John Handley, CEO of SAIL Marketing and Communications (the 2013 SEA Games agency), said brands have shown “tremendous interest” in the Southeast Asian Games, which will be held in Myanmar next year for the first time since 1969.
He told Campaign Asia-Pacific that phones have been ringing off the hook as local and international companies register interest in sponsoring the event.
It’s a strong signal of multinational interest in the market since the restrictive international sanctions were lifted earlier this year.
It also comes as PepsiCo reportedly re-entered Myanmar, inking a deal to distribute its products through a local partner.
Handley said many brands are looking to the Southeast Asian Games as an opportunity to re-launch in Myanmar and reap the benefits of first-mover advantage.
But he cautioned that brands will face the challenge of building a strong brand identity against a backdrop of rapid social change. Therefore, he said, brands should focus on long-term goals.
He said, “There are now cell phones as well as unrestricted internet access in Myanmar. So you have what people knew before and now it's one big change. “[The challenge] is thinking about what’s going to resonate with this new Myanmar… It’s a fascinating problem.”