Local/imported legends

At a street-level ceramics shop in Hanoi, consider the colorful cast of characters assembled by the craftspeople, and the paths of marketing, globalization, creative interpretations of intellectual property law, and content channels that brought them here to share this sidewalk-level storefront.

Look for the tweaks and adaptations made to these characters, the subtle flourishes (presumably) made with the hope of having them resonate more deeply with local audiences. Or for another reason?

Consider this display as a means of measuring the relative strength of a country’s (or, these days, just as likely, a streaming service’s or technology company’s) “soft power”, represented by the share out of total characters or designs that come from their particular creative universe. Which of these characters/brands do you recognize, and from where do you recognize them? For the ones you don’t: does that have more to do with familiarity with their specific context of origin, or from a gap in your knowledge of what is considered global pop culture today?

Which of these would conceivably appear in a shop (or sidewalk) outside your own home? Which would be absent?

To explore more how familiar brands are remixed in different contexts (including, similar to this example, masks for children in Myanmar), explore the re:brand tag.

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