Text by Michelle Kuo
Translation by Liu I-Ying
Images courtesy of Woli Co., Ltd.
For Kaohsiung people, the most familiar image from childhood to adulthood may not be that of a cartoon character or a mayor, but the headshot of "Chen Tsai-You" that is easily found on work trucks and street walls. An image of a baby face using a diffusion filter, with slogans of “Water Leak Detection” and “ Guaranteed Promissory Note. Refund If Not Satisfied” written below has made this evergreen urban legend a symbol of people's everyday life in Kaohsiung. Nowadays, the second-generation manager of "Chen Tsai-You Water Leak Research Institute" has teamed up with Woli Co., Ltd., which specializes in brand management, to launch chic t-shirts and other merchandise for the Institute. They even issued an NFT project of Chen Tsai-You’s black-and-white advertisement headshot, sending the localist IP character to the Metaverse in one fell swoop!
Speaking of such collaboration, Roy, the project manager of Woli Co., Ltd., who is in charge of the brand image of the Institute, said that she and Chen Tsai-You were relatives. At a family gathering, Chen's daughter proposed to reshape the image of the brand. The idea received Chen’s immediate support, and further facilitated this collaboration. "Mr. Chen knows marketing. He has been using current marketing strategies such as targeting customer groups, and placing advertisements for 20 years now." For example, Roy mentioned that Chen used to provide free canvases printed with his own headshots to vegetable vendors at the traditional markets. The canvases not only reduce costs for the vendors, but also bring excellent advertising effects to the brand. "After all, the people responsible for dealing with water leakage at home are often uncles and aunts who go to traditional markets, so these work truck advertisements are completely on point.”
Starting with the work truck advertisements at traditional markets, the Institute has now become the most well-known leak detection company in southern Taiwan. However, despite its booming business, the younger generation does not understand the work of leak detection, and few are willing to invest in this industry. In the face of these hidden worries, the brand takes the issuance of its NFT as a key step to raise the awareness and favorability of the younger generation.
"Leak detection is a labor-intensive industry with low substitution. We hope that while stabilizing our existing business, we can also explore whether the brand Chen Tsai-You can extend its operations in more directions through the development of its IP character. On the other hand, as Chen Tsai-You is an IP character originating from Kaohsiung, we also hope to introduce the culture and lifestyles of Kaohsiung to more people through this IP character.” Roy also shared an experience where she saw young “Ting-tuan-tsai” (music band lovers) wearing Cheng Tsai-You’s t-shirts while going to Megaport Festival. “I was very glad to see them wearing IP products stemming from Kaohsiung's ordinary culture, participating in Kaohsiung's activities, and getting to know Kaohsiung's culture."
Looking into the future, Roy also plans to launch more Chen Tsai-You merchandise. The Woli Co., Ltd. has been preparing new products such as canvas bags and motorcycle fenders. "In the past, fenders of motorcycles were usually printed with the photos of dream girl Vivian Chow, but now the photo we have printed is that of Chen Tsai-You. After all, he is also the Prince Charming who saves the quality of life at home!" Roy laughed. After all, the Institute is best known for its classic black-and-white headshot. In the past, Mr. Chen was memorized in this way. In the future, Woli Co., Ltd. will use this as a foundation to develop cartoon and wink versions and discuss with other brands about licensing. "In fact, a lot of IP images in the world use avatars as their starting point. We also hope that the IP character of Chen Tsai-You can be managed in a meaningful and intriguing way."