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Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Dentsu Malaysia wins digital transformation mandate for QSR Brands’ KFC, Pizza Hut

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Dentsu Malaysia has won the digital transformation mandate for Malaysia’s retail food company QSR Brands, becoming the key partner on the company’s transformational journey for KFC and Pizza Hut. 

As part of the mandate, Dentsu Malaysia will be the partner of KFC and Pizza Hut in becoming a true data-first organisation, and future proof business verticals across marketing, operations, and supply chain. The brands have been in the phase of transformation and will go through a data-driven acceleration to improve business efficiencies.

Dheeraj Raina, CEO of Dentsu Media in Malaysia, shared that QSR has set a bold vision for their KFC and Pizza Hut businesses, and the agency shares this vision with them and believes that these brands have a big potential of becoming data companies. 

“For the next 18 months, we will be working with the marketing, data and business teams of KFC and Pizza hut in unlocking the real consumer value with the use of media tech, data and marketing technology. We are bringing the best minds across our service lines together to co-create this powerful and rewarding future with QSR,” said Raina.

Meanwhile, Nehchal Khanna, CEO of QSR Brands (KFC & Pizza Hut) for Malaysia, Singapore, Cambodia, and Brunei, noted that over the last two years, significant digital investments have been made to provide better digital customer experience and restaurant operations efficiencies and to pivot their business to digital sales because of the changing consumer landscape. 

“We are now ready to realise our bold vision of becoming the number one food technology business in ASEAN, and as part of that aspiration, we are embarking upon this journey with our partners at Dentsu who have gone through a rigorous process of evaluation and selection for this role,” said Khanna.

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Main Feature Marketing Partners APAC

Marketing heads in APAC come together for a webinar to discuss social advertising in 2022

Singapore – Held on April 6, 2022, MARKETECH APAC, in partnership with Smartly.io, roped in top APAC marketing leaders to discuss and uncover the present key opportunities and challenges in social advertising today in the webinar ‘Social Advertising Trends in APAC 2022’

Stewart Hunter, the director for customer success of Smartly.io for APAC, presented the key trends in social advertising which included the different platforms where marketers are currently investing their social media advertising spend, and other platforms they are looking to increase spending, as well as the biggest external and internal challenges for marketers when it comes to the social advertising process. 

Most importantly, Hunter talked about the rise of multiplatform advertising – how such a strategy is becoming imperative as brands need to meet where their consumers are, who are now on various platforms. 

Meanwhile, joining the panel discussion are David Lim, the vice president for marketing at HappyFresh; May Ling Chan, the CMO of KFC Malaysia; and Jappy Posadas, the U-Studio lead of Unilever Indonesia. The said marketing leaders shared what each of their unique challenges are in social advertising and the strategies they employ to make sure they keep winning in the space. 

HappyFresh’s Lim shared about pain points and key solutions being in the grocery space, while KFC’s Chan discussed how a local brand anchored to a global branding is managing the social advertising process to be relevant in a region. Meanwhile, Unilever’s Posadas shared his expert insights on branding and the key ingredients that would make up an ‘unmissable’ social advertising strategy. 

Overall, there were a total of 169 marketing professionals who graced the webinar, with the majority of marketers representing the retail & e-commerce industry, followed by financial services and travel & hospitality. Participants included brands like Affin Bank, AirAsia, Fave, Four Points by Sheraton, Hong Leong Bank, Lamudi, Shopee, SM Retail, Sun Life, and Traveloka, among others. 

Meanwhile, region-wise, the webinar was attended by marketers representing a diverse set of markets, with attendees hailing from the Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand. 

“Social media has become more than just what it was made originally for. We now do everything on this platform, and this industry discussion is important to have us pulled back and see how brands can continue their social advertising efforts that would truly resonate with and reach where consumers are,” said Shaina Teope, the regional editor of MARKETECH APAC.

Meanwhile, Khush Karai, APAC marketing lead of Smartly.io, commented, “Partnering up with MARKETECH APAC for this webinar was a pleasant experience and the overall process was smooth. The team also delivered regular updates and tracking leading up to the webinar date as they promised.”

On-demand access to the webinar is now available. Get your access HERE.

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Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

KFC SG pledges to make mornings ‘unboring’ with breakfast-centric campaign

Singapore – Fast-food chain KFC in Singapore has launched its revamped breakfast campaign called ‘#UnboringMorning’, in part of the relaunch of KFC’s signature Original Recipe breakfast menu.

The fast-food chain has been serving breakfast across its local chains with a range of breakfast items on its morning menu, each one putting the Original Recipe chicken front and centre.

“In recognition of breakfast being one of the most important meals of the day, along with the growing potential of the morning dining segment in Singapore, KFC Singapore is determined to elevate breakfast into an exciting mealtime that Singaporeans look forward to – be it during their busy work days or on the weekend with family. If you have that KFC crave, why wait till lunch?” the fast-food chain said in a press statement.

For this campaign, KFC Singapore has announced that it will be spending on ads for this campaign four times than their previous, which is expected to achieve a 40% increase in breakfast sales over the next 3 years.

Part of the campaign roll-out is marked with a convoy of KFC-branded sidecars making their way through the rush hour traffic to KFC Singapore’s Kallang restaurant. Upon arrival, a troupe of jubilant dancers, clad in KFC’s signature striped uniform, served a selection of signature Original Recipe breakfast dishes to an upbeat playlist curated to dispel Monday morning blues, available on a curated Spotify playlist.

Lynette Lee, general manager of KFC Singapore, said, “The KFC Singapore breakfast items refresh, and marketing push, are strategic business decisions to drive increased revenue in the A.M. slot. We know that Singaporeans simply love our fresh chicken and Original Recipe flavour, and we encourage them to satisfy their cravings by experiencing #UnboringMornings with KFC Singapore.”

As part of the #UnboringMorning campaign, KFC Singapore has also launched a series of deals, and will be launching a social media competition, which will see 5 lucky commuters win a ride to work in a sidecar.

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Main Feature Marketing Partners APAC

APAC roundtable gathers region’s marketing leaders, discuss current state of consumer acquisition & retention amid pandemic

We know that the consumer is ever-changing but the fluidity of their behavior has taken an entirely different meaning this pandemic – with unprecedented changes that unfolded such as the constraint on physical interactions and the economic plunge of markets, this completely overhauled how brands and businesses engaged with their target consumers. 

Last September 21, MARKETECH APAC, in partnership with CleverTap, gathered marketing leaders from all over the APAC region representing different industries, for the roundtable “Business Growth Levers from Acquisition to Retention” to discuss how the pandemic has shaken brands’ current playbook on consumer acquisition and retention strategies. 

Growth and marketing heads from the edtech, grocery, TV, airline, fitness, fintech, fast food, and publication sectors each shared their unique challenges and how their teams adapted to emerging brand new cohorts, shifting priorities among consumers, with new desires and motivations at the front. 

Watch live the highlights of the roundtable and hear straight from APAC’s marketing heads the notable changes this pandemic on consumer acquisition and retention.

The rise of new consumer segments amid the pandemic

The areas of educational platform, publication, and fitness witnessed the arrival of new consumer personas borne out of the heightened digital lifestyle. 

Marisha Lakhiani, CMO of Mindvalley, a learning platform for self-help and entrepreneurship, shared that during the period, the platform suddenly attracted younger users, a group it didn’t predominantly draw in before. 

Meanwhile, for global fitness brand Les Mills International, it found that its main fitness consumer now favors a split between in-gym and home digital workouts.

“The consumer’s new normal is 60:40 in terms of live and digital fitness; so if they’re doing 5 workouts in a week, 3 of them they want to do it in a club, in a live environment, and 2 they want to do as a digital workout,” shared Anna Henwood, CMO of Les Mills International. 

As for publications, Philippines’ Summit Media saw these changes most evidently on how consumers shifted their patterns in finding and consuming content. Specifically for its parenting brand, Smart Parenting, Facebook used to be its biggest acquisition channel, but over the current period, the channel has not been giving the volatility that’s expected, according to its Growth Lead Iza Santos-Cuyos.

During the roundtable, David Lim, the vice president for marketing of grocery platform HappyFresh, pointed out that whatever strategies that may have served marketing teams pre-pandemic can now be officially considered bygones.

“As a marketer, whatever we have learned in textbooks, on websites, [and] on webinars can be forgotten in the past 18 months…because if you just look at acquisition, everything has changed,” said Lim. 

Lim adds, “I think when it comes to the topic of acquisition, everything has to be extremely localized. We have to look at each market on its own, we have to look at each cohort on its own, and then link it back to how they retain, how they come back month after month in a very granular [manner], much more granular than before.” 

For acquiring consumers, improving SEO and search strategies have been the common thread, while forging strategic partnerships showed itself to be the redeeming factor among marketing teams to both acquire and retain consumers in the current market climate. At the roundtable, marketing leaders also emphasized the importance of first-party data.

For Mindvalley and Summit Media, it has been the same go-to response – focusing and investing more in search and SEO. 

“We identified the customers that we are actually retaining and try to acquire them, so like micro-acquiring a particular audience,” said Mindvalley’s Marisha Lakhiani. 

Summit Media’s Iza Santos-Cuyos shared that as they bolster their search strategies, the publication realized that it is in fact attracting a different set of cohorts on search versus those coming from Facebook, bringing them to conclude that they cannot now discount Facebook altogether while focusing on search.

“What we learned from doing that is to devise a separate strategy for audiences acquired on Facebook versus those acquired on search,” said Santos-Cuyos. 

Brands forming strategic partnerships to cushion drastic market changes

The fast-food industry took one of the biggest hits during the pandemic, with the phased-out in-person interactions blowing the footfall for dine-in. 

In the roundtable, KFC Malaysia’s CMO May Ling Chan shared that partnering with food delivery platforms acted as a safety net, where within the e-commerce scene, the QSR sector has not been the fastest in adoption. 

“I think what happened during the pandemic was [the] growth of food aggregators. For us, I think that’s the biggest part of acquisition that we see,” said Chan. 

Online food delivery has seen an unprecedented rise in adoption by both brands and consumers. According to a report by Statista, in Asia, revenue in the online food delivery segment has been projected to reach US$223,372m this year. 

Singapore’s supermarket chain NTUC FairPrice echoes the same gameplan, where its convenience store Cheers inked a tie-up with top delivery platforms GrabFood and foodpanda in order to answer to the surge in need for on-demand and fast delivery of food products. 

Vivek Kumar, NTUC FairPrice Group’s director for strategic marketing & omnichannel monetization, cited ‘Supper moments’ which Cheers aimed to create through the partnership, where consumers can not only see product offerings in a snap but to “go ahead” and complete their transaction in real-time.

“Supper moments on food delivery platforms is quite a unique opportunity. [When] restaurants are closed and you [still] want your beer and your nachos and your croissants, and stuff like that, this is the place to go to.” Kumar said.

He adds, “We can’t wait for the customers to come to us. We can create the right occasion [as long as] we understand the customer’s needs. We must give them very friction-free shopping experiences where they can complete their mission – you can’t leave it midway.”

The fast-changing consumer patterns pressing the importance of first-party data

Global cross-border payments platform OFX was also one of the brands that participated in the roundtable and its Global Head of Digital Acquisition Shad Haehae shared that as the pandemic pushed the stronger need for brands to know their customers a lot more, this made the platform re-evaluate the quality of data it obtains.

“We’re a money business, and people send money for particular reasons, so those reasons have changed,” said Haehae. 

OFX previously relied on third-party data for insights, but Haehae shares that as a business, OFX figured that it needed to be smarter on this front.

“We adopted new partnerships, new types of technologies [not just] from [a] martech [and] adtech perspective, even from a data perspective. We’ve done a lot of consolidation on platforms and data.” 

The same is the case for TV and radio operator giant, Astro, in Malaysia. 

“So it’s a balance between providing value to the customers to [keep] them from churning [and] aggregating our first-party data with social data, and with data that we have in the network to go after customers a lot more aggressively than we have in the past,” said Norsiah Juriani Johari, Astro’s vice president of marketing. 

For Les Mills International, they eventually leveraged first-party data which it successfully included in its marketing strategy because of the direct-to-consumer journey it now has via its own fitness app. Predominantly, its consumer was a gym member which Henwood admits the brand had no prior visible data of as well as on how its products looked like. 

With digital fitness now ingrained in people’s exercise routines, Henwood shared that content has become its differentiator, which is what makes “people stay.”

“So how we film our content [in] the lockdown, how we do that more and more so it’s really engaging with the customer, and how we [connect with] different personalities through [our] content – that’s been a big part of our retention strategy,” Henwood shares. 

For Cebu Pacific Air, meanwhile, one of the Philippines’ leading airlines, answering to pandemic-induced shifts meant working inward and letting the team adapt to new ways of implementing marketing strategies. 

Alongside relying on new consumer segments during this period, Michelle De Guzman, the airline’s marketing director, said, “Even the ways of working that we have as a marketing team, it has changed as well when it comes to user acquisition and retention.”

She shares, “We have also developed agile marketing sprints – and that was not something that was done before, but [has become] very important on what we do now.” 

Consumer acquisition & retention in 2022 and beyond

While overcoming each of the hurdles in their industries, marketing leaders agree that staying on top of the game is all about being continuously aligned to the shifts – from the minute to the massive transitions – in consumer and market behavior. 

HappyFresh’s David Lim believes that we cannot apply the same methods of acquisition anymore, and in 2022, one of the beliefs and assumptions that their team has is things would not be the same as pre-covid.

“Every country has [its] own announcement, every country has [its] own waves of covid with different government announcements. I think when it comes to the topic of acquisition, everything has to be extremely localized,” said Lim. 

Building trust among consumers also remains a vital factor in the consumer engagement journey, says Katherine Cheung, CMO of edtech Snapask. 

“One key factor that we have in Snapask on user retention and how to retain customers to our platform is of course by building trust. We have to bear in mind that since the pandemic, people have so much more free time, as most of the regions are still experiencing lockdown and they are not allowed to go out from time to time. We have to bear in mind that users have so much more time to invest in your product,” Cheung said.

FairPrice’s Vivek Kumar’s advice to leaders, “As a marketing leader, we need to create that vision and then keep people involved in the journey, so that becomes their objective and their mission and not just [acting according to] marketing teams’ wishlist – the moment that silo happens, we have lost the battle.”

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Main Feature Marketing APAC

MARKETECH APAC’s Top 5 Stories for July: Asian food delivery’s new offering bags top spot

For the month of July, the Southeast Asia region once again snitches the spotlight with stories ranging from K-pop research, a fast-food chain’s case study, to an app that aims to cater to a country’s long-standing culture in trading. 

This period, we see a very interesting study that has put an official percentage of how much a brand can benefit from web searches upon roping in K-pop group BTS as an endorser. Food delivery is also a highlight this month, with a leading food delivery platform in Asia launching a new offer, and a fast-food brand in Malaysia releasing its case study on a successful 2020 campaign that helped save its delivery business in the face of home cooking-loving consumers. 

In the Philippines, we see a live-streaming platform unveiling an ex-Gojek exec as one of its new heads, and from the same country as well as a top story on a commerce enabler that aims to bring digitization to a traditional type of minimart that has been around in the country for years. 

With rankings based on Google Analytics for the period of 16th June to 15th July, here are the brands that had you turning with a second look.

Top 5: BTS ambassadorships can boost brand searches by up to 50%, iPrice study shows

Celebrities have undoubtedly been the primary faces of brands, and the new wave of K-pop groups and personalities have just turned to be the novel key to impactfully lift their awareness among consumers. In particular, global superstars BTS; In their multiple stints as global and regional ambassadors, it is no wonder how the latest data from e-commerce aggregator iPrice shows the sheer impact BTS can have on brands when tapping the group as their brand ambassadors.

According to their data, search results for brands can jump up to 50% after signing on BTS as their ambassador, which has long been evident across brands three years ago when the prominence of K-pop brand ambassadors started to materialize.

Speaking to MARKETECH APAC, Isabelle Romualdez, senior content marketing executive at iPrice stated that such affiliation can drive up web traffic of the websites of these brands, which can eventually help drive up their sales online. 

She also added that ‘BTS’ influence is so strong that they create a lot of ‘noise’ on social media.’

Citing the campaign for global fast-food chain McDonald’s, for instance, she notes that in Vietnam, the fast-food chain was able to sell 10,000 BTS Meals in one day, and that in the Philippines, they were able to sell 3.5 million pieces of chicken nuggets on the day of the launch.

The best possible outcome for brands which I think is also how BTS affects them is that their partnership [with them] can increase their sales. BTS fans are really devoted, they really spend on their merch. They spend around US$1,400 for their merch, tickets, and other things. And so for them to line up and spend for a special meal or product, it’s really no big deal for them.

Asked about what smaller brands can do who might not be able to afford to partner K-pop personalities, she states this:

“One of the challenges for these smaller brands is that they can’t afford big brand ambassadors, so they have this responsibility to be creative with their campaigns but they can still achieve as much success if they create creative campaigns. Another way is to create content that interests the K-pop fanbase, [such as] talking about their behavior.”

Top 4: Former Gojek growth leader Crystal Widjaja joins kumu as new chief product officer

Filipino live-streaming platform, kumu, has appointed the former chief of staff and senior vice president of growth at Indonesia’s Gojek, Crystal Widjaja, to now assume the role of chief product officer.

MARKETECH APAC conversed with Widjaja to know more about what kumu products she is looking to develop and prioritize.

“We need to start building out products that really do unlock experiences, better than online and offline experiences,” said Widjaja in the interview.

Widjaja shared that the platform will be developing its creator base, building out the best creator tools so that content creators can host game shows, create amazing vlogs, and have fun, among others.

“I think what’s really important is to actually build an enablement platform, where people who want to be a community builder and to engage one another have the tools and [apps] to do that,” she said.

The core of kumu is beyond just a social network for content creators. It really is a social participatory network, and that means we are highly engaging and we allow users to reward one another.

Widjaja will be leveraging her extensive experience in helping startups with growth, data, and strategy, as well as bolstering the platform’s overall product strategy. 

In the same interview, Widjaja bared that building kumu has always been about creating opportunities for people to create their small social spaces and a safe environment, one where they can be themselves with people they admire.

Top 3: KFC turned every Malaysian Kitchen into a KEPCI Kitchen

At the start of the Covid in 2020, fast food brand KFC in Malaysia was faced with a dilemma – how does it maintain its delivery business, when consumers, even despite its initial surge, had easily grown tired of ordering take-out? In trying to find a solution, KFC soon found it was not other QSR brands that were the enemy, but the newfound love of home cooking. 

In partnership with digital creative agency Reprise, KFC released the campaign KEPCI Kitchen based on this insight, and turned the present trend in their favor – building the excitement of Malaysians to repurpose KFC items in their personal recipes, and therefore, turning their kitchen into a KEPCI kitchen. 

Due to a highly engaging integrated campaign which included a dedicated ‘KFC’ cookbook, consistent recipe sharing on Instagram, and also a sponsored cooking show, the campaign soon achieved its target and even more. 

In an exclusive chat with KFC Malaysia’s CEO Chan May Ling and Reprise’s Creative Director Eddy Nazarullah, the two both chalked it up to great teamwork and relationship between the brand and agency. 

“I think the lovely thing about this case study, I think, is the client-agency partnership, and how fast the team reacted because nobody knew how to react during a lockdown,” Chan said.

“[We’re] very close to our agency partner to uncover the insight and to have a common agreement on how we want to build the brand, and how we want to engage, and I think that’s very important in a relationship; and that’s how it sparked,” she added.

I think what’s key is the collaboration between KFC and [Reprise]. It’s the agency and client relationship that’s definitely made this happen. For us to achieve this, it’s definitely something we can’t do alone, and we definitely need the support from the team.

Nazarullah echoing Chan’s statement

Top 2: PH commerce enabler GrowSari secures US$30m funding for operation expansion

Philippine-borne business-to-business commerce enabler GrowSari has announced that the company has secured more than US$30m in funding from various companies and venture capitals, which include Gokongwei-led listed Philippine retailer Robinsons Retail Holdings Inc. (RRHI) and JG Digital Equity Ventures, as well as Wavemaker Partners.

Other funding participants include Pavilion Capital, Tencent, Saison Capital, ICCP SBI Venture Partners, and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) which is a member of the World Bank Group.

For GrowSari, said funding will help fuel the company’s vision of tapping into sari-sari stores, the Filipino version of neighborhood mom-and-pop stores, which according to GrowSari, has the potential to be the biggest and most accessible distribution channel in the Philippines through driving efficiencies in route planning while collecting valuable insights on store behavior.

In an interview with MARKETECH APAC, Maimai Punzalan, chief marketing officer at GrowSari stated aside from creating more offerings and establishing bigger suppliers and market supply for their clients, they envision expanding from their current 50,000 store base across 100 municipalities in mainland Luzon to around 300,000 store bases in the next two years.

She also added that as they started GrowSari in the first place, there were two things that they needed to address in order to aid these sari-sari store owners: access to affordable goods and assortment of goods, ranging from dry goods to basic necessities. Such aspirations stem from the company’s observation of the current status quo of these local neighborhood stores in the country.

We recognize that the sari-sari store segment is such, maybe an underserved channel for the Philippines, despite it’s serving [about] 84% of Filipinos [who] would shop in a sari-sari store, and it makes it relevant for all of the Filipinos out there. There are about 1 million sari-sari stores spread across the archipelago. I think what’s tough for them though is despite being so important to the lives of the Filipino people, they’re barely making enough really to keep running their business.

GrowSari outfits Philippine sari-sari store owners with inventory, infrastructure, and tools to manage and grow their business while generating crucial data and market insights for manufacturers and distributors.

Top 1: foodpanda ties up with Unilever to now deliver on-demand ice cream products

For our top story for the month, we have the leading food delivery platform in Asia, foodpanda, and its recent partnership with Unilever. The digital change for all economies continues to accelerate, especially now that new consumers migrate online for shopping due to the pandemic, and with this, quick-commerce – the super fast delivery of anything to customers in under one hour or often much faster – is becoming the standard of service.

Unilever and foodpanda’s team-up is aimed at offering 24/7 on-demand ice cream deliveries through foodpanda shops and pandamart – foodpanda’s cloud grocery network. This move targets to reach a wider customer base via foodpanda’s q-commerce across Asia, including Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand, as well as Pakistan, and the Philippines.

Speaking to MARKETECH APAC, Abhishek Sahay, foodpanda’s senior director of new business, said, “We did find speed as one of the customer insights that [really] people want, and it wasn’t just food deliveries but in every aspect of life. They are becoming much more used to on-demand stuff.”

He adds that the intention behind q-commerce is to provide speed and choice for customers.

Aside from delivering a variety of ice cream, the partnership also includes new product launches, bundle deals, and promotional campaigns, as well as optimized digital advertising and customer engagement on the platform, such as strategic placements of digital banners on the platform, the creative use of in-app notifications, and campaigns on social media.

We are no longer just a food delivery company. We are expanding into new verticals. In terms of future plans, we definitely have a long way to go, specifically on quick commerce. And as we think of expansion, we have three different ways. One is we want more and more stores. Secondly, we think of new country expansion, launching in Japan, Cambodia, and Myanmar. And the third is category expansion,” said Sahay, regarding foodpanda’s future plans.

Watch our live interviews with the newsmakers themselves on the latest episode of MARKETECH APAC Reports, live on our YouTube channel.

This is in collaboration with Malaysia-based media company The Full Frontal.

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Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

KEPCI KITCHEN: How KFC turned every Malaysian kitchen into a KFC kitchen

The start of the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns brought Malaysians lives to a hold. Contained at home, Malaysians were cooking more at home and ordering less delivery. This posed a challenge to quick-service restaurants like KFC who had difficulty sustaining growth as a delivery brand. However, a new pandemic trend was fast on the rise, and that people were looking at their kitchens to provide them with a sense of fulfillment.

This is what Reprise, Mediabrands’ digital creative agency in Malaysia, realized. The pandemic was a chance to showcase culinary skills to friends and family and connect with the world outside. Reprise took the idea to fuel this creativity by offering KFC as an ingredient!

With KEPCI KITCHEN, Reprise turned Malaysian Kitchens into KFC Kitchens, built digital cookbooks, helped Instagram chefs display creativity, and in the process became much more popular as a delivery brand.

Malaysians asked, “How long can we keep ordering food on delivery?”

The initial Movement Control Order (MCO) saw all brands growing delivery sales, with KFC seeing an uplift of +49% in just one month. This peak soon plateaued as Malaysians asked themselves amid fears of job loss and uncertainty – how long can we keep ordering food on delivery?

The new enemy of QSR came in the form of home cooking! Malaysian households found themselves tightening their wallets and prioritizing essentials over delivery services. The country started seeing a gradual shift towards cheaper and healthier options with cooking at home. A study conducted at the end of March 2020 indicated that 62% of Malaysians said they were more inclined to cook at home.

The Challenge: How could KFC sustain business & delivery growth? KFC has a long-standing reputation as being a family brand. To sustain KFC’s growth via delivery, the fast-food chain had to make sure that its biggest fans – families – kept on ordering from them.

Our low-hanging fruit: Families. As a family brand, these were KFC’s natural audiences. Instead of cooking a meal for the entire family, KFC wanted to offer them a convenient and affordable option in KFC’s shareable buckets. However, along with sustaining momentum, the restaurant had to grow. For this, it needed to connect with the largest group of fast-food consumers in Malaysia.

Teens & Young Adults – the new territory for growth. This was the high-value market. They ordered more frequently, with a higher-order value per person. Reprise looked to see how KFC could drive offers on individual meals and cater to this audience, amid dominance from other QSR players.

The Objective: Getting a foot in the door to achieve 3 things

With the Campaign, KFC aims to achieve three things. Even amid the rising trend in home cooking, the brand’s objective is to make more people order KFC Delivery: to double the incidence and volume share of the delivery channel within its touchpoints within 3 months.

Second, it eyes to make KFC more popular in the delivery market by achieving two things: a.) growing the “Most Often Used Brand” by 50%, and b.) growing the “Brand Ever Used” by 50%.

Lastly, KFC wants teens & young adults to switch to KFC by increasing teens & young adults’ visitations for delivery by +10%.

One of the biggest challenges for KFC and Reprise is how could the KFC brand simultaneously connect with two separate audiences – its stronghold of families and the avenue for growth with teens/ young adults. Reprise realized that it could not convince such a large segment to change their minds, nor take on a mammoth enemy like home cooking.

Campaign Strategy & Insights

An interesting trend Reprise observed was that social media shares were increasingly devoted to “Lockdown Cooking”. Globally, everyone was keen on showing their innovative results in kitchens – be it Dalgona coffee or sourdough bread. As millions of people were deprived of regular jobs, curbed with available activities, and a limited social life, they felt useless and non-productive. That is where the kitchen came in!

The Cultural Insight

A period of non-productivity had become a time for creativity. Kitchen Creativity was fueling a way for millions of people globally to feel productive, purposeful, and fulfilled. Amid this excitement to create, Reprise asked themelves: how could KFC contribute to this game of Kitchen Creativity?

Our strategy: Repurpose KFC’s product from a fully prepared meal to an INGREDIENT

KEPCI KITCHEN: Turning every Malaysian kitchen into a KFC kitchen

Campaign Execution

Reprise’s premise was simple: Encourage Malaysians to order KFC Delivery by showing them how to use their KFC favorites more creatively through simple and convenient recipes for the family, and menu hacks for teens & young adults.

Launch: Introducing the Kepci Kitchen Instagram stories cookbook

We kicked off the campaign with the launch of our first six recipes that catered directly to the different MCO personalities – For the lazy one-pot cooks all chef; For the enlightened health & fitness junkie; For the gamer, the Netflix binger; For the one that misses the mamak; For the one that misses the warung (simple suburban café); For the one that misses ‘atas’ (upmarket) western joints.

During the early stages of lockdown, local and international campaigns showed many similarities. We saw a growing trend of cooking at home and were inspired by menus that were crafted to fit into Instagram stories. Tapping into this trend, we kept the approach both natural and grounded. Malaysians are known to be great foodies and this campaign allowed them to unleash their creativity and connect with one another through these unprecedented times.

Amir Faiz, Group Creative Director, Reprise Digital

All recipes were uploaded onto the KFC Instagram account, and stored in our highlights bar to create a digital cookbook shelf where Malaysians could browse and screencap our recipes, just like a real cookbook. From the get-go, we ensured that all recipes were easy to make with accessible and simple ingredients (due to MCO restrictions) while also championing our core favorites.

A PDF of the compiled recipes, presented as a cookbook, was also hosted on the KFC website

Amplification: Self-made, self-taught Instagram chefs

Reprise and KFC worked with Instagram chefs & foodies to create a new set of recipes that were broken down into three categories: big eats (5-6 pax, family sharing), mid eats (2-3 pax), and individual eats. This was to ensure that our two key audience groups could relate to KFC’s diverse body of recipes, providing an endless stream of ideas to remix their KFC orders.

A selection of influencers was carefully selected to appeal to the audience. Each of their postings had a clear CTA to purchase products featured and promoted KFC’s free delivery code.

Reaching a wider audience on TV

To extend KFC’s reach to its core audience and align with the increase in TV viewership in April, KFC embarked on a four-episode sponsorship with the TV3 program “Dari Dapur Saya Ke Dapur Anda” (From my kitchen to yours). All episodes were also uploaded on TV3’s YouTube, Instagram and Facebook page which broadcasted the series to a collective base of 8 million social followers & subscribers. With the cooking show being led by a well-known local influencer Sharifah Shahirah cooking up Ramadan recipes.

Not only did KFC repurpose its product, but Reprise found an innovative way to ride on Malaysia’s desire to cook at home, creating new occasions and new ways of consuming KFC. Thus, Reprise found its strategy to combat Malaysia’s newfound desire for home meals!

The lockdown has shown us tremendous opportunities for brands in the digital space. At a time where life as we knew it came to a stop, it is definitely inspiring to showcase how nothing could stop creativity. It proves that an honest, down-to-earth creative solution can connect in such a meaningful way with Malaysians. The results were beyond our wildest expectations!

Eddy Nazarullah, Creative Director, Reprise Digital

Results & Achievements

Reprise and KFC’s crusade to turn every Malaysian kitchen into a Kepci Kitchen exceeded all expectations. For its first objective of making more people order KFC Delivery, it was able to overshoot its targets by a mile with KFC’s incidence growing 15x while volume share growing 11x.

It was also able to hit its second objective which is to Make KFC more popular in the delivery market. According to Reprise, results were beyond the team’s wildest expectations. “Brand ever used” grew by 65% while “Most often brand” grew by 80%.

Lastly, it was able to get teens & young adults to switch to KFC. Teens visitations increased by +19%, while KFC’s competitor dropped a staggering -76%. A similar trend was also observed among young adults which grew by +24% but dropped by -68% for KFC’s competitor.

Kepci Kitchen won the hearts, minds, and stomachs of families, foodies, millennials, and celebrities alike. We were amazed by the noise and how it drove results, and this is solid proof of the agility of the agency partners and KFC team working hand in hand to adapt to the challenging circumstances. Its proof that despite adversity, we’re still able to find gems of inspiration.

Chan May Ling, Chief Marketing Officer of KFC

The campaign period ran from 2 April – 2 June, 2020.

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Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

Pesta Game, MY’s first-ever ‘virtual sports day’, to be hosted by YouTube

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – The Malaysian arm of streaming platform giant YouTube is hosting the Pesta Game 2021, a first ‘Hari Sukan’ or sport’s day hosted within a virtual platform. 

The event is a direct inspiration from last year’s status of the online gaming community, as the YouTube gaming community has garnered over 100 billion watch time hours clocked across a whopping 40 million active gaming channels worldwide.

Players will come from Malaysia’s YouTube top content creators and with participation from the YouTube audience, and will be supported by partnerships with esports portal MyGameOn and video game entertainment site IGN Southeast Asia. The event will feature games, including puzzle game ‘Keep Talking, Nobody Explodes’, multiplayer royale games ‘Valorant’ and ‘PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG)’, and soccer video game FIFA 2021.

“Gaming has always been an important part of the Malaysian YouTube community, and there’s certainly no better time to game than the present. Pesta Game allows us to get together safely from the comfort of our homes and be immersively entertained by countless gaming live streams featuring Malaysia’s favorite Creators on YouTube across mobile devices, desktops, and connected TVs,” said Ben Jern, head of YouTube Malaysia.

The event also sees a partnership with fast-food chain KFC and with Samsung A51 | A71.

“We are thrilled to be part of an event that celebrates the community of e-sports talents we have in Malaysia, while supporting the importance of gaming as a sport. We are committed to making an awesome gaming experience accessible while ensuring seamless connectivity and performance through the Galaxy A series, and with events such as this, can meaningful innovation be realized,” Edward Han, president of Samsung Malaysia Electronics commented.

A spokesperson for KFC said, “KFC is excited to partner with Google for Malaysia’s 1st virtual ‘Hari Sukan’. As the nation’s favorite fried chicken, KFC is happy to level up Pesta Game with freshly made and delicious KFC – perfect for this innovative, vibrant and energetic event! With all the happenings around the country, Pesta Game presents a perfect outlet for YouTube creators and audience to have fun, enjoy great food, and simultaneously connect with each other virtually and safely.”

The Pesta Games will be livestreamed January 30th and 31st and in Bahasa Malaysia across some of Malaysia’s biggest YouTube channels, from Media Prima’s Drama Sangat, NTV7, TV3, and TV9 channels, to individual channels of creators participating in the games: Athisha Khan, Dumpling Soda, Fuzz Channel, Isaac Osman, Syedot ASMR, and Wiser MY.

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Marketing Featured East Asia

KFC and Pizza Hut launch plastic reduction initiatives in China

Shanghai, China – Restaurant company Yum China has announced the launch of a new plastic reduction initiative across its KFC and Pizza Hut branches in China, in response to new environmental regulations in the country.

The latest campaign is expected to reduce approximately 8,000 tons of non-degradable plastics annually starting from 2021, replacing traditional plastic packaging with paper straws, paper bags, and biodegradable plastic bags.

With KFC, the brand’s campaign under the initiative is launched as the “Be Natural, Be You” sustainability campaign, raising consumers’ awareness of environmental protection by encouraging sustainable practices. Beginning this year, KFC chains across China  will stop using plastic straws and over 90% of KFC restaurants will be replacing disposable plastic cutlery with wooden cutlery. By 2025, it is expected that all plastic packaging and cutlery will be phased out across KFC restaurants  in China.

Biodegradable Cutlery
(Left) KFC biodegradable packaging and cutlery, (Right) Pizza Hut biodegradable packaging and cutlery

Meanwhile, Pizza Hut has already phased out the use of plastic straws across their branches in the country by the end of 2020, while over 70% of Pizza Hut restaurants across the country have replaced existing plastic bags with paper bags or biodegradable plastic bags. By 2022, Pizza Hut will be phasing out the use of plastic bags in the branches in China.

“The new plastic reduction initiatives reinforce our sustainability strategy to drive meaningful change through packaging innovation and reduction. In line with our long-term commitment of supporting economic, social and environmental development, we are committed to working with customers, partners, and all other stakeholders to promote a more sustainable future,” said Joey Wat, CEO of Yum China

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Marketing Featured East Asia

Pizza Hut, KFC in HK launches co-op pizza with mobile game to boot

Hong Kong – The newest pizza from Pizza Hut in Hong Kong incorporates another fast food favorite: KFC’s chicken popcorn. Called the Chicken Popcorn Pizza, the new limited-edition item has launched today, which features Pizza Hut’s iconic crispy crust alongside classic gravy, and a generous serving of cheese, sweetcorn, and mushrooms.

To celebrate the partnership, the two brands have released another exciting engagement for its customers – a mobile game called the ‘Pizza Hut x KFC Kitchen,’ conceptualized together with Ogilvy Hong Kong. Emphasizing the partnership between the two brands, the game connects two phones and challenges two players to craft a ‘Pizza Hut x KFC Chicken Popcorn Pizza’ against the clock together, playing as the ‘Pizzatainer’ and ‘Colonel Sanders.’

Teamwork is the name of the game as players have to knead the dough, fry the chicken popcorn, and bake the pizza too. Completed tasks within the given time win players Pizza Hut and KFC coupons.

Wendy Leung, marketing director at Pizza Hut Hong Kong said, “The Pizza Hut x KFC Chicken Popcorn pizza brings the best of both worlds together. This mobile game based on teamwork is a great way to engage with our fans and consumers while also increasing awareness of our brand and food innovation credentials.”

Meanwhile, Executive Creative Director at Ogilvy John Koay said the collaboration between the two brands is a dream come true. 

“That’s why we were excited to create the Pizza Hut x KFC Kitchen, a fun two-player game for fans to create this epic pizza with a friend and unlock tasty rewards too.”