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Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Grab PH issues statement amid rider partners’ homophobic remarks towards BTS

Manila, Philippines – Grab Philippines has recently released a public statement amid the ongoing issue of homophobic remarks from its partner delivery riders that netizens have pointed out regarding the launch of the McDonald’s x BTS meal in the country.

Netizens have raised the alarm after a handful of deliver rider partners of the app posted homophobic statements against the popular K-pop group BTS, calling them ‘BTS Biot’ or ‘BTS gay’, labeling BTS as a group of gay people. 

The influx of these homophobic statements comes after a rise in food deliveries of the BTS McDo meal across Grab deliveries in the country, which consists of a 10-piece chicken McNuggets, medium fries, and Coke, as well as McDonald’s South Korea’s two popular dipping sauces – sweet chili and cajun. 

In the statement, Grab Philippines stated that “inclusivity is one of Grab’s core values, and we have a zero-tolerance policy for inexcusable behaviors.”

They also added that they have immediately suspended the delivery-partners in question and will continue to work hard to maintain an inclusive and diverse platform.

“Our delivery-partners continue to provide significant services for our kababayans (countrymen) during these trying times. We hope that our consumers will not let the actions of a few select individuals affect the livelihoods of the many delivery-partners who rely on the Grab platform to support their families,” the company added.

Despite the statement, netizens continue to raise concerns about delivery riders of Grab who are still not given appropriate action.

Twitter user @vmindables stated that the attitude of these select riders are very much ‘disturbing’, but their co-delivery riders ‘tolerating’ such acts are even more gut-wrenching.

“All we wanted was to enjoy this short season in peace. This isn’t just about the hate against BTS but also the mockery against the LGBTQ+ Community. Educate your riders. Stop making ‘biot’ or other third-gender terms an insult and a figure of fun and mockery,” the user added.

Meanwhile, Twitter user @yeontaeberrykim commented that said action is not only applicable for the sake of BTS, but also the use of slurs against the members of the LGBTQ+ community.

“It is also important to remind the delivery partners to act accordingly. There is no place for prejudice. As you said, inclusivity is one of your core values and this should be reflected by your partners and their services towards your customers,” the user added.

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Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

PH brands, orgs join in quirky campaign, jabs on #LugawIsEssential debacle

Manila, Philippines – A handful of local brands and organizations in the Philippines have shown their quirky side by joining the online trend in regards to the recently-debated online trend #LugawIsEssential.

The context draws its origin from the now infamous ‘lugaw incident’ where Marvin Ignacio, a food delivery rider working for Grab Philippines, was held in a checkpoint at Brgy. Muzon, San Jose del Monte, Bulacan by barangay (local government unit) officials since his delivery of ‘lugaw’, the Filipino equivalent of savory porridge, was not deemed ‘essential’ in terms of service.

As the Greater Manila area, including the province of Bulacan, is still under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), many people resort to food deliveries, to which the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) has deemed ‘essential’.

The video appeared in the Facebook Live video of the food delivery rider, who streamed the confrontation with barangay officials. The incident went viral on Maundy Thursday, 1 April, which has drawn flak among netizens due to the ‘paradoxical’ nature the barangay officials gave in terms of the item’s essential nature. Despite initially blowing up on Facebook, the trend became more prominent in other social media channels, including Instagram and Twitter.

As the trend #LugawIsEssential spiked in popularity on Twitter Philippines, several known and local brands have jumped in the trend to poke fun at the ongoing trend, while maintaining campaign presence and relevancy at the same time.

Jumping first on the trend is the rider’s employer Grab Philippines, where in one of their posts, they quote that “If food is essential, and lugaw is essential, therefore LUGAWISESSENTIAL”. The post itself has acted as a new local campaign by Grab PH of using the promo code to gain a free delivery perk from the service itself.

Furthermore, the Philippine arm of GrabMart also uses the same promo code campaign to entice customers with a free delivery perk when they buy the ingredients of lugaw, which include rice, egg, garlic, salt, and ginger as staples.

Some Grab PH users have also noted a new advisory message on the app’s dashboard which similarly pokes fun at the lugaw incident, stating that they are “serving you 24/7 this ECQ so that you can stay safe at home while we bring you essentials (food and lugaw included!).”

Meanwhile, the Philippine division of smartphone brand Xiaomi posted a tweet reminiscent of the time of how the founders of Xiaomi in 2010 united on a meal of lugaw in deciding what to call their company as.

Oil company Phoenix Fuels, on the other hand, pokes fun at the debacle by posting an infographic stating the ‘essential’ ingredients of making lugaw, accompanied with a Twitter thread helping online users how to cook porridge. The online post aims to promote Phoenix Fuels’ liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) products.

On a similar note, local weather channel Panahon.TV also posted a photo, enumerating and visualizing the lugaw ingredients at the same time.

As the trend fell into the observance of April Fool’s Day as well, some smaller local brands have also jumped into ‘trolling’ their online audiences with ‘new products’.

On a weird note, local adult pleasure brand frisky ‘announced’ that they have recently launched a new lube product, with lugaw as the new flavor, to which they ‘announced’ is on sale on both Lazada and Shopee.

Meanwhile, local candle scents maker Clementine Scents announced that they have launched a ‘lugaw-scented candle’ to allow customers “enjoy the scent of [the] favorite Filipino porridge, wherever, whenever.”

A screenshot of the Instagram post of Clementine Scents

Other brands and organizations that poked fun on the #LugawIsEssential debacle includes the National Historical Commission of the Philippines, local anime media group portal AniRadio Plus, and Default Cafe Pub, which made a jovial take on the likewise viral photo of President Rodrigo Duterte blowing a ‘birthday cake’ made out of steamed rice.

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Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Grab PH opens up second branch of cloud kitchen

Manila, Philippines – GrabKitchen finally gets a second branch in the Philippines, which will be located in Sampaloc, Metro Manila, generally known as the ‘University Belt’, housing a number of top colleges and universities in the district. The branch adds to the overall 50 known GrabKitchen branches in the Southeast Asia region.

The concept of GrabKitchen revolves around a mix-and-match feature, which allows customers to satisfy their food orders from different merchants all in one order. 

The second GrabKitchen Philippine branch brings together eight brands to provide more food choices to consumers. It also aims to provide food entrepreneurs the opportunity to launch their brands in new locations with a lower setup cost and to reach a wider base of customers through GrabFood. 

The eight food chain brands include Conti’s, Sinangag Express, CoCo Fresh Tea and Juice, as well as Omakase, Mister Kabab, and Army Navy, and also Pizza Telefono, and Happilee. 

According to Grab Philippines Head of Deliveries EJ Dela Vega, GrabKitchen responds to both consumer demand and helping food and beverage entrepreneurs succeed in their digital business stints.

“Our first GrabKitchen has enabled merchants to establish their brands in Makati, where they didn’t use to have a physical store, with minimal upfront investments. At the same time, it has also provided food lovers the option to enjoy different cuisines they love in a single order and pay one delivery fee. We hope to bring the same benefits to consumers and businesses through the opening of our Sampaloc branch,” Dela Vega stated.

The country’s first branch was launched at shopping mall Glorietta 2 located in top business district, Makati City, where it facilitated six merchants.

Dela Vega also added that these merchants will add variety in terms of food choices in Manila. Omakase and Happilee are opening their kitchens in Manila for the first time, while the others hope to gain more customers through GrabKitchen. He further shared that Grab considered several factors in shortlisting the merchants, including identifying the in-demand food items in the area and leveraging data from historical orders to address cuisine gaps. 

“We are hopeful that our Sampaloc, Manila branch will give foodies more freedom to mix and match their orders. They can also take advantage of the fact that our GrabKitchen merchants offer long-distance deliveries up to 10 kilometers,” Dela Vega added.

GrabKitchen was a concept first introduced in Indonesia in 2018 and has since become the largest regional cloud kitchen operator in Southeast Asia. GrabKitchen’s branches expand in countries such as Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, and Malaysia, where it has also recently opened a first branch. 

To celebrate the launch of the newest GrabKitchen branch, Grab is offering free delivery to customers from February 9 to 28, 2021 for orders with a minimum price tag of ₱550.

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Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Popeyes Philippines debuts U.S. Spicy Chicken Sandwich on GrabFood

Manila, Philippines – Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen in the Philippines is adding a new item – US. Spicy Chicken Sandwich – to its menu, and it has exclusively tied up with GrabFood to offer customers a first-taste ahead of its official store launch.

The new item will be made available in stores on October 18, but customers can already order from GrabFood starting October 14.

GRAB FOOD EXCLUSIVE! Be one of the first to try our U.S. Spicy Chicken Sandwich before everyone else! Exclusively order…

Posted by Popeyes Philippines on Monday, October 12, 2020

The U.S. Spicy Chicken Sandwich features a spicy boneless chicken with pickled jalapeños, bacon strips, and spicy roasted garlic mayo on a toasted brioche bun.

With Popeyes being a participating merchant-partner for GrabFood’s new Long Distance feature, GrabFood users within a 10 km radius from a Popeyes branch will also be able to avail the U.S. Spicy Chicken Sandwich. 

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Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

Unilever Philippines joins Grab to launch Safer Meals campaign

Manila, Philippines – Grab Philippines has tied up with Unilever Philippines to launch the Safer Meals Philippines campaign, a program which provides hygiene kits to GrabFood merchant partners and delivery partners. 

Through the kits, Grab aims to ensure utmost safety and hygiene at every stage of the food delivery life cycle. Part of the kits is Unilever’s newly launched Lifebuoy sanitizer and Cif multi-purpose cleaner. 

According to a press statement by Grab Singapore, the partnership with Unilever covers the whole of Southeast Asia in the objective to protect Grab riders as well as to support the livelihoods of small business owners. 

GrabFood Philippines Head EJ Dela Vega said, “Keeping our communities safe is core to everything we do at Grab, and we are fortunate to find a partner in Unilever that shares this philosophy and be able to make a difference through our Safer Meals Philippines campaign.”

Since March, Unilever has been doing its part to support nationwide efforts in supplying basic goods and services amid the pandemic.

It announced its local response “Malasakit for All” (compassion for all) to support its employees, partners, and communities, where among the initiatives are the provision of hygiene relief packs and medical supplies to hospitals as well as NGOs and affected groups nationwide.

Unilever’s VP for Communications in Southeast Asia, Ed Sunico said, “Building trust across communities and consumers is a way to move forward from the challenging situation that we’re all facing right now.”