Dave McCaughan: Premiumisation – An Asian norm

Dave McCaughan

Asia marketing expert, Dave McCaughan, recently shared his insights in Admap Magazine July 2019 Issue on “Premiumisation”, which he observed, is an Asian norm.

Looks at how, across Asia, there is a rising, still fast-growing middle, and more importantly upper- middle class who want a slightly better, rarer, more unique experience.
In Bangkok, and across Asia, there is a rising, still fast-growing middle, and more importantly upper-middle class who want a slightly better, rarer, more unique experience.
The “premium ingredient” strategy works in many ways, but usually involves taking something that has a known culturally relevant reputation and adding claims to enhance the “it’s good for you” factor.
Premiumization often means pricing that is not “luxury” but implies a better quality than the expected norm or products with added features that allow the marketer to charge higher prices – an example would be the constant seasonal and regional special flavour releases for KitKat in Japan.
Constant innovation with new premium offerings can be the only way for brands to survive in urban markets.


This article is part of the July special edition of AdMap on premiumisation. You can download the whole special edition on subscription here .

Dave McCaughan

Dave McCaughan has over three decades experience leading the development of advertising and marketing strategies across the Asia-Pacific region. He started in his native Sydney joining McCann in 1986 where he built the Strategic Planning function and subsequently from 1995 was based in Bangkok, Hong Kong and Tokyo leading regional strategy and communication campaign development for clients including Coca-Cola, MasterCard, Nestle, Cathay Pacific, Sunstar, Hitachi, Johnson&Johnson and many others.

Over that time he also maintained roles as country President in Thailand, General Manager of McCann Japan and Managing Director of McCann Hong Kong. In 2015 Dave left McCann after 28 years and launched BIBLIOSEXUAL, a consultancy that brings together his passion for helping companies rethink the interaction of people, media and brand stories. He describes a bibliosexual as “someone who understands the relationship between form and content and that for different people one may be more relevant than the other”. His clients in the last three years include Unilever China, TATA corporation, AsiaMiles and clients across the region.

In 2016 Dave also became the Chief Strategy Officer of the Ai.agency, a virtual consultancy that uses artificial intelligence based market research platforms such as SignificanceSystems to help brands and companies explore, discover and track the narratives that really matter to their story. Truly innovative research approaches that have helped clients such as Shiseido, Mondalez, UBER, Tesla, Australian WoolMark find new meaning in a number of markets.

In 2017 also co-founded Marketing Futures in Bangladesh, a training and marketing consultancy working to help companies in developing countries understand how to undertake international marketing.

Dave has talked at over 500 conferences globally and has been a regular columnist for journals like Advertising Age, Japan Close-Up, Mumbrella, Campaign Asia and served for ten years as a board member and contributor for ESOMAR’s Research World. He is also the co-anchor of the MR Realities podcast, where he interviews the global market research industry leaders on where research is going. Dave is also a respected leader and lunch published influencer in looking at the potential of ageing Asia.

Dave‘s keynotes are:

  • Bibliosexuality : What we love about media and technology 
  • What Asia is Teaching Us
  • The Future is a Rock Band
  • The History of Men’s Underwear
  • My Mum’s Throne Room
  • Soft Power Ain’t So Soft?

Contact us if you are interested in having Dave McCaughan at your next event.