Monthly Archives:June 2016

Pop-Culture Marketing: Banking on the Action

28 Jun , 2016,
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In last week’s column, we talked about how Japan was using manga to educate pop-culture fans about their moving options.

This week, we examine how pop-culture is changing the way several banks in Japan – traditionally known to be staid, stuffy, and uninterested in the geek dollar, are selling their credit card and loan products.


Highschool girls are probably the last thing you’d expect banks to use as their mascots.

Known as the Card Loan Girls, these anthropomorphized cards represent products from consumer financial institutions such as Acom, Lake, Aiful, Orix, Mitsui Sumitomo, Mizuho, Mobit, and Promise, and are the latest in a long, long line of anthropomorphized objects to hit Japan.

Of course, the casual otaku should be no stranger to such things, what with ship girls a la DMM’s Kantai Collection or sword boys from Touken Ranbu dominating the doujin charts and at the forefront of fan consciousness in the past couple years.

What’s interesting though, is the way the Card Loan Girls site uses quality manga style illustrations and a presentation that’s almost akin to a dating SIM to woo the geeky demographic.

Entries even list the character’s height, attributes and favorite activities (which we assume represent a particular lifestyle or hobbies that might align with a particular loan policy).


With the website's presentation, you might think it's selling a dating SIM.

With the website’s presentation, you might think it’s selling a dating SIM. Also represented above: The Lake mascot Rei Midorikawa.

Of course, does more than just flash waifu material at you.

It aggregates details about the participating bank’s credit cards and loan products such as interest rates, maximum card limits, even participating ATMs and outlets.

The site also lays out the pros and cons of each product in a nutshell, happily helping you to make informed choices about the card that’s most right for your lifestyle, income bracket and spending habits. 


Car, housing, mortgage, even bridal loans are discussed on the site.

If there’s anything otakus need, it’s probably financial advice and this campaign might actually be doing a pretty good job at dispensing it.

Local banks have already seen the value of tapping on pop-culture. We curated cosplay content and a manga strip for DBS Marina Regatta last year, but we’ve yet to see them embark on something quite as ambitious. Hopefully, with pop-culture emerging as the marketing in-thing, we’ll see more diverse campaigns on the horizon.

Check out the Card Loan Girls site for yourself at

If you have a lead on a site or campaign that’s a great example of pop-culture marketing, be sure to write us at info[at] to let us know! We’ll be happy to take a look at it, and if it is a great fit for this column, we’d be happy to write about it! 

Pop-Culture Marketing: Telling Moving Stories

23 Jun , 2016,
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Geeks have been identified as one of the biggest spenders globally. They’ve got plenty of disposable income, are incredibly brand loyal when hooked, and as creatures of the Internet, are excellent mouthpieces for your products if you hit all the right notes.

This has led companies to devise new strategies for engaging with a geek audience – strategies that we define as pop-culture marketing.

Such creative campaigns can run the gamut (we’re no strangers to such strategies ourselves), using imaginative ways to spread key marketing messages like animation, comics, cosplay, geeky displays and even memes.

Of course, such ideas aren’t something any advertising suit can come up with.

Case in point being Gumtree’s campaign depicting Cosplay Flyer Distributors that gave the local cosplay community a good laugh with its treatment and botched aesthetics. Also, a casual search on Gumtree will reveal that Cosplay Flyer Distributor is a job that pays abysmally (only $6 to $12 an hour). That’s nowhere near the market rate for costumed appearances (which is typically $30 or more per hour) that cosplayers are generally familiar with. 

Original Image: The Cosplay Chronicles

Would you dress up and slap on make-up for a gig like this?Source: The Cosplay Chronicles

Of course, that’s not to say that companies can’t come up with great ideas and great campaigns.

In fact, we were tipped-off about one from Japan just last month called Hikkoshi More.


The Hikkoshi More website is presented in a colorful and charming manner.

Hikkoshi More is a site for information on moving services, targeted at young professionals and new families (moving from town to town for school or work is fairly common in Japan). It includes tips for first-timers, articles about how to cope with and smooth over the process of moving to a new town, and even sections on feng shui and interior decor.

Helping to present this information in convenient, bite-sized bits is the page mascot Kuronishiki, a black cat, and his master Momoa (an aspiring artist). Their adventures are serialized in a series of Cat Diary strips, which serve as anecdotes for handy advice such as techniques for packing, lifting bulky items, and even making new cat friends in an unfamiliar place.


Kuronishiki and Momoa, from Hikkoshi More’s comic strip. Source:



Some handy packing tips before a move. Source:



Do you even lift? Source:



There’s even a strip about Kuronishiki’s origin story, where he is paralleled with the Peach Boy of Japanese folklore. Source:


It’s impressive to see how a change in stylistics and treatment can turn an otherwise dry and boring topic like moving into something informative, without losing its essence.

While this campaign has found success in Japan because manga is so intrinsic to the country’s culture, the use of such techniques to sell a service or key marketing message might not be that much of a stretch for international brands either.

We’ll be examining more such examples in the weeks to come, so do check back with us.

Check out the Hikkoshi More site for yourself at

If you have a lead on a site or campaign that’s a great example of pop-culture marketing, be sure to write us at info[at] to let us know! We’ll be happy to take a look at it, and if it is a great fit for this column, we’d be happy to write about it! 

G933 Artemis Spectrum Gaming Headset

Jun , 2016,
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I am not a huge fan of wireless headsets until Logitech passed me their G933 Artemis Spectrum Gaming Headset during their Pizza session held at Colosseum at Bugis+, Singapore. Wireless PC peripherals are often overlooked by gamers no thanks to naysayers. But when it comes to setting up a gaming station at a LAN party, one less wire goes a long way. Since I game on a netbook on the go, that’s one less wired inconvenience for me.

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The G933 improves on the successful G430 Gaming Headset with its minimalist design and stylish sleek curves making it a trendy headset for the fashionable geek on the go. It features 7.1 Dolby Surround Sound, washable ear cups and concealable mic that makes the G933. Its ten-hour inbuilt  battery completes the headset as a portable fashion accessory as well as an extension to a gamer’s unfair advantage on the virtual battlefield.

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The distinct advantage wireless headsets have over its analog counterparts is the missing audio input which has been problematic for most of my headsets. Going wireless allows Logitech to address the problem that plagued many traditional wired sets without redesigning and/or reinventing the very product audiophiles and gamers are familiar with. Now, you won’t have that pesky problem where one side of the earpiece will malfunction after some months and the temporary solution is to toy around with the audio jack or the wire leading up to the headphones itself; and pray that it works. There’s still the option to wire up the headphones using the USB adapter or analog audio input, which means wires. But with such convenience and performance, I’ll rather leave them in the box. The G933 Artemis Spectrum Gaming Headset is definitely one of the best premium wireless headsets on the market.

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The Logitech G933 also works with PCs, mobile phones, the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. The headphones are also compatible to your home theater, as long as they have USB ports and RCA audio out.

The product is available from December 2015 at the MSRP of SGD 299.

Technical Specifications
System Requirements
– Windows 7 or higher
– Internet connection for Logitech Gaming Software installation
– USB port, 3.5 mm audio port or RCA audio output ports
– 7.1 surround sound, DTS Headphone:X*, lighting configuration, and G-key programming require Logitech Gaming Software

Product Specifications
– Driver: 40 mm
– Frequency response: 20 Hz-20KHz
– Impedance: 39 Ohms (Passive), 5k Ohms (Active)
– Size 190 mm x 180 mm x 94 mm
– Sensitivity: 107dB SPL/mW
– Size 4mm
– Type: Condenser-Cardioid
– Frequency response: 100Hz-20KHz

The Logitech G633 Artemis Spectrum Gaming Headset comes with a 2-year limited hardware warranty.