Tiger Beer: Made In Asia

Premium beer brand uses pop up shop to espouse the benefits of Asian-made products

To launch the premium Asian beer Tiger in the US, the brand created a unique pop-up to help New Yorkers overcome their biases against the brand’s ‘Made-in-Asia’ credentials.

The brand created a pop-up store in the heart of New York’s Chinatown on Canal Street — famed for its open-fronted discount shops selling cheap plastic tchotchkes from Asia. The branded shop, called the Tiger Trading Co, showcased the best in Asian art, fashion, technology and design.

With Marcel in Sydney, producer Will O’Rourke and designer James Dive of The Glue Society, the shop featured a 118 square metre glass floor filled with stereotypical Asian-made products sourced from Canal Street.

The shop featured more than 700 products, including goods from brands such as Opening Ceremony, Singapore’s Mightyjaxx, Hong Kong’s Pomch, Mekong++ of Vietnam and Decoster of Shanghai.

New Yorkers could get their hands on the products by presenting a limited edition Tiger Beer coaster from one of thirty participating bars local to the store. Visitors could enjoy a beer on entry to the shop, and could sample street food by a hawker chef from Singapore. They could also redeem the coaster for one item from the pop-up’s stock.

The shop was open for three nights from 6 June, and the products ‘sold out’ every night.

Contagious Insight /

Changing perceptions / In a press release, Scott Huebscher, executive creative director of Marcel Sydney said, ‘Tiger is a premium beer. It’s an authentic, Asian original. But “made in Asia” carries a lot of negative baggage in the US. For our first NY launch, we figured, why not tackle the elephant in the room head on?’

That’s precisely what the Tiger Trading Co does, re-positioning Asian-made goods (and by extension, Asian-made beer) as desirable and even stylish. By associating its beer with carefully curated modern high-end design, Tiger imbues itself with an aura of quality — rather than being associated with typical Chinatown clichés.

Championing Asian design / Tiger’s championing of Asian design culture gives the brand’s marketing a sense of purpose, which will no doubt resonate with the (large) Asian diaspora in New York. With Chinese brands such as smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi gaining reputation for building quality products, it seems the perfect opportunity for Tiger to do something to help further the change in attitude to Chinese production.

According to Taiwan-based technology consultant Ben Thompson: ‘Older Chinese have traditionally looked down on their own country’s brands, assuming them cheap and second-rate… There is a younger generation, though… that has grown up in a country that has been growing by near double digits every year they have been alive. To their minds of course China is a global power, and why wouldn’t they embrace Chinese brands?’

Tiger’s timing is perfect — it can take advantage of a growing sense of pride around Asian manufacturing helping to overcome the stigma traditionally associated with the Made-in-Asia brand. Plus, by embracing its provenance, Tiger can occupy a unique space in a market where American beers have more familiarity. Just as Budweiser played up its American heritage by renaming its beer earlier this year, by re-framing its origin as a positive attribute, Tiger can do the same.

(This story originally appeared on Contagious I/O, an intelligence tool featuring the most creative and effective ideas in marketing from around the world).