Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

How the Shopee PH endorser flak unfolded–as told by social data

The recent brand ambassador announcement by Shopee Philippines has caused a wide range of reactions amongst Filipinos online, with the majority turning against Shopee for tapping local celebrity Toni Gonzaga who is known for her controversial support of now-president Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr. 

As of this writing, Shopee has defended its decision, stating that Gonzaga was chosen for her ‘mass appeal’, and not for her ‘political views’.

Despite this, clamour and discussion regarding Shopee Philippines’ announcement remained. In light of this, MARKETECH APAC has tapped social media monitoring Digimind to learn more about how the negative flak unfolded–as told by social media data.

Are Social Mentions Equal to ‘Boycott’ Sentiment?

Digimind noted in its data that social media mentions of Shopee spiked following the brand ambassador announcement, peaking at 286,495 on September 29. Said day was the time Shopee Philippines uploaded a teaser video of Gonzaga as the new brand ambassador.

However, despite the large volume of tweets mentioning Shopee, social media mentions, specifically those suggesting the boycott, only took 0.4% of all social media mentions. Despite the small percentage, this still amounts to a fairly sizeable volume of4,000 netizens expressing their opinion to boycott Shopee.

According to Olivier Girard, head of Digimind for APAC, influencers will always be on the verge of receiving scrutiny, especially when being associated with a partisan group or cause. 

“While consumers are familiar with the concept of influencers or celebrities endorsing brands, brands now need to have a more stringent process in place when assessing each influencer’s fit for their brand or campaign. Any brand, large or small, runs the risk of facing some level of social scrutiny or backlash when announcing a public figure with uncertainty over the public might receive them,” he said.

Was There a Spillover to Rival Platform Lazada?

 Following the negative flak to Shopee, numerous citizens have shown interest in moving to rival e-commerce platform Lazada, which is also one of the most popular e-commerce platforms in the country.

However, Digimind notes that the social media conversations around Shopee still eclipse those about Lazada, showing that resentment towards the former is much stronger than renewed support for the latter. Over the course of September 26 to October 3, Shopee registered around ~2M social media mentions while Lazada only managed to get around ~145k social media mentions. In addition, Shopee’s mentions reached around ~11m users while Lazada reached around ~5.2m.

“Where brand reputation is concerned, it is therefore critical that brands evaluate potential ambassadors closely in the domain of social media,” Girard said, related to how brands should pick their next brand ambassador.

Who and Where the Discussion is Coming From

Digimind noted a great number of discussions related to Shopee come from sellers themselves and users that are greatly concerned about the welfare of the sellers.

A handful of small businesses and online shops have decided to create a business account, with some saying that they would not support a platform that ‘enables [political lies]’, as well as ‘unjust termination of employees’. Netizens have pointed out the irony from Shopee Philippines’ side in retrenching employees in order to ‘optimise’ operations and then contracting a new brand ambassador afterwards. 

Girard said that it’s important for brands to obtain consumer sentiments to help them prepare communication contingencies ahead of time, as in the case of Shopee. 

“[This] can help brands identify influencer profiles that match their target community and sieve any negative sentiment your marketing and social teams might otherwise miss out on in the macro analysis,” Girard explained.

In the end, the brand ambassador announcement for Shopee Philippines went on as usual, albeit social engagement against them has diminished over time. Time will only tell how these media social sentiments truly play out in the longer run.

Premium Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Behind eye-catching 11.11 discounts: The silent flak over Shopee’s 11.11 ad ft. Jackie Chan

Singapore – Global action star Jackie Chan was recently announced as top e-commerce Shopee’s newest ambassador in August which was launched as part of the platform’s 9.9 campaign. Shortly after, Chan makes a comeback to viewers’ screens for the platform’s 11.11 campaign

In light of the backlash from some advertising and creative professionals on Shopee’s current ad for 11.11, MARKETECH APAC reached out to social listening platform Digimind to learn about how the mass audience perceives the latest campaign. 

On October 25, just a few days after Shopee released its 11.11 ad with the international star, Singapore-based marketing expert Richard Bleasdale stirred quite a conversation on LinkedIn by sharing a post about the ad, describing it as the “worst ad ever made.” Soon, the post drew quite traction, serving as an invitation for other creative and marketing leaders to share their verdict on the ad–which was a unanimous disappointment over Shopee’s chosen creative direction.

The general audience, meanwhile, had been split on their perception of the ad. According to Digimind’s analysis, some had found the 11.11 campaign endearing, while a fraction showed displeasure over the latest campaign mixed with some neutral liking.

The main narrative of the ad in question was Jackie Chan fighting off bad guys ‘magically’ through the power of Shopee’s ‘big discounts’. For every press of the actor on his phone, discount bubbles pop up such as “$60 CASHBACK ALL DAY,” sending an enemy down and defeated. 

Screenshots from Shopee’s latest 11.11 ad

Apparently, the negative sentiment by the mass audience drew some parallel with professional opinion, which is Shopee’s seeming failure to leverage Chan’s martial arts prowess. Following Bleasdale’s post, MARKETECH APAC formally reached out to some of the advertising professionals that commented on the post.

A consensus among the creative leaders was Shopee’s perceived faulty decision to favor a fictional story of ‘powerful’ discounts rather than spotlighting the ambassador’s renowned action-comedy branding. 

A leader from ad agency Cheil Singapore described the ad as an “orange mess,” while an advisory board member from martech DAIVID said the ad could have been an opportunity to have “some whacky martial-arts impossibility” performed by the ambassador. 

Digimind had rounded up some definitive comments which had been in agreement with the said professional flak. 

Digimind_ social mentions
Negative and neutral comments on Shopee’s 11.11 ad gathered by Digimind

One tweet said, “I guess Jackie Chan beating up people with a tap of a button is all [we’re] going to get in a Shopee ad.” 

While another wrote on Twitter, “[Jackie Chan] did a [Shopee] ad, my life is ruined.”

Other hostile comments pointed out other ‘less-than-perfect’ elements of the ad such as Chan’s seeming wrinkle-free appearance and how the ad looked like a ‘deepfake’, which is the digital alter of a person’s face. 

“I’m laughing, they [airbrushed] Jackie Chan’s wrinkles…,” one netizen tweeted.

While another one said, “Tell me why I’m so convinced that the Shopee ads with ‘Jackie Chan’ [are] [deepfakes]…” 

According to the report, there were a total of 309 mentions in Southeast Asia, excluding promotional content, about Shopee’s 11.11 ad from the period of October 17 – 31 across leading social media platforms including Facebook and Twitter. 

Digimind social mentions

The study found that Malaysia conversed the most around the campaign with 40% of the mentions coming from the market, followed by the Philippines (30%) and Indonesia (20%).

Digimind top countries

Information from the study also showed that the inaugural Shopee ambassadorship of Chan for 9.9 in August garnered higher traction on social media than the sophomore campaign of the star for 11.11. There had been a 4530% fall in the total volume of mentions for the newer campaign compared to the previous 9.9 over the same period from August 19 – 31.

Shopee’s 11.11 ad was released on YouTube on October 18 across its covered markets in Southeast Asia. Thai viewership of the ad eclipsed the platform’s other markets, registering over 39 million views as of writing.

Digimind’s analysis covered the markets of Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, and India.

Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

SEA report shows social media mentions of cryptos on uptick rate

Singapore – Cryptocurrency, including Bitcoin and Ethereum, have sparked popularity over these years, thanks to a huge following online. In the case of Southeast Asia, social media users have been active in discussing the sector across various social media platforms, new data from a report by social media monitoring and intelligence company Digimind.

Singapore takes the lead as the most active market where cryptocurrency mentions are prevalent across social media platforms, amounting to 902,225 mentions from February to May 2021 or about 16% of the density against regular social media users. Social media density refers to the ratio of social media mentions for a particular topic against the number of recorded social media users, regardless of what topic they discuss.

This is followed by the Philippines (2,767,413 mentions) and Malaysia (815,523 mentions) who both tallied 3% of social media mentioned density. Indonesia, meanwhile, is the least vocal in the region when it comes to cryptocurrency mentions. Despite having 3,011,790 mentions, it only takes up 2% of social media density, in proportion to the 170m recorded social media users.

As Bitcoin and Ethereum take the lead of what is on consumer’s minds on social media across the region, the cryptocurrencies Dogecoin, Binance, Tether and Ripple also follow suit, signifying the diversity of cryptocurrency choices for consumers in the region.

In terms of most-mentioned cryptocurrency platforms, Coinbase takes the lead, with 41% of respondents saying it’s on the top of their minds. This is then followed by Binance (28.9%), Okex (19.8%), Huobi (8.2%) and Coinhako (2.1%).

“Determining the right cryptocurrency trading platform is akin to frequenting a supermarket store that offers the best services, from discount prices to exclusive membership rates, and convenience. Brands need to be well equipped to detect the most pressing pain points of consumers or users, survey threats to brand reputation and make informed decisions quickly by synchronizing omnichannel information within a single dashboard to stay investor-centric,” Digimind said in a press statement.

For Olivier Girard, APAC head at Digimind, through the lens of social listening, they see the insecurities and motivations of the average investor, as well as the potential for this new technology to be adopted into the mainstream market.

“From the consumer perspective, it is remarkable to see how cryptocurrency is embraced by people from all walks of life and nationalities – fueling the hope of mainstream adoption in the near future. Even in APAC, we can see efforts ramping up to create greater accessibility, and provide regulations within cryptocurrency exchanges that affirm the trust consumers are having,” Girard stated.

Platforms Featured APAC

SG e-commerce platform is most ‘talked about’ brand in APAC in Q2, social listening study reveals

Singapore – Word-of-mouth and genuine love for a brand continue to be one of the most powerful sources of brand promotion and marketing, and this is on top of micro-marketers or online influencers, who, even though arguably relatable, still patronize brands under a sponsorship or a deal. We go much deeper into the user-generated brand love phenomenon – and that is through our close network on social media. With less outside influence, and trust that laden with more truthful opinion, word-of-mouth is now digitized online buzz. 

Asia-Pacific is a region with strong collective values and beliefs and when it comes to well-loved brands on social media, consumers bound by this region seem to gravitate the same towards conversations on the same types of brands.

According to a quarterly study by Digimind, a social listening and market intelligence platform, the top most discussed brands for the second quarter of the year have taken up quite a lot of changes since the previous quarter. 

The study notes why consumers, more than experiencing brands, love to ‘talk’ about them on social media – it’s because the simple act of it has become some kind of self-actualization.

“There is a gratifying feeling to express how they feel about a product or service, or simply have an opinion,” notes the study. 

The top 10 in Digimind’s Top 50 most discussed brands in APAC

For starters, the title of the most-discussed brand in APAC has been retained from the first quarter of the year, and it is none other than Singapore-born e-commerce platform Shopee. A lot of brands have fluctuated among consumers’ radar, but not Shopee, which isn’t surprising. 

E-commerce has been the go-to shopping ‘destination’ for most since a brunt of physical establishments has been, for the meantime, closed down. With almost everyone accomplishing their purchases on e-commerce platforms such as Shopee, similarly Singaporean platform Lazada, and Indonesia’s Tokopedia, the next impulsive step is to share them on social media and boast of them, as doing so enables consumers to feel an even greater sense of elation and self-worth. 

This has been evident with the latter, with Lazada pushed two places up from Q1, and then Tokopedia an inch closer from the previous period, for both to enter in the top 10 most discussed brands. 

Meanwhile, the holy grail brands and platforms that are at consumers’ immediate disposal, continue to dominate conversations on social media. These are Spotify, Google, Netflix, Apple, and Zoom, with all falling under the top 10 most discussed.

Massive celebrity collaborations have also made way for consumers’ interest to be supercharged towards certain brands, and we’re speaking specifically of the global stardom of K-pop group BTS, which has amplified brand love for McDonald’s and even luxury brand Louis Vuitton. 

The study notes that while much of the commotion is directly from its passionate fan base, a part of the social buzz is also affected by those whose curiosity has been stirred, and therefore, channeling their recent ‘discoveries’ on social media as well. 

A social media post from a BTS fan in the Philippines

With McDonald’s releasing the ‘BTS meal’ across its global markets, the fast-food label jumped to the top 10 of the APAC rankings in Q2 by 34 places. 

Meanwhile, global fashion brand Louis Vuitton which has recently ridden the BTS bandwagon, allowed for it to amass significant social buzz within a relatively short frame of time, putting them within the top 20 rankings by an upturn of 32 spots. 

Another more surprising movement in social buzz based on the study is one with TikTok, which from being part of the top 10, is now nowhere in sight of the top 50. Maybe, the short-video platform, despite its popularity, enjoys much more viewership and usage of the app itself, more than being talked about as it is from afar. 

The top 20 in Digimind’s Top 50 most discussed brands in APAC

Meanwhile, popular super apps and delivery platforms in the region – Grab, foodpanda, and Gojek – which have been looked to with much more dependence from users, have all landed in the top 20. 

“For brands, resonating with the right community is as good as leaving them to handle your marketing with every individual promotion helping to populate your brand’s campaign further,” noted the report.

Data presented were collected by Digimind Historical Search and based on social mentions in APAC between April to June 2021 on platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and even from Pinterest, Reddit, and Tumblr, and YouTube, among others.