I have written before about the proliferation of advertising and marketing in Asia. This is truly the land of marketing overstimulation. The ubiquity of ads, commercials, billboards, signs and posters first struck me in Bangkok, but it has been consistent across the entirety of the continent we have explored over the past four and a half months. Never before Bali, however, had I found a museum dedicated entirely to marketing — specifically Marketing 3.0, or “Marketing for Good.”
Shortly after we arrived in Bali, we decided to explore downtown Ubud. Ubud is known as the cultural center of Bali, famous for the presence of hundreds of crafts shops selling everything from silver to paintings, wood carvings to musical instruments. If you can think of a beautiful handmade item you’d like to buy, you can find it in Ubud. So since there are many craftsmen, it makes sense that there are also a great number of museums showcasing local art and artists.
On one of our days of exploring the area, we decided to enter Puri Lukisan, a museum dedicated to all schools of Balinese art — etchings, sculpture, paintings, and teeny tiny black and white paintings that amazed me with their detail and intricacy despite their small size. (The artwork was very reminiscent of the illustrations from the book Where the Wild Things Are, in case you are wondering what they look like.) What caught my attention immediately, though, was a small, heavily air-conditioned and multimedia-friendly building that housed the Marketing 3.0 Museum. Wow, I thought, an entire museum dedicated to Marketing. Sounds… interesting?
We entered and were immediately presented with an explanation of the book upon which the museum was based: Marketing 3.0: From Products to Customers to the Human Spirit by marketing gurus Philip Kotler, Hermawan Kartajaya and Iwan Setiawan. The book highlights companies who are being successful in satisfying customers’ needs of connection and community, and making them feel like they are buying products that support their values. It’s one of a number of marketing books lately that are promoting the idea of cause marketing as a way to better satisfy customers and make the world better. (Side note: Mr. Kotler, one of the authors of the book and the man to whom the museum is essentially dedicated, is an important figure in marketing, with many connections to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations; there is even a Philip Kotler Center for ASEAN Marketing.)
The museum uses multimedia exhibits to demonstrate companies that are leading the way in cause and community marketing including Amazon, General Electric, and others, and their CEOs. It has nine different parts that highlight companies that are trying to do good in the areas of economic development, environmental sustainability and human equality and explain parts of the book. For a full description of the museum, check out their website.
I couldn’t believe that a marketing book would be so significant as to warrant the creation of a museum, but it does fit in with my overall impression of Southeast Asia. It is a region in the midst of a tremendous amount of change both economic and environmental. The people we have encountered here are hard-working and industrious, and are always thinking about ways to be more efficient and effective. Southeast Asia is definitely rising, and marketing is a part of this puzzle for sure. In Indonesia, we met or heard of many people who were studying marketing or who wanted their children to study marketing. The rest of Asia may want to go into business, but Indonesians were the first who wanted specifically to go into marketing.
The museum was an interesting 15-minute side trip, but shed a lot of light on the importance this region places on business development. It’s not hard to get why this is the only marketing museum in the world, since marketing is not a popular topic everywhere. But maybe if there are more museums like this one, that highlight all the good those companies are doing around the world and how they’re doing it, marketing wouldn’t have such a bad rap!