K-Pop, Anime & Gaming: The Australian marketing opportunity

Many of us already know very well that culture and cultural identity impact how we think, feel, behave, make friends and conduct business.

We know culture impacts what we eat, wear, how we spend our time and money and more.
We also know that cultural insights are critical and crucial to effective multicultural marketing.

But do we also know and believe these home truths when it comes to subcultures? Is learning about subcultures equally as important to learning about cultures? What are the marketing opportunities in this space?

Let’s look at K-Pop, Anime and Gaming – three huge Asian sub-cultures that are crossing into mainstream Asian youth culture.

Korean pop, or K-pop as it is widely known, is characterised by a mix of visual and audio elements. It goes beyond the “Gangnam style” craze, and infuses choreography, fashion and stunning visual effects which appeal to international audiences.

Image Source – BTS Facebook

K-pop is heavily penetrating the US and Australian markets, which was evident when boy band “BTS” appeared on the Ellen DeGeneres show last year.

In 2017, there was significant media coverage of the large K-pop fanbase in Australia when popular band GOT7 held a fan meet in late April. Twitter was saturated with hashtags and retweets of the Korean group, and only a few months later ‘K-con’, the world’s largest K-pop convention, came to Sydney. It boasted appearances from mega-popular Korean bands EXO, MONSTA X and SF9 among many others.

Anime is a Japanese style of animation which emerged in the 1990s during the ‘anime boom’. Since then, anime consumption has increased substantially due to ease of accessibility via sites such as Kissanime.com and Crunchyroll. Crunchyroll has more than 20 million subscribers to date, with each subscriber watching an average of 75 hours per month.

Pokémon and One Piece were staple anime series for Australian children growing up in the 1990s and 2000s as they made their way onto mainstream television via popular networks Cartoon Network and Toasted TV.

Image Source – Kotaku

This emergence of anime subculture ushered in the rise of ‘cosplay’ (itself a burgeoning sub-culture) – the practice of dressing up as a character from an anime series or movie. Thousands of people gather for events such as ‘Supanova’ in Australia to celebrate their favourite anime characters. It is held annually in Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide and in the Gold Coast.

By 2020, Newzoo predicts global gaming revenue to increase to USD 128.5 billion, a figure driven by Asian consumption. Asian migrants have clearly taken their gaming habits to Australia, with the Australian video game industry generating AUD 2.958 billion in revenue in 2016.

The legend of Zelda, Pokemon and Final Fantasy are only a few examples of Asian-developed games that are filling the aisles of gaming stores across Australia. Even the famous Super Mario Brothers, contrary to popular belief, was created in Japan. Other offline games continue to gain stable revenue such as Yu-Gi-Oh! cards, Pokémon cards and Bakugan toys.

Image Source – Kidscreen

Ultimately, cultures and attitudes are constantly changing and evolving. We cannot simply categorise an audience based on their country of birth and assume a one-size-fits-all strategy. Cultures are layered and complex. They impact a person’s values, lifestyles and passions.

The best multicultural marketing strategy is one based on thorough research and audience insights.

Interested in targeting Asian youth in your next campaign? Contact MultiConnexions today.

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