Singapore brands get sexy abroad

Mention the brand "Tiger Balm" and an overpowering scent of camphor - or your grandmother - may come to mind.

Those little glass jars are now hot in Hollywood, and celebrities are waxing lyrical about the unassuming white ointment.

Tiger Balm has found fans in celebrities such as actress Gwyneth Paltrow, who told American magazine US Weekly in March that the product was "a topical cure-all balm for muscle aches and pains".

Pop singer Lady Gaga also tweeted a picture of the product in January last year, while she was on her United States tour.

She listed it as a "backstage must-have", along with the painkiller Advil.

Owned by Singapore company Haw Par Corporation, Tiger Balm began to actively introduce product-line extensions in the 1990s to suit the lifestyles of younger consumers.

The brand also expanded its range of products to include items such as the Tiger Balm Neck & Shoulder Rub in 2005, and launched its first sub-brand, Tiger Balm Active, last year.

The sub-brand caters to young fitness-conscious individuals, and includes products such as the Active Muscle Gel and Muscle Rub. Hear that, Lady Gaga?

"To reach out to younger target-market groups, we have tapped into consumer trends and insights to understand their lifestyle needs," said Mr A. K. Han, the executive director of Haw Par Corporation.

Today, Tiger Balm products are available in more than 100 countries worldwide, such as Norway and New Zealand.

Another family favourite - Axe Brand - has also been making its mark overseas.

Produced by Leung Kai Fook Medical Company, the brand is most famous for its medicated oil.

It is distributed in 40 countries, including Panama, Australia and Greece.

International customers can even purchase Axe Brand products online through American website

Mr Leong Mun Sum, the managing director of the company, emphasised that Axe Brand products are suitable for people of all ages, despite the stereotype that they are used only by the older generation.

"Young people spend a lot of time using the computer. This can result in headaches, stress, neck and back pain, and Axe Oil comes in very handy for relief," he said.

Secondary-school student Kristofer Wong, 15, is one such Axe Oil user.

He uses it whenever he suffers from headaches, stomachaches and nasal congestion, simply because "it works".

He started using the oil as a child when his domestic helper told him that it was a remedy for headaches and other ailments.

1 2 
Become a fan on Facebook