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Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Monde Nissin loses US$340m in market value following Lucky Me recalls

Manila, Philippines – Following the latest recalls of ‘Lucky Me’ noodle products in the European countries of France, Ireland and Malta, Philippine food and beverages company Monde Nissin has lost around US$340m in market value, according to Bloomberg.

Monde Nissin closed at PHP13.36 per share yesterday, marking a 10% dip since the stock went public in March 2021.

According to said European countries, several of ‘Lucky Me’ products contained high levels of ethylene oxide, a chemical compound which has been banned in Europe in 1991 as a pesticide and in 2011 as an output product in food and feed production.

Monde Nissin released a statement yesterday stating that ethylene oxide is not added in their products but rather used as a treatment in seeds and spices used in ingredients.

“Rest assured that all Lucky Me products are Philippine FDA-registered and comply with local food safety standards and even the US FDA standards for ethylene oxide,” the company stated.

Following the issue, netizen sentiment regarding ‘Lucky Me’ brands have shifted to a negative tone, with many commenting Monde Nissin’s lack of quality assurance of their products. This is after the company admitting that trace amounts of ethylene oxide may still be found in their products.

“Sad to say that every country has its own different high standards in regards with food safety measures. ‘Lucky Me’ should follow the standard food safety in other countries to retain its trust and confidence for safe human consumption for their products,” a netizen named Roy Tanquilan said.

Another netizen by the name of Edgard Andrew Hernandez said, “Even at manufacturing and testing where you can see high ethylene oxide levels on Lucky Me brands, [and] you still chose to sell it to the consumers. I think there’s something wrong with it.”

However, there are a few netizens that still support the brand, with some saying the noodle brands have been consumed by students while on a budget. Some netizens have even shared their own recipes involving ‘Lucky Me’ products.

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Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

‘Lucky Me’ noodle brand banned in several European countries 

Manila, Philippines – Lucky Me, a line of noodle brands in the Philippines under the Monde Nissin corporation, has been recently banned in the European countries namely France, Ireland, and Malta due to the presence of a pesticide compound in said products.

According to multiple reports, the said batch of noodles contain ethylene oxide, a hazardous carcinogenic gas that has been reported to cause headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, among others. Said batches were reportedly manufactured in Thailand, with an expiration date of July 20, 2022.

In a statement published by Malta’s Environmental Health Directorate, the ‘Lucky Me’ brands that are banned include ‘Pancit Canton Original Flavour’, ‘Pancit Canton Hot Chilli Flavour’, ‘Lucky Me Instant Noodle Soup Beef Flavour’, ‘Pancit Canton Kalamansi Flavour’, and ‘Pancit Canton Chilimansi Flavour’. The report noted that these noodle batches have high levels of ethylene oxide.

Meanwhile, Ireland’s Food Safety Authority published a statement of the recall of only the ‘Pancit Canton Original Flavour’ brand, saying that “although the consumption of the contaminated product does not pose an acute risk to health, there may be health issues if there is continued consumption of ethylene oxide over a long period of time”.

Lastly, France’s Rappel Conso noted the ban of flavours ‘Pancit Canton Original Flavour’, ‘Pancit Canton Hot Chilli Flavour’, ‘Lucky Me Instant Noodle Soup Beef Flavour’, ‘Pancit Canton Kalamansi Flavour’, and ‘Pancit Canton Chilimansi Flavour’ in their recent statement.

Ethylene oxide, aside from its pesticide use, has been used as a sterilising agent as well as in the production of other chemicals such as antifreeze. The chemical has been banned in the European Union since 1991 as a pesticide and since 2011 as an output product in food and feed production.

This was not the first time ‘Lucky Me’ has been banned for containing hazardous chemicals in their food products. Recently, Taiwanese authorities have seized ‘Lucky Me Curly Spaghetti’ products, alongside Indonesia’s Mie Sedaap cup noodles, for the same pesticide residue.

Following the health advisories released by said countries, Lucky Me published a statement on their Facebook page, noting that ethylene oxide is not added in their products but rather used as a treatment in seeds and spices used in ingredients. Once they are processed alongside seasonings and sauces, trace amounts of said compound are still left.

“Rest assured that all Lucky Me products are Philippine FDA-registered and comply with local food safety standards and even the US FDA standards for ethylene oxide,” the company stated.

This article has been updated.

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Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

First-ever YouTube Works Awards in PH unveils winners

Manila, Philippines – Taking bold and creative risks pays off: this is one of the main mantras evident in the first-ever YouTube Works Awards in the Philippines, as it awarded the brand content, campaigns, and channels that stood out in effectiveness and creativity in 2020. 

The YouTube Works Awards are a staple instreaming platform YouTube which celebrates and champions the brilliant minds behind producing the most innovative and effective campaigns on the platform in the past year. This year, the awards finally landed in the Philippines, done in partnership with market research firm Kantar.

Despite being a year fraught with challenges, brands in the Philippines set the bar high on effectively using YouTube to deliver results and tell stories that resonate with local audiences. 

“As the pandemic changed life as we know it, the way we tell brand stories and engage audiences evolved too. YouTube Works Awards saw that despite the restrictions in creative production and reaching consumers, brands in the Philippines rose above the challenge and expanded the possibilities with YouTube to effectively drive results and tell stories that resonate with Filipinos,” said Gabby Roxas, head of marketing at Google Philippines.

This year’s top award went to local soft drink brand RC Cola, whose ‘Basta’ campaign made by independent creative agency GIGIL, was lauded for being brave enough to take creative risks and in making effective use of Gen Z’s surrealist humor. To date, the video has more than seven million views on YouTube.

For Roxas, RC Cola’s bizarre story of a family who served up the message of the value of embracing and enjoying one’s differences is consistent with the campaign’s approach: the pursuit to unapologetically stand out in a sea of formulaic content to achieve marketing and business objectives.

Meanwhile, Leigh Reyes, chair emeritus and product officer at MullenLowe TREYNA, and jury head at YouTube Works, commented, “At a tumultuous time when it would normally be considered unconventional to experiment, bravery in exploring the bold and the new pays off. advertising approach, tapping into absurdism to cut through repetitive and mundane lockdown content.”

Meanwhile, local telco Talk N’ Text or TNT won the ‘Best Multi-Video Storytelling’ award for their ‘Free Games for All’ series, which capitalized on Filipinos’ love for gaming mixed with hugot lines or heart-pulling one-liners to tell the story of four friends bonding over online games via a triad of spots. Driving a 165% increase in revenue versus the previous year, the campaign proved that YouTube viewers keep coming back for episodic content especially if it offers a compelling narrative.

For the ‘Best Brand Channel’ category, local beer brand Red Horse won the award, whose YouTube channel looked beyond product marketing to create content that its target market would watch and engage with especially over a bottle of beer: online concerts, variety show sketches, and entertainment-led videos. This then led the channel to see a growth in subscribers, from 26,000 in October 2019 to 54,000 in 2020, garnering 3.4 million views last year in total. The channel continues to grow, with a subscriber base that now stands at more than 87,000. 

Meanwhile, instant noodle brand Lucky Me! Pancit Canton won a ‘Best Collaboration’ award for its work alongside social media influencer Mimiyuuuh for the campaign ‘Pinakahihintay NaThin’, which puts a light-hearted spin for the brand’s comeback to its original thin noodles in production. With this, Lucky Me! saw a lift in purchase intent and brand favor, achieving a view-through rate (VTR) of 18%, higher than campaigns without creator collaborations. 

YouTube Works Awards also featured two heartfelt campaigns that show how brands with purpose can drive impact in times of uncertainty.

First on the list is consumer goods conglomerate Procter & Gamble, whose heart-warming campaign on the real, raw sacrifices of our frontliners while being away from their families to care for the sick won the brand a ‘Force For Good’ award.

Meanwhile, Globe Telecom’s ‘A Star Wars Experience For All’ campaign won the ‘Best Long Form Storytelling’ award for its heartwarming story about two young boys who created a special viewing experience for their deaf friend. The campaign shows the importance of inclusivity by representing and uplifting persons with accessibility challenges.

Gary de Ocampo, chief executive officer for insights division at Kantar Philippines, congratulated all the winners of YouTube Works, adding that their campaigns are truly inspiring and speak volumes about the future of advertising in the Philippines. He also noted that from taking bold, creative risks to playing meaningful roles amid the pandemic, the brands listed in the awards have effectively harnessed insights and stories to use YouTube in driving desired results.

“While there were many great campaigns this year, the Best Personalization award went unclaimed, nonetheless. This brings an opportunity for brands and agencies to challenge themselves further about contextual targeting and fully unlock this potential. I’m excited to see how they will take this challenge to bag the award next year,” de Ocampo concluded.