Susie Sell
Aug 13, 2012

Brands show 'tremendous interest' in 2013 SE Asian Games, Myanmar

NAYPYIDAW – As the 2012 Olympic Games officially closes in London, brands are now eying the 2013 Southeast Asian Games in Myanmar as a catalyst for long-term opportunities in the newly opened market.

The 27th SEA Games will be held in Myanmar next year
The 27th SEA Games will be held in Myanmar next year

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.


 A Pepsi billboard in Myanmar

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.”

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