Garcia launches Xpress, first free paper in Thailand

You never know where in the world Mario Garcia will be any given day.

The global design guru just finished celebrating the launch of Daily Xpress, Thailand’s first free newspaper.

And he did it in style, with a cool launch party at Centara, Central World, with more than 2,000 guests. The paper launched Wednesday with distribution all over Bangkok and in Pattaya, Phuket, Chiang Mai, Hua Hin and Koh Samui. It’s published by The Nation.

Mario reports that the launch looks to be a giant success because it’s creating so much buzz. “Readers don’t know what to do yet with a free paper that looks so good!”

The initial numbers on the freesheet appear to suggest that it will start at around 100,000 copies.

The launch of Xpress is the latest in a flurry of free newspapers to arrive in Asia. Publications with local-language editions are popping up in India, Korea, Hong Kong and a dual-language English-Chinese edition debuted in Singapore. Xpress caters to a young urban demographic – 25-35 – and carries news on city life, lifestyle and entertainment, world and sports news.

Here’s the philosophy behind the “always on” culture, as Mario describes it, that Xpress carefully crafts on its pages.

• Ease of navigation.

• A two-track approach to news and feature presentation.

• A small format that is easier to carry and to manage.

• Color-coding to identify sections.

• Innovative advertising positioning

image
Mario Garcia atop a larger-than-life Xpress nameplate at the debut gala.

About Matt Mansfield

is VP at CQ Roll Call, a Board Member and leads SND's Outreach efforts. He was SNDDC workshop chair in 2015.

15 comments

Trendsetter Mario has started the ball rolling… like it or not freesheeters are coming to Asia too…

You think they are ust now coming?

I think more will come.  I have copies of tab freesheets in my research collection from visits to Seoul, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore . . .  Going back several years now I have collected many examples. Ah several from China, even. So it is not new and neither is the name – Xpress.

Xpress, if I remember correctly from my visit there last year,  is also the name of the Gulf News free weekly tab in Dubai. This effort looks similar to that model.

Correct on the Dubai reference Robb.

1) Wish I knew how this was being distributed. If its mostly out of a box, they are killing themselves with an abundance of type. Mucks up the ability for the paper to throw far out of the box.

2) They have a Sizzler there? Oh, I am so in.

I sort of dashed this off before hopping on a plane to the UK (hello from London now!) and did not give as much detail as I knew, but I should have mentioned that Xpress is a brand that Mario has helped launched in many locations. He’s just now finished the one in Thailand, with it being the first in that country. But, yeah, that title has a history in the last few years, and Garcia Media has built its identity. Mario worked on the Dubai title, too … More at his site: http://www.garcia-media.com

And, for the record, Robb: I never said “new” … (that’s your word) I said “latest” … There’s a difference!

Yes, of course, my friend. Indeed there is. As there is a difference between reporting and publicity.

So, if I understand your comment, you are you saying that this is an announcement of a new launch of the Xpress formula, albeit in a new location?

Kind of like when Metro announces it is publishing a ‘new’ paper based in another market? 

OK.

Are you kidding me? what’s new about this?  i just got 4 copies and i hope all of you take a look at it

“Ease of navigation”… well, that’s like one of the most basic things to put a design

“A two-track approach to news and feature presentation” … wow!

“A small format that is easier to carry and to manage” we say that about any paper that is not broadsheet, and the Xpress is not so small as other tabloids in Asia or Latin america

“Color-coding to identify sections.” … 1986 revisited i hope the paper is all full color, otherwise its just an ornament

“Innovative advertising positioning”… well, i guess Mario has been looking at a lot of newspapers lately

I Dont mean to be the grinch here, but come on! what’s so great about this? the guy is well known, he’s hired for a job, he makes a design out of a shelf. Its business..

We should be talking about how people like him are killing innovative design for the money, money that i know, we need to eat, but its an interesting dilema.

Good for Mario’s pocket, good for free papers… bad for news design in general.

its alittle late to joion in this thread, but i am a reporter with the original XPRESS in Dubai. the name XPRESS is a straight forward rip off by our friend garcia, the paper was known as project x before the launch and a staff vote set the name xpress in. garcia took the design which he developed there and ripped off the name and handed it to thailand for a very hefty fee!

I think the XPress doing quite well now in Thailand. They got quite strong distribution channel which is the most important element. You can find the paper almost everywhere e.g. train stations, office buildings, good restaurants and even inside rooms of some Bangkok hotels. With millions of tourists come to thailand each year, no question to ask I quess.

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