While Singaporean and Malaysian athletes were getting busy during the SEA Games, bubble tea brands LiHo (from Singapore) and Tealive (from Malaysia) decided to get into a friendly rivalry of their own.
Entitled “#TEAGames”, the banter lasted over two weeks and culminated in both brands giving out free bubble tea to celebrate the medals bagged by each country. The exchange started following a friendly jibe Tealive made at Singapore following the loss of a football match to Malaysia during the SEA Games. This saw LiHo responding to the Facebook post claiming that its tea is better than Tealive’s, leading to both parties challenging one another to a bubble tea showdown.
Tealive then took it one step further. It uploaded a video starring Bryan Loo, founder of Loob Holdings, Tealive’s parent company. In the video, Loo declared that if Singapore wins more gold medals in the SEA Games, he would wear a shirt with the LiHo logo on it and work at one of its stores for one day.
In response, LiHo uploaded a video featuring its operations director holding a cup of LiHo bubble tea and Tealive bubble tea challenging the same and promising to become Tealive’s “tea boy”. The video concludes with the LiHo employee drinking the cup of LiHo bubble tea.
The end of the SEA Games saw Malaysia winning more gold medals than Singapore. This prompted a final post from Tealive stating it would give away 1,200 cups of its Signature Brown Sugar Pearl Milk Tea. Celebrating the Malaysian victory, the company also did a shout out to LiHo Singapore for the "great two weeks of banter and duels".
"We may be rivals on the track and field, but friends off it," the Facebook post read.
Echoing the sentiment, LiHo did the same and gave out 1,000 cups of free Cheese Melon Tea to all Singaporeans. It also gave a free upgrade of drinks for Malaysians who present their passports at 70 of its outlets. In a later Facebook post, the company revealed it would give away an addtional 1,500 cups.
Marketing has reached out to LiHo Singapore and Tealive for comment.