Tapping into the Asian market with experiential: 3 brands doing it right


In an increasingly global marketplace, and with experiential campaigns captivating hearts and minds the world over, it’s important for brands not to lose sight of localised targeting. Asia is a consumer powerhouse, but catering to this market requires an understanding of its culture, practices and expectations. Here are three brands that are doing it right.

1) SK-II’s ‘Leftover Women’ campaign

Empowering women is a big focus for the beauty and skincare industry; L’Oréal encourages women to buy their products because ‘they’re worth it’, and Dove’s ‘Real Beauty’ campaign urges consumers to believe that they’re ‘more beautiful than they think’.

But in the Chinese market, women face an element of discrimination that is ingrained deeply within its culture. ‘Sheng Nu’ (translation: ‘leftover women’) is the derogatory label given to unmarried women over the age of 25 in China, who are viewed as incomplete and as bringing embarrassment to their family.

Skincare brand SK-II set about changing the perceptions of these women, by developing a tear-filled activation to help them overcome these social pressures through decorating the ‘marriage market’ in Shanghai with portraits of happily independent women.

They took a cultural issue and turned it on it’s head, with an activation that was hyper-relevant in a local market.

2) Johnnie Walker House

Those who are part of the rising affluent market in Asia are often highly interested but unfamiliar with foreign products – and they also seek the prestige of luxury and exclusive memberships.

Johnnie Walker sought to build a Scotch whiskey culture amongst the Asian elite with chic mansions, accessible by invitation only, in major metropolitan cities throughout China, Korea and Singapore. The selling point was creating a place where members can rub shoulders with celebrities and fellow connoisseurs, a level of exclusivity that aligned with their online marketing strategy featuring popular ‘idols’ interacting with the House.

This contrasts with the Glenmorangie Pop-Up Whiskey Bar in Sydney, where consumers had a stronger focus on food, drink and a fun night out with their mates. Entry was thus freely accessible, and the key drawing cards were whiskey tastings and food pairings.

3) LEGO’s Gift of Imagination stunt

Family is vital in Asian culture, reinforced by the idea that ‘blood is thicker than water’. LEGO took this into account when they gave a day’s worth of airtime to 6-year-old Hsiao Feng from Taiwan. In this live activation, Hsiao shows off his LEGO creations and talks about his love for building things, just like his car mechanic father. The main focus in this campaign is about the father-son relationship and their deep love for one another.

The Asian market faces specific challenges and their customs and practices need to be respected if a brand is to thrive.

In this large and diverse market, localised brand experiences are essential to creating the right time, tone and place to be culturally relevant.

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Author bio


I have over 15 years of experience in delivering award-winning campaigns across a multitude of marketing sectors in New York, London,
Singapore and Hong Kong.