Posts filed under ‘singapore’

Asian youth and the mobile phone

Ju (MindShare, Regional Insights) writes:

mobilelife.jpgThe mobile phone has become an indispensible equipment for Asian youth. PwC’s 2007 survey of nearly 8,000 of their staff from 17 countries around the world (78% aged between 16-34 yrs) revealed a whopping 98% mobile penetration rate in Asia-Pacific countries, with a significantly lower 62% fixed-line penetration rate.

The first Asia Scout Network pan-regional summary report by MindShare is therefore dedicated to the mobile phone – how mobiles mold the lifestyles of Asian youth and vice versa.  Findings are based on updates on the Asia Scout Network blog from our city scouts in Tokyo, Singapore, Jakarta, Bangkok, Sydney, Shanghai, and Kuala Lumpur.

The headlines are:
1) Asian youth pimp their mobiles
2) Mobilizing communities
3) Japan’s contagious QR codes
4) Mobile multimedia gains momentum
5) Making ‘Hero’ features visible
6) What lies beyond

Download the full report:asia-scout-network-the-mobile-life.pdf

August 28, 2007 at 3:00 am 2 comments

Singapore – big plans for a small island

Alefiyah (MindShare, Singapore) writes:

Formula1. Terminal 3 (T3) at Changi. Integrated Resorts (IR).

Big things are happening in a small country.

These three economic drivers in Singapore can change the way we do business within our industry. It can be the Big Switch for us.

But first, let’s take a glance at the scale of change within each.

One: Formula 1 – Getting Singapore on the ‘fast track’


Having won the rights to host a first ever night Grand Prix for the next five years, the government is all set to have the event & it’s city state, publicized across the world.

Inevitable, of course, are the gains it will get through the influx of tourists and like revenue, which will work towards fulfilling the 2015 target of the Tourism Board:

1. Tripling Tourism Receipts to S$30 billion,
2. Doubling visitor arrivals to 17 million, and creating
3. Additional 100,000 jobs in the services sector
(Source : STB)

Read the Reuters article for more details about the same.

We could lead this race with the host of business opportunities and partnerships it presents. The possibilities are endless…

Two : A new travel Experience at T3 in Changi, Singapore


T3 promises to change the globe trotters travel experience, with its 5 storey high, vertical “Green Wall” garden, 70 Retail & Shopping stores and 30 F&B outlets. Besides this, the automated ‘Baggage Sortation System’ and 9 storey airport hotel promise to transform Changi into the foremost among Airports.
3. The Emerging Opportunities with IR’s in Singapore


With people spoilt for choice in goods, products and services, not only marketers, but even tourism boards vie with each other to capture the attention and wallet of the consumer-traveler.

Within Asia, we have centers of pulsating change : The Shanghai’s face lift, the upcoming new West Kowloon cultural centre in Hong Kong, Integrated resorts in Khao Lak, Thailand, and Formula one and the KLCC project in Malaysia.

Shedding a few inhibitions, Singapore is aggressively launching its two Integrated Resorts at Marina Bay and Sentosa. These will convert 57 hectares of land into an offering of Theme Parks, Resorts, Hotels, Restaurants, Shopping malls, convention & exhibition space, museums, theatres and casinos.

It will feed the tourism revenues with about 35,000 jobs in the hospitality sector: Retail, Exhibition, Hotel, F&B and Aviation.

For more details on the IR read Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s speech in Parliament.

It’s impossible not to get effected by this change. There is an urgent need to establish our stance within the “Business” in Communication & Media. Retail, Content & Films and Sports Partnerships will thrive. They are expected to. Pertinent is the ‘scale’ on which we do business that will make all the difference.

If the fields of competition are open to all, and this is where the consumer is going to be, we should be in the race.

May 15, 2007 at 6:39 am 1 comment

More free stuff – check out the b-side

James (MindShare Asia-Pacific) writes:

Continuing on the theme of outstanding open source thinking and sharing, don’t miss this great presentation on convergence, given by the super-smart Brian Tiong last month at the Malaysian media congress. Do spend some time at Brian’s excellent blog  b-side which he writes from Singapore and packs with useful data and opinions.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

May 3, 2007 at 5:26 am Leave a comment

Singapore’s Retro-wave and implications for media


Sonal (MConsult, Singapore) writes:

The Straits Times, Singapore’s leading English daily, recently devoted its entire Sunday Lifestyle supplement to covering a phenomenon which seems to be becoming a rage in Singapore. ‘Nostalgia’ or the need to relive the past is a disease that seems to be afflicting more Singaporeans than is usual. In fact so big is the phenomenon, that one can almost call it a mini industry of sorts in this city state.

It has many avataars – retro/vintage/60’s or 70’s hip/40’s-50’s art deco/classic- and it finds many manifestations- retro theme parties, quaint looking eateries, retro designs for buildings and offices, activist groups campaigning for the preservation of historic buildings and their facades, retro furniture shops, nostalgia themed collections/looks by designers to even the National Museum putting up era specific memorabilia on display and publishing a book on Vintage Singapore. The most popular destination in Singapore currently, The Cathay Picture House (Most popular destination for online Singaporeans – MPulse November 2006), has also been through a recent makeover which highlights its art deco façade instead of a swanky modern contemporary look. The New Majestic Hotel, recently renovated similarly, is one of the hippest destinations in Singapore. In fact, even our Mindshare Singapore office has a conference room done up in mosaic sixties style!!

So what lies behind Singapore’s yearning for the past? Is it merely nostalgia, which can be found everywhere? Or is it something more, something to sit up, understand and possibly learn from?

For Singapore, a city often accused by the world of having no soul, this could perhaps be an attempt to discover what it is really about. The current generation is perhaps increasingly trying to bring back and understand the past to decode the character of the present.

According to a sociologist quoted in the aforementioned Sunday Times supplement, ‘People tend to have a kind of selective amnesia about the past. Not only they remember it, but they also embellish it and make it better than it really was’(Chua Beng Huat, sociologist, Sunday Times, Page L3, 18th February).

Therein, perhaps, also lies the key to the phenomenon’s marketability and it’s appeal to businesses. It is no surprise then, that an informal estimate by the same publication pegs the investment in recreating the past at SGD 20 million. Little surprise, also then, that brands with histories like Coke and Levi’s do not hesitate to jump on to the bandwagon by cashing in on the iconic equity of their older products/packaging.

It is therefore, definitely more than merely a rose tinted view of the past. What lies at the bottom of this is a need to find meaning, personality, character in things.

So what is it that we, as media and marketing experts can learn from the nostalgia story?

An interesting exploration to be made here is perhaps the extensive debate about the irrelevance of old media like newspapers and TV, which seem to be fading in importance especially amongst the youth as remnants of a time which is past. But these same youth are also the ones buying into ‘retro’ fashion, which they may not even have been around to see. Something, which on the surface seems to be a passing fad, actually has more depth. Take for example, the popularity of LPs in the world MP3 players and other extensive digital format options. There are young people who still buy into LPs because of many reasons, the superiority of content quality being an important reason. The feeling that you own the piece of music and have a personal relationship with being another, and the feeling of having something tangible in your hands.

This analogy is important to illustrate how and why old media like newspapers may never go out of business. In a world where information flow online is completely uninhibited and undoctored, information almost controls the individual…take the example of any website which you would visit. The possibility that the website takes you somewhere completely, through links that take you to other links, which take you even farther, from where you started is very high. There are people who feel lost on the net there is an overwhelming sense of loss of control. They also doubt the source credibility of it. Such people prefer printed words on pages. For them the printed word on a newspaper has much more veracity than a random website on the net.

The argument of tangibility also holds. The need to own a book which you love is huge for readers. Opening the book, whether new or old, and smelling its pages, is in itself an act establishing a relationship with it, as is reading it again and again.

For some the print medium has meaning beyond mere information. These people store collections of magazines like Vogue and National Geographic. There are people, in fact, who frame poems and put them up on the wall.

According to Colin Faulks, designer in residence, at La Salle Arts College, the print medium appeals to subconscious parts of us. Elements like the smell of ink, the need to hold what you read and feel some sense of ownership over it, the almost ‘organic, hands on feel’ that reading words on paper gives us, and the ability to touch it are all the qualities that may ensure the survival of this medium in this electronic age. He feels the reason why after moving from the scroll format to the present book/magazine/newspaper format, we have not evolved any new forms of print is the appropriateness of it, which has not faded.

Media owners will probably have to gear up for a future in which reading newspapers becomes a statement of sorts, and the medium itself evolves to a specialized niche one which stands for information of a particular kind. Its audience will then also be a niche one, allowing more focused targeting and high value revenue rather volume revenue.

What meaning will it hold for the reader and what kind of reader will it appeal to? One can only surmise but a reasonable guess is that similar to people who are passionate about music and prefer hard formats to soft ones, this will appeal to those who value the written word, those who take pleasure in reading, to discerning readers who value things like good writing, skillful use of language and informed opinions.

The newspaper has always carried, with its black and white print, no nonsense layout, the use of older serif fonts, carried with it gravitas and authority. News in the newspaper (the main newspaper) stands for a detached, impersonal, and rational point of view.

It stands for a sense of order and control, an explanation and guide to the chaos around us, and what asserts this is the intellectual rigor that goes into the writing of it. This sense of order in chaos may become even more valuable in the miasmic chaos of information that is the internet- undoctored, unmonitored, unverified and uncharted. Many young people look to the newspaper as the most credible source of information, even though they may not refer to it on a daily basis.

It is likely then that this deeper coded unchanging meaning within newspapers will still remain and fulfill a need for this ‘kind’ of content…and spell a clearly demarcated future where each medium fulfills a different kind of need altogether.

March 7, 2007 at 3:26 am 1 comment

Branded car horn sounds in Singapore?

horntones.jpgMingLi (MindShare, Singapore) writes:

Come April 2007, with only US$149.99, you can customize the horn sounds of your car.

Horntones, a US-based company has launched a new mobile audio system called FX-550 that will be able to load up to eight sounds, be it music, rude voices or sirens. The sounds of your choice will be loaded to the unit via a USB thumb drive, and the unit can either be installed in-dash board or be placed on the dash.

In addition to this unit, you will also need to purchase an audio amplifier as well as weather-proof speakers under your hood.

The product made its first debut at the 2007 Consumer Electronics Show in late January this year and it created a high level of interest amongst the visitors.

Horntones is currently accepting advance orders, and due to the overwhelming demand, the initial production will be allocated to customers on the first-come-first-served basis.

This new gadget will definitely be a great delight to many in Asia, especially to the car-proud Singaporeans. I wonder what our local authorities would say on this matter; perhaps it’s about time to enact the “honking” law in Singapore, before advertisers flourish the outdoor scene with their creativity and have branded jingles on these horns!

March 6, 2007 at 4:47 am Leave a comment

Australian bank invents iPodinomics


Paul (MindShare, Bangkok) writes:

The famous Big Mac Index, developed by the Economist Magazine over 20 yrs ago, now has a new challenger in the form of the Ipod. Burgernomics is based on the theory of purchasing-power parity, the notion that a dollar should buy the same amount in all countries.

The people at Commenwealth Securities in Australia believe that their IPod Index is superior to the Big Mac index for a number of reasons. Read more here: The CommSec iPod Index.

Here’s how Asia compares:

CommSec iPod nano index, 2 gigabytes, US dollars, January 2007

Brazil $327.71
India $222.27
Sweden $213.03
Denmark $208.25
Belgium $205.81
France $205.80
Finland $205.80
Ireland $205.79
UK $195.04
Austria $192.86
Netherlands $192.86
Spain $192.86
Italy $192.86
Germany $192.46
China $179.84
Korea $176.17
Switzerland $175.59
NZ $172.53
Australia $172.36
Taiwan $164.88
Singapore $161.25
Mexico $154.46
US $149.00
Japan $147.63
Hong Kong $147.63

February 13, 2007 at 2:34 pm 1 comment

Japanese Cosplay takes off in Asia and beyond


Ju (MindShare regional team, Bangkok) writes:

You’ve heard this before – the vast amount of rich, multimedia information flowing rapidly and fluidly through the Internet and other digital means is re-arranging social network structures and creating new ones – globally. From a marketing viewpoint, this calls for a reassessment of the data sets that are used to define user profiles for consumer segmentation . In other words, ‘The Big Switch’ is favoring ways to redefine your customer segments for even more effective targeting.

One powerful youth culture nurtured, thriving, and spreading through these digital means is “Cosplay”, described by Wikipedia as: “a contraction … of the English words “costume” and “play”, is a Japanese subculture centered on dressing as characters from manga, anime, tokusatsu, and video games, and, less commonly, Japanese live action television, shows, fantasy movies, or Japanese pop music bands. However, in some circles, “cosplay” has been expanded to mean simply wearing a costume.”

The cosplay community is united by their costumed appearance and unconstrained by national boundaries. The blog, self-described as the internet’s premier cosplay community, already has more than 50,000 registered members, and links to sub-blogs from 22 countries, ranging from Canada to Chile, and from Asia, includes Thailand, Japan, Korea, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan. The World Cosplay Summit is now onto its fourth year and its website features links to smaller national competitions in places from Singapore to Brazil.

It is rapidly entering the mainstream in the Philippines, where cosplay events are often held within an anime, manga, gaming, or sci-fi convention (source: wikipedia). In fact, the Filipino has their own established cosplay online community, Pinoy Cosplay, with at least 2,900 members, a bookstore, a shop, and forums discussing topics ranging from cosplay celebrities, costume-making tips, and cosplay-related products.

The cosplay society even has their own themed hangouts: pubs, restaurants, or cafes where staff dresses in cosplay, elegant maids, or butlers, and treat everyone like “Masters”. These so-called ‘maid cafes’ have already popped up in Thailand, Singapore, and Korea.

Brands have begun to attach themselves to this subculture: see Garnier’s Manga Head styling gel in the UK and Nike ID in Japan.

How can a brand capitalize on these passion-based youth communities, that are bubbling up virtally and coming together physically? I think this quote inspires many ideas: “It’s not where you take things from, it’s where you take them to.” (Jean Luc Godard).

January 9, 2007 at 12:09 pm 10 comments

Blogs help form Asian communities of cool


Ju (Mindshare regional team, Bangkok) writes:

Complementing my post on bloggers on Honeyee and the Nike+ Challenge, it seems that, even outside of Japan, opinion leaders of youth culture are blogging their way to establish themselves as leaders of the cool community.

These are a few examples from the Tribal Times report on Online Communities:

In Hong Kong, the popular street magazine Milk Magazine has its own roster of music artists signed onto their record label ‘SillyThing’. Silly Thing’s official site ‘Think Silly‘ links to its artists’ blogs who use the portal to build their fan community. Among those blogs is that of Milk’s founder TK, which features products, ideas, and anything else that catches his attention.

Singapore’s cool kids are following Terratag, a graphics design brand of ‘innovative anglo-japanese hybrid’ that spans the world of fashion, art, and design. Terratag’s creations, personality, and events are brought to life via its website, two blogs (LiveJournal and Blogspot), a MySpace account, and photos on Fotolog and Flickr. Its UK creator has traveled to Singapore and Malaysia to open exhibitions last year.

In Bangkok there is ‘DudeSweet‘ which began as an indie-rock cult, but now organizes events ranging from club nights to fashion shows. Its founder’s MySpace account connects to the community of figures that define the local alternative world of music and the arts. The page shows flyers for upcoming events, offers visitors a discount to its parties, and includes a mailing list.

Being avid networkers and content generators, these opinion leaders have learned how to direct online activities for their own real-world interests. By allowing members to cross back and forth between virtual and physical worlds, these blogs can strengthen a sub-culture’s sense of community, and consequently, their engagement with associated brands.

December 18, 2006 at 5:55 am 4 comments

Half of Singaporean teenagers have blogs

James (Singapore) writes:

According to a recent study on Internet literacy published by the Media Development Authority of Singapore (MDA), half of all teens in Singapore aged 15 to 19 are on the Internet, blogging or podcasting.

Most interesting here is how it compares with the US. Pew Internet group survey put teen blogging rates in the United States at 19 per cent.

(thanks to Paul for the link)

December 4, 2006 at 6:18 pm Leave a comment

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MindShare's unofficial uncorporate Asian blog


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