Brands AND Music
FRUKT and music matters highlight key music & brand partnerships across the Asia
Pacific region and delve into the evolving cultural exchange between East and West…
and insight | 2012
brands and bands in Asia
With major brands making concerted inroads into Asia and
Asian music acts gaining a strong foothold on an international
level, a generation of digital fans are helping to bring West and
East into closer proximity.
> Building music/brand equity in Asia
Asian marketing promotions have long been lambasted by the ad
men of the West for sticking fast to a seemingly antiquated ‘holdit-and-smile’
product endorsement model over more innovative
marketing techniques. However, with Western music artists now
taking up a more proactive approach to both their personal brand
and corporate alignments (thanks to the, not-so-gentle, economic
shove of the digital music revolution), Asia suddenly seems ahead
of the game when it comes to understanding and implementing
K-Pop, for example - recently dubbed “Korea’s killer content” by
one recording director - has moved Korea’s music scene away
from its woeful privacy problems, turning it into a highly sought
after product outside its native home. Not to mention an ongoing
draw for local and international brands. With digital music
payments still low, endorsements and live performances have
become the financial backbone of a Korean artist.
At the pinnacle of this Asian endorsement model is Girls
Generation (or SNSD to their fans). The nine piece girl group has
racked up a fairly impressive 87 ad partnerships
since the band’s inception in 2003 (a sizable 27 in
2011 alone), filming TVCs, exclusive content and
participating in live/digital events for the likes of
Samsung, LG, Nintendo and Sunkist.
What is particularly interesting in Asia is that it isn’t
just the de rigueur ‘cool’ brands (Converse, Levi’s,
etc) that are finding value in aligning with music.
Even the most unlikely of products - especially to
Western eyes - can cut through by association with
popular music acts. For example, Woongjin Coway,
an ice water purifier company, saw a sales increase
of 400% after appointing Girls Generation to act
as brand ambassadors in a number of ads. Not only
that, but the girls also managed to shift the brand’s
audience from a fairly stoic 40-50 demographic,
enabling the company to draw in an entirely new
customer in the 20-30 age bracket.
the emerging middle class consumer
Asia’s booming emerging markets and rising middle class populations (70%
of India is predicted to be middle class in 15 years, with China’s middle
class expanding by 75% in 2025) are naturally a big draw for international
companies. Luxury goods and lifestyle brands are in high demand in Asia, with
consumers clamouring to purchase aspirational goods compared to their more
recession conscious Western counterparts. Prada’s net profit soared 72%
in the year ending January 2012, thanks to booming sales in Asia. Likewise
Burberry has just opened a new flagship store in Bejing off the back of a 30%
surge in sales at its Chinese stores, promoting its musical ties by having UK
band Keane soundtrack an innovative fashion showcase.
Brands are understandably eager to net a strong foothold in the booming
Asian market, and music - one of the few mediums capable of transcending
language and cultural barriers (whether championing emerging acts, partnering
with established local stars or providing access to international icons) - forms
a conduit that enables brands to connect with consumer passion points. From
intimate events such as the Jack Daniel’s JD Set gigs in the Philippines to
large scale sponsorships like Tiger beer’s annual music festival in Malaysia
and Coca-Cola’s high profile Coke Studio TV show in India, brands are setting
their sights on delivering unique content for the Asian youth community.
And make note, this is a highly engaged and active community. Whether it’s
the Me N Ma Girls in Burma, After School in Korea or AKB48 in Japan, an avid
legion of young fans are following their idols’ every move. These fan netizens,
often with their own culture and names (2NE1’s ‘Blackjacks’, for example, are
akin to Lady Gaga’s ‘Little Monsters’) are constantly pushing for international
awareness. As ever it’s social media that is driving broader acceptance of
Asian music in the West, as 2NE1’s lead vocalist, CL, illustrates, “there is no
line between Korean, Japanese, or international music since YouTube”.
Domesticity is a state of mind and the virtual sphere now facilitates an active
fan voice on the world stage. As the lines blur, and cultural boundaries diminish
in a digital led world, mere points on a compass can’t hold back the onslaught
of the increasingly globalised music business. One where brand, band and fan
has much to gain from deeper cultural collaboration.
of the world’s middle class consumers
will reside in Asia by 2030 (1)
of global luxury sales by 2020 are
predicted to be attributable to Chinese
of South East Asian consumers
are prepared to view or listen to
advertising in exchange for free music (3)
predicted social media users in
the Asia-Pacific region in 2014 (3)
1. OCED, Emerging Middle Class in Developing Countries, 2010
2. CLSA Asia-Pacific Markets, 2011
3. Nielsen: Global Consumer Confidence Study, 2010
4. eMarketer, 2012
FRUKT showcases a wide variety of brand activations and endorsements
across the Asia Pacific region, from supporting emerging artists to creating
virtual pop stars…
2ne1, the 4 piece hip hop/pop girl group,
entered into a long term collaborative
project with international sportswear
brand, Adidas Originals, comprised of
product placement, events and digital
The group have actively promoted the adidas brand, both in their music
videos, prominent fashion magazine shoots and via public appearances
- including a performance at the ‘all Originals: live loud’ event - since
their initial debut in 2009.
We are originals (Korea)
Most recently, designer Jeremy Scott partnered up with 2NE1 on a
new footwear range for adidas, which saw him using 2NE1’s music,
character, fashion style, and individual member qualities as inspiration.
A digital promotion gave fans the opportunity to create their own 2NE1
music video by remixing pre-recorded elements online, with their
creations shared via Twitter, Facebook and embedded into blogs.
The band has also debuted ‘All Originals Make Moves’, a video
campaign championing Korean youth and city life. 2NE1 lead singer CL
and Kim Jin Pyo (formerly of groups Panic and Novasonic), have both
created a unique rap for the campaign with fans invited to vote for their
favorite online for the chance to win adidas Originals ZX footwear.
• Endorsement powerhouse: 2NE1, like many k-pop bands, have
a long line of commercial partnerships under their collective belts;
including Nintendo, Kirin beer, Samsung, Yamaha and Baskin Robbins.
• Fans get social: adidas benefits from the group’s avid fanbase,
known as ‘Blackjacks’, as they proactively drive global awareness of
the group, translating and disseminating content for non-Korean sites.
• Creative culture: the digital aspect of the campaign enables fans
to get closer to the artists by becoming video producers, creating
bespoke content they can broadcast within their social media circle.
> Visit the website
Zippo lighters developed a six-month
concert series in China in a bid to
raise awareness about the brand in
this emerging market, aiming to foster
credible associations with a product
that is considerably more expensive than
its local counterparts.
Hot List Night (China)
The Zippo Hot List Night, a monthly live concert experience, was actively
sponsored by the brand, and featured both emerging artists as well as
some more established acts. Marketing materials were distributed to retail
vendors, with those purchasing a new Zippo product eligible for two free
tickets to one of the events. Zippo promotional girls also distributed flyers in
the vicinity of the venue prior to the gig.
Zippo worked with t-shirt brand Plastered 8, who created promotional
posters for the gigs in collaboration with the Needles and Pins tattoo studio,
with bands such as Pet Conspiracy, Dr. Feel Good, and Hang on The Box
gracing the stage.
The live events helped to establish Zippo as an active supporter of
grassroots music in the region, drawing an audience of around 400 per
event, which helped to drive sales of Zippo by 20% in Bejing.
• Vendor rewards: Zippo actively involved its Chinese retailers, not only
by supplying significant marketing collateral, but also by inviting them to
present awards to bands on stage at the live events.
• Audience participation: Zippo promotional staff mingled with live music
fans at the gigs, offering branded giveaways, whilst an onstage LED
Zippo-meter monitored the audience reaction to the bands.
• Supporting new music: the brand teamed up with Modern Sky
Records on a battle of the bands promotion in Shanghai and Beijing,
giving burgeoning rock bands the opportunity to compete for a chance to
record an EP.
> Visit the Website
AKB48, the Japanese all female girl
group, notable for being the world’s
largest girl band – comprised of some
58 full time members – teamed up with
confectionary brand Glico on a digital
initiative to develop an entirely new
virtual member of the band.
AKB48 recently unveiled a new group member, Eguchi Aimi, a
16-year-old student from Toyko to the popular J-pop act. However it
was soon revealed that the singer was in fact a CGI creation, made
up from component parts of the other female singers in the group.
Virtual brand ambassador (Japan)
A digital campaign from the confectionary company, following
on from the reveal, invited fans of the group to take various facial
features of each group member (hair, eyebrows, nose, mouth, etc)
to create their ideal member. These ‘perfected’ versions of their
favourite stars could then be shared via Twitter and Facebook
and voted for online. In addition, the reassembled girl group
members could also be downloaded for use as avatars and desktop
• Secret service: it’s a clever use of pre-emptive marketing by the
brand, building suspicion and buzz within the fan community through a
series of well placed clues to Eguchi’s true identity.
• Social sharing: fans eager to connect and interact with their idols
we’re quick to get involved with the campaign in an attempt to outdo
Glico by creating their own version of the perfect AKB48 member.
• The perfect brand ambassador: Glico manages to create the ideal
teen music idol, building not only a visual identity but also an idealistic
online profile directly mimicking their target audience.
> watch the video
Sports and lifestyle brand Puma
partnered up with four-member Southern
Korean girl group Sistar in 2011, tapping
the girls’ popularity as style icons to
promote its new range of clothing in a
music video styled commercial.
The group posed for a major photo spread in High Cut magazine, sporting
clothing from the new Puma Jacket range, and also featured in a TV
commercial for the brand, which depicted individual members of the group
dancing on a club turntable, wearing items from the new collection.
Sistar, who netted a Golden Disk Awards (the Korean version of the
Grammy Awards) in 2011 were also voted ‘best style icons’ at the 2011
Korea Lifestyle Awards. Their obvious appeal to fashion brands, both
western and local, has seen the girls featuring in a number of apparel
endorsements, including a jeanswear line ‘SISTAR Jean’ for CLRIDE.n and
promotional activity for the Plastic Island fashion label.
“Sistar is already a top fashion icon in Korea. They’ve been receiving a
lot of calls for photo shoots and the fashion industry is paying a lot of
attention to the group’s new style,” said the groups management, Starship
• Fashion conscious: Puma also partnered up with Boyfriend – also from
the Star Management stable - for a photoshoot for the February issue
of ‘Ceci’ magazine, again focusing in on the desire to emulate the group’s
• The looks and the lifestyle: the ad and magazine shoot appeal directly
to Korean teen aspirations. One of the four group members, Hyorin, is
currently acting in teen TV drama ‘ Dream High’ which follows students as
they aspire to become k-pop stars.
• Endorsement plus: the Sistar collaboration follows on from a high
profile partnership with Taiwanese band Da Mouth in 2010, which saw
the band actively wearing Puma clothing, engaging in digital promotions
and appearing at a number of live events.
> watch the video
Coca-Cola celebrated its 100th
anniversary in the Philippines with a
major concert experience, suggested
and curated by fans across YouTube,
Facebook and Twitter. The event featured
a variety of local Filipino musicians,
coca-cola musical ambassadors and
Centenary concert (Philippines)
The soft drinks brand celebrated its centenary in the Philippines with the
release of a specially created theme song, entitled ‘Tuloy’. A collaborative
track between bestselling Filipino recording artist and actress, Sarah
Geronimo, synthpop artist Somedaydream and singer and actor Mr.
Valenciano. The new song and the concert formed part of the brand’s
overriding ‘Open Happiness’ messaging.
The ‘Coca-Cola Concert ng Bayan’ event saw 50,000 Filipino teens
gathering in Pasay City to watch a variety of local artists - such as Filipino-
American hip-hop duo Q-York and rock bands Parokya ni Edgar and
6cyclemind. The event also saw Sarah Geronimo, Somedaydream and Mr.
Valenciano performing their centenary track, with the added international
appearance of UK R&B artist Craig David. The epic 12-hour concert was
simultaneously broadcast live across the region and streamed online.
• Youth anthem: Coca-Cola paired up Geronimo (the best-selling artist
of the decade in the Philippines) with equally credible contemporaries to
create a song that would resonate directly with teens in the region.
• Crowd-sourced content: Coca-Cola worked directly with teen fans
across its social media pages, taking the time to listen to fan requests in
order to develop a bespoke event.
• Sales driver: fans received free tickets to the concert when buying a
large Coke with their meals at Jollibee, McDonald’s, Chowking and Mang
restaurants, helping to drive purchase in store.
> watch the video
Converse, a brand that is actively
supporting the emerging music scene in
Asia, teamed up with two Chinese indie
bands during the 2011 SXSW festival in
Austin, Texas, documenting the musicians’
journey from East to West.
Converse has a long historic association with emerging music in China;
from the ‘Love Noise’ and ‘Acts of Disruption’ five city live tour, to the more
recent Converse Block Party in Shanghai, complete with DJs, graffiti walls
China to Austin (China)
The brand’s collaboration with both Queen Sea Big Shark and Car Sick
Cars served up a short film showcasing the two groups’ experience at the
prominent SXSW music festival, as they played gigs and traversed the
festival site, all while sporting items from the Chuck Taylor All Star Summer
Converse previously worked with the band Queen Sea Big Shark on the
‘It’s Your Turn’ lyric promotion, which invited fans to add lyric suggestions to
an incomplete track as part of a unique collaborative music campaign.
• Supporting musical creativity: Converse’s partnership with the
bands at SXSW is indicative of its wider global music strategy, which
sees it opting to act as a facilitator of unique music experiences as
opposed to pushing a heavy sales message.
• Crowd sourced content: the ‘it’s Your Turn’ campaign not only enabled
fans to work collaborative with their idols on the creation of a song, but
also let actual fans have a cameo in the accompanying music video.
• Go West: Chinese bands Hedgehog and Re-Tros have both availed of
Converse latest initiative, Rubber Tracks, a free to use recording studio
in Brooklyn, with the latter performing a showcase at the 2012 SXSW
> WATCH THE VIDEO
Levi’s is helping to support emerging
artists in Pakistan as part of its ‘Levi’s
Originals: Inspire’ campaign, which
enables upcoming acts to reinterpret
songs by more familiar artists.
For this particular campaign Levi’s entered into a partnership with two
unsigned acts, Zoe Viccaji and Bilal Khan, who have both reworked the
track ‘Bichara Yaar’ by acclaimed Pakistani group Strings. The group has
collaborated on the new acoustic tracks and appears as the ‘originals’ in
the accompanying print ad campaign.
The Originals: Inspire (Pakistan)
Viccaji cites the marriage of brand and artist – which, in addition to the
song creation, requires her to wear a Levi’s wardrobe at various branded
events - as a “win-win situation” that gives her greater access to high
quality recording facilitates that she wouldn’t normally be able to use.
The promotion is similar in style and substance to the Levi’s Pioneer
Sessions, which saw acts - such as She & Him and The Shins – rerecording
iconic tracks from artists that have inspired them.
• Supporting creativity: this campaign sees Levi’s building on its
global position as a strong facilitator of new music, merging established
popular icons with emerging talent to produce something entirely
original and authentic.
• Pioneering spirit: teaming up with upcoming acts and giving them
the freedom to be creative - as opposed to over engineering the
outcome - enables the brand to deliver a genuine piece of untainted
• Future vision: the promotion is rooted in the handing over of the
music baton from one generation to the next, positioning the brand as
forward thinking and part of a new generation.
> Visit the Website
Tiger beer Malaysia is once again
hosting the Tiger Asian Music Festival,
bringing together a mix of progressive
urban Asian artists to perform in
Kuala Lumpur in the region’s expansive
This year’s festival has a “Street to Beach” theme as it takes a wide
variety of urban Asian artists to Sunway Lagoon’s Surf Beach. Acts
set to grace the stage at the event include A-Lin, ManHanD, LMF and
members of Hong Kong band, Beyond.
Exclusive invite tickets to the event are being made available by the
brand through a series of online contests and promotions in clubs and
bars. For example, music fans that visit the brand’s Facebook page and
share their ‘like’ for the Tiger AMF with five of their social media friends
will be entered into a draw to win tickets to the festival.
“Tiger, a distinctly edgy brand, understands that music is a universallyaccepted
language that unites people. As a brand synonymous with
delivering exceptional consumer experiential activities, Tiger is looking
forward to rewarding our fans with exclusive invites to this year’s Tiger
AMF,” said Sean Koh, marketing manager for Tiger Beer.
• Invite only: the festival pushed out 20,000 exclusive invites via its
dedicated website, and a further 2,000 through product purchase,
helping to drive social traction and in-store sales.
• Share and win: fans that share the AMF trailer video on Facebook
are being rewarded with a variety of prizes – including signed posters,
tickets and t-shirts - in return for generating click throughs to the site.
• Additional partners: a variety of other brands, including Mint, Cathay
Pacific, street wear apparel company LANSI and Durex are also
actively involved with the event, which offers unprecedented access to
Malaysia’s biggest music fans.
> Visit the Website
East meets West
Brand partnerships are a staple of the Asian music market, whether it’s international brands
looking to support creativity and new music experiences or localised talent looking for
traction via collaborations in new regions…
Super Junior (Korea)
Clothing brand Bench is celebrating
its 25th anniversary in the Philippines
by signing up Siwon and Donghae,
members of popular K-pop boy band
Super Junior, as its latest ambassadors.
The partnership is once again testament
of the power of avid k-pop fanbases,
with Super Junior United Philippines
(SJUPH), one of the group’s local fan
collectives, campaigning for a year for
members of the group to endorse the
Bench announced the new
endorsement deal via Twitter, driving the
hashtag #SiHaeLovesBench to rank in
the top 4 trending topics of the day.
brave girls (Korea)
The urban streetwear fashion line
has enlisted k-pop group, Brave
Girls, winners of ‘Rookie of the
Year’ at the 19th Korea Culture
Entertainment Awards, to participate in
a new marketing campaign launching
simultaneously in Korea and the US.
The five-member Korean girl band
will feature in a major marketing push
alongside global music artists such as
Far East Movement, tying into a wider
comeback promotion for the group.
“The Brave Girls have a unique
trendiness to them both in their music
and style that’s hard to find with other
girl groups. They’re a perfect fit for the
global market, which is why we chose
them for our project,” stated a source
close to the initiative.
N7 Weekender (India)
The global rum brand actively sponsors
what has become an essential music
event in the Indian calendar, hosting a
three-day festival at Magarpatta City
in Prune that showcases a plethora of
local and global acts in front of 24,000
Over 150 acts played across five stages
at the sold out event in November 2011,
including international artists Imogen
Heap, King Creosote and Basement
Jaxx, plus a variety of local talent, such
as Shaa’ir + Func.
The event showcased an eclectic mix
of music, with Eristoff vodka providing
dance and electronica at the Eristoff
Wolves Den, to rock and metal at the
Bacardi Black Rock Arena.
SNSD, or Girls Generation as they are
more commonly know (outside Asia), were
ranked as the most prolific female brand
endorsement partners in 2011. The group
has notched up 27 alignments with a
myriad of consumer products in the space
of a year, from Dior to Dominos Pizza.
The girls partnered with Lipton on two
new TV ads in Japan to promote its tea
products, ‘Let It Rain’ and ‘ Mr. Taxi’, each
containing a different song from their first
Lipton ran an accompanying “Dream
Factory” contest, in which 30,000 Girls’
Generation prizes could be won via an
on-pack code. The brand also sold 500
limited edition Girls’ Generation packaged
Red Bull’s travelling Thre3style Music
Tour landed in Hong Kong earlier this
year, looking to educate local DJs and
enable them to showcase their diverse
skills. The Asian tour was presented
by one of Canada’s most in-demand
DJs and respected producers, DJ
Skratch Bastid, who actively shared his
knowledge with over 20 aspiring DJs in
Participating DJs were tasked with
playing three different styles of music
within a 15-minute time slot, stretching
the DJs beyond their usual comfort zone.
The DJs were then judged on creativity,
skill, track selection, stage presence and
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> watch the video
Music Matters, the pioneer music industry event
and festival in the Asia Pacific region, is the
annual meeting place of the entire value chain of
the music business, from artists and mangers to
record labels, promoters and music publishers.
The conference programme highlights the music
industry’s most pertinent issues, covering topics such
as the role of brand sponsors, the rise in Asian music
festivals, developments in music publishing, launching
digital services and detailed country focused sessions
including China, India, Japan and Korea. The festival also
provides a unique live platform for independent artists to
be discovered by the global music industry.
To register for the week that matters please contact
About FRUKT Communications
FRUKT help some of the biggest brands in the
world deliver smart entertainment marketing
solutions. From conception through to activation,
FRUKT create ideas that deliver against brand
and business challenges. Our clients include
Coca-Cola, Nokia, Diesel, Southern Comfort and
Starwood Hotels, for whom we have created award
winning integrated platforms spanning Live, Digital,
ATL, Instore and more, across 150 countries.
FRUKT USA | Chris Johns, Director
M: +1 305 322 0362
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M: +44 7746511844
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