HONG KONG: While extreme pursuits and brands have developed strong working relationships in many parts of the world, Asia has tended to lag behind - at least until the rise of 'Exthetics'.

The term is a combination of 'extreme' and 'aesthetics', and was coined by a group which was virtually unknown six months ago, but has since worked with major brands, including - perhaps the ultimate accolade for their activities - Red Bull.

The Hong Kong-based trio shot to international fame with a selfie taken at the top of a skyscraper in the special autonomous region's business district, and have been approached by several brands eager to work with them in creating content.

But the three told Campaign Asia-Pacific they are careful to pick exactly who they partner with. "If a brand comes along and they fit with us and their product or service is useful to us, we'll be happy to consider working with them," said Daniel Lau, who took the original selfie." 

Those criteria led them to work with adidas, as the brand supplied clothing and merchandise for use in their urban explorations, which take in abandoned spaces and building sites as well as tall buildings.

Then followed Canon (they use the firm's cameras to record their projects), Palladium Boots and Red Bull.

"I think brands like Red Bull want more Asian brand ambassadors," said Lau. "There are not many Asians doing extreme sports or what we're doing." 

But, he added, the group wanted to work only with brands that shared their values in some way. "'There are still brands that approach us that have nothing in common with what we're doing or our style and approach," he said.

They are now celebrities in many parts of the digital world, attracting attention from as far away as Brazil. 

Celebrity endorsement is a common approach in China, although Millward Brown has reported that its effectiveness is decreasing, with likeability and brand linkage both falling compared to non-celebrity advertisements.

The main factors contributing to this, it said, include excessive use of celebrities, failure to use comprehensive selection criteria and poor matches between celebrities and advertised products.

Data sourced from Campaign Asia-Pacific; additional content by Warc staff