PR Awards 2023
HK brands flaunt their versions of Squid Game through marketing

HK brands flaunt their versions of Squid Game through marketing

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The smash hit from the Korean entertainment world “Squid Game” is taking over global rankings. According to media reports on Bloomberg, Bucket Studio, an agency which represents the show’s lead actor Lee Jung-Jae, saw shares more than double not long after the release of the show. According to Bloomberg, shares surge more than 70% in the past three trading sessions.

Meanwhile, according to The Korea Herald, Showbox, a media company dedicated to film investment, production and distribution, fell initially saw its stock price soar more than 50% before dipping 10%. The report added that the initial surge came as earlier reports said Showbox had financed a film production by “Squid Game” producer Siren Pictures in its early stages. However, Siren Pictures said Showbox’s financing had nothing to do with “Squid Game.”

In Hong Kong, the game has certainly picked up in popularity catapulting to the number one spot – and of course, encouraging the marketing community to come up with their own stunts.

Here are some examples that we saw:

Carousell

carousell squid game

On Instagram, the brand created its own poll where it asked its fans how they’d like to make money. It said, “If u want to make money, you will play squid game / carousell?" And for obvious enough reasons, 62% answered Carousell! Meanwhile, many Carousell users are also now selling Squid Games related outfits ahead of Halloween.

Meanwhile we also saw several brands stamping their logo on Honeycomb biscuits. Take a look:

Hong Kong Airlines

https://www.facebook.com/hkairlines/posts/4434579983251640

Hong Kong Rope Skipping Academy 

https://www.facebook.com/hkrsa.asia/posts/10159261172085499

Love Hedgie

https://www.facebook.com/lovehedgie852/posts/317319150194695

Angry Shiba

https://www.facebook.com/angryshibastore/posts/186150876974657

Trend Jacking in Hong Kong

Clearly, trend jacking as a marketing mean is growing in prominence in Hong Kong, especially with the younger generation.

In a conversation with MARKETING-INTERACTIVE, Kevin Huang, managing director, Carousell Hong Kong explained that the Carousell community in Hong Kong mirrors pop culture and trends. Huang and his team are no strangers to trend jacking, recently creating a post on Carousell featuring Shang-Chi actor Simu Liu in a dance routine (sourced from his stock image modeling days) after news emerged of his past stock image modeling career. The team also created another of Liu in a friendly discussion with his pretend team mates (also images from his modeling days) sharing the benefits of the Carousell platform.

Huang added that in such instances, the company often sees demand and supply moving along with trending events, such as concerts, movie or series launches, amusement park openings and toy collection launches to name a few. Generally, when a topic trends in Hong Kong, it ends up in the form of a product or listing the next day.

“Trendjacking is a key marketing tool for Hong Kong, as it directly communicates with our community that we understand them, are relevant to them, and also how Carousell can help them in various ways and stages of their life,” he said.  When jumping on a trend, the team at Carousell tries to first identify similar qualities between the brand and the trend, and then amplify this point when executing the trendjack.  Huang added:

Timeliness is also key for trendjacking. We try to keep abreast of market happenings, updates and trends, and be always on the lookout for any relevant trend.

When done well, Carousell can see up to a double-digit percentage increase in engagement and sharing on social. But of course, not all executions are a hit, explain Huang.

“Through this process, we have learnt that being relevant to your brand is key and as such, we don’t trendjack everything. We make an effort to be resourceful and educational in our marketing content, so that our audience can learn from us, and on a broader level, tie back together to Carousell’s mission of inspiring everyone to start selling and buying to make more possible.”

Relevance is key

According to both the industry players, when trend jacking relevance is key and the creatives and campaigns need to emotionally connect with the audience. It is important to tie it back with the brand value, and also clearly communicate what makes your brand different from other brands.

Huang shared that, with the recent post on the TV series Squid Game, the brand used the common theme of “making money” as the angle to highlight how there is another way to earn money by selling off your preloved or as-good-as-new goods on Carousell. Likewise, when the brand featured Simu Liu’s stock photos in its homepage banner promotions on the Carousell app, it made sure that the post fit natively and within the context and brand value of Carousell. He added:

In short, we don’t go out to create campaigns to ride the trend, instead we fit it into what we do. Having said that, we don’t trendjack every trending item as some are not a natural fit for us.

Rudi Leung, director of Hungry Digital seconded the statement adding that trend jacking should add to more value than just garnering attention. Leung added that it is never easy to orchestrate and guarantee whether such a tactic will become a social media sensation. “It is more or less like gambling. I always suggest to my clients that they should never consider an awareness stunt their core communication tactic. But I still encourage them to test and try to see how their target audiences respond,” he said.

But Leung warns that brands should trendjack sparingly. “When such a tactic becomes a brand's core communication strategy, the brand might lose its focus on building long-term value for the company,” he said.

Photo Courtesy: Netflix

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