By August every year, major Southeast Asian e-commerce platforms are already preparing the battle for their 9.9 sale campaign . Getting the right brand ambassador is so important for this mega 9.9 campaign. It is a great opportunity to assert marketing capabilities, brand influence, and of course – attracts a lot of attention.
For regional platforms like Lazada and Shopee, this is even more important – as the choice of brand ambassadors can often affect their brand image.
On Tuesday, a Momentum Works community member shared a Shopee’s warm-up video, which raised a heated discussion in the group about who would be the brand ambassador this year for Shopee 9.9 campaign.
We thought it would be timely to review these two platforms’ past brand ambassadors during these mega campaigns.
Lazada prefers Korean Superstars
In 2020, Lazada announced Korean actor Lee Minho as regional brand ambassador for the 11.11 and 12.12 campaigns.
From the perspective of view counts, Korean superstars are very influential. Lee Minho’s promotional videos of shopping festivals on Lazada’s official YouTube channels in Vietnam and the Philippines have been viewed more than ten million times. It also confirms the influence of the Korean Wave in the Southeast Asian markets.
Aside from Korean influencers, Lazada also prefers local influencers with global outreach.
Lazada also invited Agnez Mo, an Indonesian singer/ songwriter/ actress with more than 25 million Instagram followers to stand next to Lee Minho in 2020. She was nominated to be Lazada Indonesian and regional brand ambassador.
A few days ago, Lazada unveiled their 2021’s 9.9 brand ambassador – Hyun Bin. Hyun Bin gained great popularity in Southeast Asia and China last year in the South Korean drama Crash Landing on You. He is now a cultural and international phenomenon, and has endorsed luxury products such as Omega, BMW, Tom Ford – and now, Lazada.
Here is the Lazada promotional video.
From the perspective of Southeast Asia market audiences, having Korean celebrities as brand ambassadors make sense. Korean pop culture’s is popular in all Southeast Asia countries, fueled even more last year when we were all stuck at home watching Netflix.
In one of our upcoming MW report, we compared consumers preference in Southeast Asian countries and found that Crash Landing of Love was one of the top most popular entertainment searches in Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines.
In particular, the Korean wave mania is more striking in Indonesia, Vietnam and the Phillipines.
In fact, in these markets, if someone likes a particular star, they will be very inclined to buy whatever these stars are endorsing.
So, it is no surprise that Lazada’s brand image in these countries improved significantly due to the Korean celebrity effect over the last few years.
The ROI from the Korean effect must be quite high. Tokopedia and McDonalds, has also jumped on the Korean wave bandwagon, and have engaged Korean megastars such as BTS and Blackpink to be their brand ambassadors.
An interesting fact is that Shopee also had Blackpink as their brand ambassadors in 2018/19, but it caused a heated discussion in the Southeast Asian venture capital (and perhaps Shopee’s internal) circles for being too expensive and not in line with local norms.
In 2019, Shopee Indonesia hired local comedian, Didi Kempot, to copy Tokopedia BTS advertisement. The marketing campaign was cheeky as it was successful – and it went Viral. Didi Kempot, unfortunately, passed away last year.
Shopee focuses on consistency and diversity
Since the Blackpink and Didi Dempot experiences, Shopee’s selection of brand ambassadors has been consistent- diverse and down to earth.
Shopee developed an earworm song – ripped off from Baby Shark. In 2017, they engaged a President Jokowi lookalike to dance to the promotional video. That went viral, and the actor is now a typecast actor.
In 2019, Shopee repeated the promotion with football superstar Cristiano Ronaldo. Some experts from the marketing and advertising industry thought that the video it was low class, but the majority of people seemed to enjoy watching the superstar and presidents dancing to this ridiculous dance!
In 2020 Shopee did it again. This time, they chose Phua Chu Kang (a.k.a Gurmit Singh), a household name that people in Singapore and Malaysia grew up with – to become the two countries’ brand ambassador. People here loved the video – it bought back memories, and even young children who didn’t grow up with the seires started to imitate the song!
Finally, today, Shopee revealed the legend mentioned above. Yes, Jackie Chan is to be Shopee’s 2021 brand ambassador for their 9.9 campaign. . The advertisement is still the same brainwashing melody, with some elements added- bamboo forest and Kung Fu.
Currently, this video has been released in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines. In Indonesia, Shopee invited invited a local Chinese film and television star- Joe Taslim to be their brand ambassador. The promotional video also incorporates the elements of Kung Fu
For the promotion strategies of these two platforms, I believe both mega platforms, Lazada and Shopee, have their own promotion strategies, target customers, preferences, and opinions.
In the Impulso community, many ladies prefer Hyun Bin and other Korean superstars. They feel that Hyun Bin is worth a few million free deliveries.
However, from a strategy perspective, compared to Lazada which is backed by Alibaba, Shopee seems to be learning the essence from Ma.