Lazada appoints new CMO, local brand ambassador chosen

Lazada has appointed local media personality Michelle Chong as its first local ambassador for the Singapore market. Well-known for her numerous online personas, the ambassadorship is said to tap on Chong’s versatility in personifying three of her alter egos that will aim to connect with various audience demographics. The characters (namely Ah Lian, Chiang Ying Wen and Sonia) will be featured in upcoming key campaigns in Singapore, starting with Lazada’s 9th birthday celebration on 27 March. The collaboration will span across seven months, culminating in Lazada's 9.9 Big Sale in September. The engagement activities that Chong will be involved in cover various touchpoints, including radio and television broadcast, outdoor media, social media platforms on Lazada Singapore and Chong’s own platforms, as well as Lazada’s leading livestreaming channel, LazLive.

In a conversation with MARKETING-INTERACTIVE, Wook Kwon, chief marketing officer of Lazada Singapore, said Chong will be pairing with Lee Min Ho, who was appointed as Lazada's regional ambassador last year, to "bring combined star power that is relatable to Singaporeans". The local ambassadorship with Chong also looks to celebrate her success as an artiste and entrepreneur, and to recognise her capabilities, Kwon added. Being one of the top comedic talents, and easily the most recognisable female comedic actress in Singapore, Lazada aims to use this collaboration to effectively reach the younger generation with a relatable sense of humour, and connect more with shoppers on LazMall and RedMart.

Kwon took on the role of chief marketing officer at Lazada Singapore in November 2020, according to his LinkedIn profile. This comes after Michelle Yip, Lazada's former EVP of marketing in SEA, exited the company to join DBS Bank. Prior to joining Lazada, he was with Levi Strauss as its regional head of eCommerce platform and user experience (APAC) for four years, his LinkedIn said. Kwon was also previously with eCommerce platform Qoo10 Singapore for over five years. He joined Qoo10 as head of UI/UX, product management, before moving on to the role of head of mobile business and business development, and eventually took on the role of head of marketing and operation. 

"Last year, when Lazada introduced Lee as our regional ambassador, all countries, aside from Singapore, appointed a local ambassador to star alongside him. We have been searching for the right fit to represent the diverse culture and colloquialism of the country, as well as a personality that fits with Lazada’s innovative spirit and branding, and Chong embodies everything we were looking for, and it became a natural choice for us," Kwon told MARKETING-INTERACTIVE. Lazada's current local ambassadors are Agnez Monika and Verrel Bramasta in Indonesia, Ayda Jebat in Malaysia, Kathryn Bernardo in the Philippines, Bella Ranee Campen in Thailand and Chi Pu in Vietnam. 

"Chong is an accomplished multi-hyphenate, known for her versatility and talent in transforming to different alter egos, all who are very relatable characters whom resonate well with various demographics in Singapore. She is also entrepreneurial, venturing into filmmaking and starting her own agency business and as Lazada believes in constantly innovating, Chong definitely embodies all that and fits well with our brand," Kwon said.

Chong is a familiar face in the local entertainment industry, serving as a producer, writer, director, actress as well as a local entrepreneur who is well known for her ability to create memorable TV characters such as Barbarella, Leticia and lulu in the local satirical comedy series, The Noose. She also created popular online personalities such as Ah Lian, school girl Chiang Ying Wen, fashion maven Sonia, Taiwanese blogger Emily, and office lady Shirley Goh who have all starred in ads and viral videos. Chong has also produced, written and directed three movies.

According to Kwon, Chong's three specific characters were chosen as they were the most relatable to Millennial and Gen Z shoppers, which Lazada has been actively engaging. "There is a sense of familiarity, as Singaporeans can relate to someone similar to these characters: a goody-two-shoes classmate (Chiang Ying Wen), an unreasonable and overbearing boss (Sonia), as well as a crass and boisterous friend (Ah Lian)," Kwon said. Lazada's decision to work with Chong also comes as out of the characters, Chong still appeals to the masses as an individual and a talent, and Lazada hopes that all its shoppers can appreciate and be entertained by Chong, even if they are not familiar with the specific characters portrayed. 

Embracing her three characters, Chong commented: “Being Lazada’s first local ambassador is a dream come true not just for me, but also for Ah Lian who frequently collects LazCoins on their app. Sonia has long looked up to Lazada as the forefront of eCommerce innovation, and fancies herself their counterpart in the world of fashion: highly adaptable in the presence of disruption, progressive and having the grit to stay relevant in current times. Chiang Ying Wen is extremely excited to be in the same video as her idol Lee Min Ho, and hopes to get an internship with the CEO someday. I’m honoured to be associated with such a forward-thinking brand and I think they have great taste and foresight!” 

Lazada has been banking heavily on local partnerships in the past year. Earlier this year in January, Lazada tied up with local digital content producer SGAG to provide weekly shoppertainment experience for shoppers in Singapore across 12 weeks. Separately, the eCommerce platform also worked with local matchmaking company Lunch Actually to launch a four-part matchmaking series leading up to Valentine’s Day. The campaign, titled "Match me if you can", allowed audience to purchase various Lunch Actually products and services while being directly involved in interactive content delivered by dating experts through a livestreaming service on the Lazada platform LazLive. Last August, Lazada also partnered with Mediacorp for a content-commerce collaboration in line with Lazada's National Day sale. This partnership later extended to cover Lazada's 11.11 mega sale. 

Kwon told MARKETING-INTERACTIVE that its campaigns are all about driving conversation and engagement. The eCommerce found previous partnerships successful as it had a significant impact on its consumers, such as being familiar with its jingle, and its phrase "add to cart" which is now synonymous with Lazada. Through its partnership with SGAG, Kwon also said it helped Lazada to stay connected with customers via the content pieces they actively consume every day. "All our partnerships are a further extension of our shoppertainment push, of having entertainment alongside shopping driving a natural synergy that benefits our audience," he added. 

Lazada is not the first eCommerce brand to appoint a local ambassador. Last August, Shopee also brought on board Singaporean cultural icon Phua Chu Kang (PCK) as its first brand ambassador for Singapore. Tapping on the same trait of relatability, Shopee said PCK’s ability to resonate with and unite local communities aligns closely with Shopee’s long-term vision of connecting with Singaporeans. PCK was seen fronting Shopee campaigns for its year-end shopping season, and was also joined with local actor Wang Weiliang in some ads.

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