By Frances Rubio, MS
Associate Director of Multicultural Marketing Analytics
On May 23, the Asian American Advertising Federation (3AF) held its annual 3AF 2019 Asian Marketing Summit. Held at the InterContinental Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles, the summit is the only multicultural conference focused solely on the Asian American marketing and advertising industry.
Top brands, industry experts, researchers, content creators, advertising executives, media and other vendors and partners converged in an insightful discussion on business implications of the Asian American consumer. This year, the 3AF celebrated its twentieth anniversary with the theme, “Honoring Our Past, Celebrating the Present, Empowering Our Future.”
Throughout the summit, events and panels spanned multiple verticals and industries:
- From a brand perspective, Scott Wracher, General Manager of Brand/Cross Vehicle/Toyota Dealer Association/Education, Vehicle Marketing and Communications, Toyota Motor North America and Matthew Choy, Account Director, InterTrend discussed Toyota’s branding within the Asian American community, this year focusing on the hybrid brand.
- Canadian Multicultural Marketing veteran Bobby Sahni shared key insights and opportunities relevant for the U.S. market, along with examples and learnings gained by marketing to Asian consumers in Canada.
- Iris Yim, 3AF Vice President and President, Sparkle Insights, shared results from the 3AF’s second media consumption study.
- HL Gan moderated a panel on the power of Asian media with Danny Wong, Skylink TV; Susan de los Santos, The Filipino Press; Jaideep Janakiram, Sony Pictures Networks; and Brian Jun, The Korea Times. This panel discussed the power of Asian media and how it plays a significant role for business that focus on local audiences.
- Panelists Roslynn Alba Cobarrubias, ABS-CBN Head of Music & Talent, Global, Eljay Feuerman, Director of reDEFINE, an IW Group Initiative, and influencer Tiffanie Marie discussed what it takes to reach young Gen Z and Millennials with meaningful content and effective culture-first activations
- Melissa Flores, Director of Power Rangers Development & Production at Allspark Pictures, a Hasbro Company and Malika Lim Eubank, CEO of Hyper Rabbit Media discussed the opportunities, potential pitfalls and intricacies that come with adapting and marketing new Asian kids’ entertainment to the United States.
At the summit, I presented a session entitled, “From All-American Girl to Fresh Off the Boat to Crazy Rich Asians and Beyond: How the Changing American Landscape has Demanded Better Asian American Representation in the Last 25 Years”. In it, I shared insights and the latest research on the social and cultural impact of Asian representation in the big screen and in television and social media and how the rise of Asian representation affects the rest of mainstream America:
- Asian Americans make up 6% of the total population at nearly 19 million people but their wallet sizes are comparable to other multicultural audiences at nearly $1 trillion in buying power
- Asians have historically been whitewashed or misrepresented, often seen as foreign or secondary, underdeveloped characters--only recently have we seen a shift in Asian American representation
- The launch of YouTube in 2005 and Twitter in 2006 had a significant affect in changing the Asian representation in the media:
- YouTube was a vehicle for Asian creators to represent themselves accurately--today, we see these influencers affect the mainstream, such as Michelle Phan, Wong Fu Productions, and Lilly Singh who was recently named to host a Late Night Show on NBC
- Twitter and social media helped the Asian community affect representation in massive ways--from affecting movie box office results of whitewashed films, to influencing reviews, to starting effective social campaigns such as #StarringJohnCho and ensuring a #GoldOpen for Crazy Rich Asians in 2018
Complementary to my session, Michelle Sugihara, Executive Director of CAPE moderated a panel on “Youth Audience and Entertainment – How to Resonate with The Next Generation of Cultural Influencers” with Director/Producer of Faithful and Jane and Emma, Jenn Lee Smith; COO at China Lion Film Distribution, Robert Lundberg; and Indonesian American actor, model and stuntman, Yoshi Sudarso. The panelists discussed the landscape of content production and the changes in the last decade. The demographics of audiences has also shifted so that more than half of younger audiences are multicultural.
About the Asian American Advertising Federation (3AF)
The 3AF’s mission is to advance the Asian American marketing and advertising industry for Asian American consumers through education, advocacy, promotion, and increased collaboration of all industry stakeholders including but not limited to marketers, agencies, research partners and media. Additionally, 3AF seeks to promote and encourage high standards of conduct and ethics among our members and our industry.