In Myanmar, the seasonal demand of advertising is most obvious before the annual Thingyan (water festival) which occurs around the April months. It is a massive festival especially for strong Buddhist societies such as in Thailand, Sri Lanka and Cambodia too.

The advertising industry is growing, but it is a rocky path and not every execution is successful. Many insights to advertising in Myanmar is also found in this article – “The do’s and don’ts of marketing in Myanmar” by mUmBRELLA.

One of the many insights include this gem by one of the leading advertising agencies in Myanmar – Mango Marketing – Lynn Lynn Tin Htun:

When [BAT cigarette brand] 555 entered the market, they used the slogan ‘Smoothness above all else’. But that did not translate well into the local language. It was seen as alien. Although people saw it as a premium brand, it was perceived as distant and aloof. Coke had similar issues with the ‘Open happiness’ slogan when they re-entered Myanmar last year. No one knew what they meant, although it was seen as a premium brand because it was priced at US$1.50. Now it’s available for 50 cents, and the advertising went back to basics, based around taste and refreshment.



Picture credits: The Nation

Myanmar is definitely a growing market for everything! A recent article in But as with all developing markets facing rapid growth and influx of new brands and investments, challenges and doubts exists among the grand possibilities: The Nation highlights some of the key plans –

The New Year arrives amid several challenges in the country. Amid doubts, the economy is set to experience an unabated growth with continued growth in foreign direct investment and the number of international visitors. Myanmar this year expects 5 million visitors, a sharp increase from 3.5 million last year.
Under the Tourism Master Plan (2013-2020), the tourist flow into Myanmar is likely to increase at a rate of 1.5 million visitors per year and is expected to hit eight million in 2020. The income from international visitors should reach $10 billion in 2020, according to the tourism master plan.
Thirty eight projects were planned during the year to improve tourism infrastructure, with support from the Asia Development Bank and the Norwegian government. They would require a total of US$486.6 million. The ministry has currently received $215.6 million for 21 projects, according to Hlaing Oo, director of the Hotels and Tourism Ministry. Yangon, Bagan, Mandalay, Inle, Kyaikhteeyoe and Ngapali are the highlights of the master plan. The infrastructure in Chaungtha and Ngwe Saung beaches will also be developed, and the roads connected to Putao, Myeik Archipelago, Naga Land, Natmauk Mountain and Loikaw will be upgraded to ease transportation.
The Hotels and Tourism Ministry recently also unveiled the plan to establish a “multi-development” tourism market in Nay Pyi Taw. It hopes to make Nay Pyi Taw a Mice (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) destination. Tours of the Lower House of Parliament and launch a website for visitors are mulled. The ministry has been working with Air KBZ to run Nay Pyi Taw-Mandalay flights from April. It is also planning sports events.

As part of the progress completed last year – On 1 Oct 2014, foreign bank licenses were confirmed for Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd (ANZ), along with Japan’s biggest lenders—Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Ltd., Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp. and Mizuho Bank Ltd, as well as Thailand’s Bangkok Bank Public Co., Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd., Malayan Banking Bhd., and two Singapore banks— United Overseas Bank Ltd. and Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp. WSJ has more details here in this article



UOB Advertising at Yangon Airport


Petronas Advertising at Yangon Airport

The influx of foreign brands advertising incl. OCBC Bank and UOB in the Yangon airport, incl. Coca-Cola, Canon, VISA, Toyota, Mercedes etc are increasing in the airports and the key roads in Yangon such as via billboards in Yangon along Pye Road, University Road, Kabar Aye Pagoda Road as well as along Sule Pagoda Road etc.



Pilot Pen Advertising along Sule Road


OCBC Advertising in Yangon Airport

As Myanmar develops, its political and economic scenes are in the middle of experimenting, and developing. Foreigner brands entering into Myanmar now are also grappling for a hold on this market. This grand experimentation is also taking place in the Myanmar culture, consumer behavior as well as the “Myanmar brand”, rich heritage and love for modern as the well schooled, warm, friendly and hardworking Myanmar people take on Asia and the rest of the world.