HAPA Knows What’s Good.

HAPA Knows What's Good.

Congratulations to my client Cuvée Penang for winning the Hospitality Asia Pacific Awards bronze prize for Best Club.

When Cuvée approached my company at the beginning of last year to take over all their marketing and branding for them, I knew it would be a lot of hard work, since the way I brand clubs and conceptualize strategies for entertainment outlets is very different to what 99% of clubs in Penang do.

I take a more international approach to things, and don’t localize the direction too much. One benefit of doing this is that people OUTSIDE of Penang can relate more to what you are doing and the result is an enhanced (and probably more sophisticated) brand image for the establishment regionally.

One of the toughest things to do for Cuvée was to select good musical acts and pair them with intelligent event concepts that would leave a lasting impression amongst clubbers/consumers.

The club was getting hit up by a million different promoters trying to sell cheap acts to them every day and I had to sift through mountains of rubbish to find performers who I felt would contribute positively to the overall brand image of Cuvée. There were many times when I was questioned as to why I didn’t approve this act or why I rejected that one.

Even when clients/suppliers wanted to hold events at Cuvée, I had to monitor every stage of the process to ensure that quality was maintained and the events were in sync with my brand vision for the club.


Luckily, with 15 years of experience in the entertainment industry, I had access to a fantastic roster of great DJs and we managed to bring down quality acts every single time. We even brought down an official Ministry of Sound DJ to Cuvée, and we broadcast his weekly radio show live from the club which was a first!

Another crucial part to the image of the club was to upgrade the quality of all the designs of promotional material.

I wasn’t satisfied with their existing designer, so my company took on design responsibilities for a couple of months while we hunted for a new one for the client.

The immediate reaction amongst people was that everything looked more sophisticated and classier (which is what I was trying to go for). Even after new designers were hired, I was still responsible for the design direction of all communications material in order to maintain the look and feel of everything.

For those of you who don’t believe in investing a lot into the design process, think again, because people really do notice the difference.


In addition to these things, I also devised branding platforms specific to certain suppliers that allowed Cuvée to solicit a record-breaking amount of sponsorship for them and their sister outlets.

Just the incredibly successful Forever Young Privilege Card project alone brought in more than RM100,000 worth of sponsorship for the parent company in just 6 months.

When the Forever Young card was launched, we had queues of people clamoring to sign up for it at one of Cuvée’s sister outlets – Mois, which was pretty much dead and devoid of people at the time.

To everyone’s shock/disblief/amazement we even managed to help Mois COMPLETELY DESTROY national sales records for both Asahi beer and Absolut vodka on two separate occasions.

(Little known fact about these 2 events – I changed the design of all the agency-supplied advertising material as I felt they weren’t informative or attractive enough for the general public … sorry to the 4As agency hehe)


But by far the MOST exhaustive part of this massive marketing task was to inject some personality into the place. This was a challenge because the club didn’t have a proper PR person, and ones that they tried to hire were ridiculously ineffective (some even did more damage than good to the place).

So I had to party.

A lot.

With all my friends. And and all of their friends too.

To make sure that everything was documented properly, I enlisted the help of my good buddy Leon Low to handle photography duties since there was a certain way I wanted the events shot and being a close friend of mine Leon knew exactly what I wanted.

Over the course of a year, we were able to craft an incredible image of the place and Cuvée’s reputation spread far & wide. I know this because I was getting msgs from friends all around the region saying they were making plans to come to Penang and party with me at Cuvée.

And party we did.


The main point of this post is to let people know that a lot of work goes in the marketing and promotion of a club (if you want to do it properly) … at many points over the past year, many people thought that all I did was party and not much else.

But what you don’t see are the messages that start coming in from the manager at 9am and the ones that come from the owners at 3am.

Not many people know just how much time and effort I had to inject into the place over the past year in order for Cuvée to reach the level that I desired – actually a lot of the people working inside the company didn’t even know exactly what I was doing since I dealt directly with the top management and owners.

Hopefully now that I’ve shown them how to do it, their in-house team will be able to continue to deliver exciting entertainment experiences to consumers and win another award this year.

Good luck.


Chainsmokers On American Idol: Is This What Dance Music Has Become?

Check out this clip of dance music producers the Chainsmokers “performing” the track “#selfie” on American Idol recently.

I’m not sure what is more atrocious, the fact that they are not actual “performing” anything or they walk up to J Lo to take a “selfie” and then say “Looking good J Lo” into the mic.

No wonder prominent producers like Porter Robinson, Knife Party and Mat Zo have all publicly lambasted the Chainsmokers on Twitter already.

If this is the future of dance music, please kill me already.

Ferry Corsten Has A Lot Of Fans

Ferry Corsten Has A Lot Of Fans

Asashi pres. Ferry Corsten at Play Club @ The Roof … insane turn out … I took this photo at around 10pm.

I have to say that Ferry Corsten, like most “trance” DJs nowadays, have moved away from the trademark cheesy synth breakdown/ethereal vocal sound that I hate so much. It was nice to hear him drop some good bootlegs of Fatboy Slim and other “housier” items.

Play Club is really shaping up as the go-to destination for partying in Petaling Jaya!

Instagram: @badboyben

Ferry Corsten – Back In Malaysia!

Ferry Corsten - Back In Malaysia!

Malaysian trance fans rejoice – trance overlord and #42 on DJ Mag’s 2013 Top 100 DJs list, Ferry Corsten will be in town next week to tear shit up at my favorite party venue in Kuala LumpurPlay @ The Roof.

It’s a public holiday eve, so I’m pretty sure it’s going to be RAMMED.

Better book your tables now!

Please follow me on Instagram: @badboyben

Thank you!

Throwback Thursday: Pete Teo Live @ Heineken Green Room Sessions (2003)

Throwback Thursday: Pete Teo Live @ Heineken Green Room Sessions (2003)

This is a great shot by Bernice Chauly of Malaysian singer/songwriter Pete Teo during his solo concert @ The Actor’s Studio Bangsar in 2003.

I produced this concert for Pete and it was sponsored by Heineken.

The show broke a lot of ground for both Heineken and the indie scene in Malaysia (FIRST indie concert in Malaysia to sell out way before opening night) and is still something I am very proud of to this day!

And don’t forget we didn’t have Facebook and all this social media to promote during those days!

Please follow me on Instagram: @badboyben

Thank you!

Dukes & Duchess

Dukes & Duchess

Last week I was in Kuala Lumpur for a series of meetings and I hooked up with my good buddy Dato’ David Gurupatham for dinner at The Roof (awesome one-stop entertainment hub in Petaling Jaya) and after we were done with dinner we adjourned to Dato’s regular Wednesday night hangout place – Dukes & Duchess in TTDI.

Now, I’d never been to this place, but I’d heard a lot about it from Dato’, so I was looking forward to checking it out. And boy was the place popping! Crazy! Rammed to max and filled with beautiful people (seems like all of the Brazilian/Russian/Portuguese/Spanish models who are in KL come to this cozy little bar)

I had a great night and met a lot of really friendly people. I haven’t been in a bar with such a friendly crowd/vibe for years! If any of you are looking for a totally unpretentious bar with friendly staff and regulars – give Dukes & Duchess a visit.

Thank you Dato’ David for a great night out!

Dukes & Duchess
No. 52, Lorong Rahim Kajai 14,
Taman Tun Dr Ismail
60000 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia