HONG KONG - Malaysian rapper SonaOne, Singaporean chef Bjorn Shern, Thai DJ PK (Piyawat Kemptech) and Filipino-American singer Billy Crawford experience an adrenaline-pumping, testosterone-fuelled, dudes-only holiday in Hong Kong.
That's the elevator pitch for The Ultimate Brocation, an original production on behalf of the Hong Kong Tourism Board by Celestial Tiger Entertainment and Endemol Shine Group, which is set to air in December on the Celestial Tiger-owned Kix network.
Speaking to Campaign Asia-Pacific, Andy Chang, Celestial Tiger's senior vice president for advertising sales, marketing and original productions, said the celebrities will lend their star power to the promotional effort for the series in their respective countries.
Crawford, for instance, has 1.4 million followers on his Instagram page. He already generated some buzz among his Filipino fans with a post on him swinging on the road sign of Lan Kwai Fong, the “it” place for Hong Kong’s trendy nightlife.
“Our main concern is getting people to tune in to the show, I am not too worried about traffic to the show’s social media sites,” said Chang. “The stars will definitely help to drive eyeballs to the show with their followings.”
He added that the stars’ many female fans may be interested to tune in, although the show is targeted at male viewers aged between 25 to 45.
Conceptualised after the hit HBO series Entourage, The Ultimate Brocation attempts to showcase the underexplored side of Hong Kong as a playground for an all-male vacation.
Hong Kong has been well known as a destination for shopping and dining, and a recent campaign for the Hong Kong Tourism Board by Grey again highlighted its status as a haven for fashionistas and foodies.
“It is still a show about Hong Kong, but very much from a guy’s perspective, with a lot of outdoor adventure and parties. We spoke to Hong Kong Tourism Board and they liked the idea, that is why the show took six months to develop,” said Chang.
The five-episode series is set to debut on 14 December to tie in with the holiday season. Filming wrapped up around late October thanks to what Chang called the “miraculous intervals” between bouts of bad weather during the typhoon season last month.
The promotional campaign for the show will have a regional as well as a local component, given that Kix is a regional channel available on cable networks in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Brunei, Philippines and Hong Kong. A watch-and-win contest will run on the regional level, where viewers can win trips to Hong Kong.
“Normally, we will do more promotion for certain markets, but there won’t be a massive promotion for Indonesia and Hong Kong,” said Chang.
He explained that the campaign will be tailored to each country, with radio being given a heavier emphasis in Malaysia and Philippines as both SonaOne and Crawford are record artists. The show will also collaborate with local humour site Sgag in Singapore.
On the brands participating in the show, Chang said the team was extra cautious in choosing the partners.
“We didn’t want too many brands, especially the ones that are not applicable to the theme of the show,” said Chang. Drone maker DJI, hotel search app HotelsCombined, Cathay Pacific and Harbour Grand Hotels are the main sponsor brands for the show.
“DJI is organically integrated into the show since the guys love their gadgets, even the talents of the show went crazy at its store,” said Chang.
Kevin On, director of communications, DJI Asia Pacific, said the brand has always been a big supporter of filmmaking and the entertainment industry.
"By being a part of this show, we will be able to put our technology into the hands of more filmmakers and continue to expand our footprint in Asia," said On. While it may be true that guys (and also girls) like gadgets, On said the drone technology enables people to explore and experience the world differently, much like travelling.
"Travel has become a big theme for DJI this year, especially with launch of our Osmo Mobile and Mavic Pro models," said On.
Fans of the Shenzhen-based brand will have an armchair tour of its newly launched flagship store at Causeway Bay, its third in Hong Kong, during the show.
"Our newly launched flagship store has become an attraction not just to local tech enthusiasts but also travellers from around the world," said On. "These elements tie in nicely with the theme of the show and the audience we want to engage."