


In this week’s edition:

  • Innovation of the Week: How Kidults are growing the ‘joyconomy’
  • Fax, No Printer: What did Gen Z in SEA get up to over Lunar New Year?
  • Regional Round-up: The BTS effect, plant-based winners, generative AI.. and more!

Innovation of the Week


Research just in from Euromonitor has revealed that Kidults (“adult consumers who buy products that were originally intended for children”) are making Southeast Asia the fastest growing region for sales of toys and games with a 5.4% retail value CAGR. According to the market research company, SEA wasn’t previously considered a strong Kidults market, but toy categories saw considerable growth during the pandemic that shows no signs of slowing. The concept of, and attitudes towards, ‘toys’ are changing rapidly not just in SEA but globally, Kidults now account for 25% of all sales; the biggest source of growth for the industry.

💡 Our take

In a world beset by seemingly endless crises, many people are looking for small moments of happiness that provide emotional release. In 2023, the joyconomy will be the perfect antidote to fight rising anxiety – and consumers of all ages are going to want in. Play is no longer just for kids, it’s for all ages.

From an aesthetic POV, expect to see more #kidcore (primary brights and clashing patterns), dopamine dressing, and for more beloved childhood characters to be elevated into luxury status symbols. Remember how Kidults everywhere went wildwhen McDonald’s introduced Happy Meals for adults in October 2022? That was just the beginning… Barbie-mania is on the horizon!

We’re not suggesting that brands looking to play in this ‘joyconomy’ should release their next product in Viva Magenta, Pantone’s color of the year. But if you want to appeal to Kidults, you need to consider what they’re buying into – namely their younger, inner selves. So if there are areas of your brand that you previously felt weren’t ‘grown-up’ enough, 2023 is the time to bring them to market. Embrace nostalgia and joy to help people experience childlike wonder more often, taking inspiration from pop culture past and present (we can certainly help with that!). This doesn’t just apply to products – more joyful experiences in retail, beauty, hospitality, health and wellbeing will also be in demand as people look to incorporate play into their everyday.

So remember: you’re no longer just marketing to your adult target audience, but appealing to the kid that’s trapped within them. How can you satisfy that inner child and help unleash joy?

Fax, No Printer*

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

What did nearly a quarter of Southeast Asian Gen Z do this Lunar New Year?

Buy new clothes

Adopt bunny rabbits

Feel anxious

Regional Round-up

🌱 Will going green help brands go for gold? With 79% of Gen Z experimenting with going meatless, Unilever Ventures – the investment arm of the FMCG giant – have invested in Indonesian vegan beauty brand Esqua (it’s their first foray into SEA!). Can your brand stay up to date with new expectations and make strategic investments aligned with Gen Z’s core values?

🦀 When it comes to veganism, Gen Z aren’t waiting for brands! They’re coming up with their own solutions – including plant-based meat. Teenagers from Thailand and Indonesia recently won second place in a pan-Asia food innovation competition with their vegan jumbo crab legs. We think that’s totally clawsome (…sorry).

📈 Dior is experiencing the BTS effect (aren’t we all?). The luxury brand reported that their stocks hit an all time high after appointing BTS star Jimin to the role of brand ambassador. Stocks were at $857 USD two days after the announcement… K-pop power isn’t going anywhere. Are you in it for the long haul?

👟 Meanwhile Skechers has tapped K-pop and drama star Cha Eun-Woo to be the face of their brand in Asia. The shoe brand wants to reach out to its more youthful audience, and thinks the heartthrob, star of Prime Video’s Island and singer in ASTRO, will help. Whose star power can you leverage?

🇻🇳 New research from Lazada revealed that, when it comes to online shopping in SEA, Vietnam tops the league tables. Uni students order items online three to four times a week and opt for food delivery at least once. If you operate in the region (or are looking to) what can your brand do to engage these digital-first shoppers?

⚠️ ICYMI: Ammaar Reshi, a product designer from California, made an animated movie about Batman using AI tools – in just six hours. He tapped ChatGPT to write the script, MidJourney to paint frames…and in the process proved how generative AI can be harnessed for creativity. With creativity inextricably linked to tech, can your brand use these tools to help audiences to express themselves?

This Week's Trivia Answer

😥 C. Feel anxious

During Lunar New Year, Tiger Beer and YouGov surveyed Southeast Asians to find out their feelings during the festive season. 90% of Gen Z and Millennial Southeast Asians admit to putting pressure on themselves, with a 58% feeling the pressure that they have to live up to some ‘impossible standard’.

When reaching out to Gen Z, brands have to understand that feeling anxious is a normal part of their daily lives. So much of how younger consumers act, interact, and transact stems from a looming sense of anxiety about each other, the planet, and politics. To cultivate a more authentic relationship with this cohort, could your brand help alleviate this pressure?

🚀 Over and Out!

Will generative AI save creativity or destroy it? Answers on a postcard (or you could just hit reply to this email).

Thanks for reading Culture Wire. If you enjoyed this edition, tell your friends. Subscribe, forward it on, share on social media… we appreciate you!


Your Culture Mavens,

Acacia, Aliya, Angela, Kiko, & Vicki