The Rainbow Village of Java; the power of a tin of paint

Andi McDermott on June 2, 2017

A small community in Indonesia has recently undergone a refurbishment that looks like something inspired by a bag of Skittles. Kampung Pelangi — otherwise known as “Rainbow Village” has been transformed from a tired suburb on the island of Java, to a visual feast for the eyes, as locals took to every surface with a paintbrush and some brightly coloured paint.


The Rainbow Village was intended to spark tourism to the area – and by all accounts it’s working. To date, the hashtag #KampungPelangi has over 4000 posts, and it’s growing everyday.


The deceptively simple idea of adorning the community with kaleidoscope colour murals has piqued the interest of individuals the world over, clogged Instagram feeds and has even gained media exposure from the likes of Time and Vogue.


The return on investment for Kampung Pelangi is unprecedented (the so-called branding exercise cost roughly $30,000), but the genius part? Their visitors did all the hard work for them. Tourists and locals alike were the ones spreading the message, and recommending a visit to the Rainbow Village to their followers and larger Instagram community.

One of many murals within Kampung Pelangi.

This example demonstrates the power of UGC when a brand taps into an existing behaviour.


Consumers want to be able to see themselves in whatever you are selling, and Instagram lets them do this. Building your own brand on Instagram is ultimately supported by the images and products that you choose. While there are inherent and complex rules to this unique platform, the takeaway for brands is simple; create something that is going to evoke a sense of longing, inspiration, exclusivity or even laughter, and you’ve found your golden ticket.


Studies by Nielsen and comScore have revealed that when it comes to Instagram, women are leading the pack in terms of usage, with 53% of active users being women. Perhaps more compelling is that women are more likely to interact with brands via social media than men. And while Instagram touts itself as a platform that is built on community and image sharing, social media experts are suggesting that competition, a historical responsibility for family photo taking, and the rise of Instagram as the new social currency are giving way to the influx of female users.


Starbucks’ Unicorn Frappucino is one of the most recent examples of the power of audience influence. While the drink didn’t necessarily taste that good, it wasn’t the point. The technicolour, sugar-laden drink struck a chord with consumers, and in particular Instagram users, which generated an estimated 180,000 Instagram posts in a single week.


Which bring us back to Kampung Pelangi. The rainbow revival allowed tourists and locals alike to build their own personal brand, to typecast themselves as the avid traveler, explorer, and discoverer of all things off the beaten path. The city enabled its visitors to inspire, and provoke envy and curiosity on Instagram feeds the world over. All with a paintbrush, and a tin of paint.

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