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#MarketingExcellenceAwards MY 2020 highlight: How Tealive broke out of bubble tea mould with OOH coffee activation

#MarketingExcellenceAwards MY 2020 highlight: How Tealive broke out of bubble tea mould with OOH coffee activation

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When it comes to bubble tea, Tealive is probably one of the first few brands that come to Malaysians’ minds. However, the brand also wanted a slice of the coffee industry's pie, and looked to raise awareness of its coffee products as well.

Acknowledging that peak hour traffic is always dreadful for drivers and riders, Tealive decided to spread cheer among Malaysian drivers and beef up its role as a coffee player through its "Traffic Breakthrough" campaign. Targeting drivers along Jalan Bukit Bintang, the brand delivered hundreds of cups of freshly-brewed coffee. 

Done in collaboration with Entropia, the campaign saw great results for the tea brand, and also snagged the brand a gold award at A+M’s Marketing Excellence Awards 2020 for the category “Excellence in out-of-home advertising”. Find out more about how the campaign was executed.


Being Malaysia’s most recognised bubble tea brand, Tealive was only famous for its tea beverages, not its coffee. So the brand wanted to re-launch its Coffee by Tealive, and shift its quirky and uplifting perspective from tea to coffee.

However, brands such as McCafe, Nescafe and Starbucks had the lion’s share of the coffee market. Thus, the team at Tealive needed to devise a strategy that would reach its audience where it matters most, in a way that matters to them. The challenge then lies in how it can get people to think Tealive when they think coffee.


Through market research, the team at Tealive found that its target audience (consumers aged 18 – 39) are both busy and ambitious. They are always looking for ways to seize everyday opportunities and achieve their goals without wasting too much time. From this insight, Tealive inferred that great days require great mornings. So, it decided to answer its audience’s desire for success with the message: “Own Your Morning, Own Your Day”.

It became Coffee by Tealive’s new catchphrase, encapsulating an endearing brand promise: Coffee by Tealive makes the morning yours. You can count on it to jumpstart the day and make it a great one.

Further research into Malaysian mornings showed that motorists spend an average of 45 minutes being frustrated in traffic every morning. By alleviating this problem, Coffee by Tealive would lay claim to the theme of Inspiring Mornings. To do so, it conceived of an out-of-home campaign: The Traffic Breakthrough.

Tealive found that some of KL’s most notorious morning congestions happen around the Golden Triangle. It then strategised a plan to intercept drivers stuck in these traffic build-ups and give them free Coffee by Tealive, thus delivering an uplifting morning.


The tea brand organised a team of riders outfitted with Tealive-branded clothing and bikes to give out the free cups of coffee. Each cup of Coffee by Tealive featured cupholders printed with unique inspirational messages. This included phrases such as “Today’s the day I embrace the traffic” and “Today’s the day I stay cool” that the brand hopes to empower recipients with.

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The recipients of the free coffee had looks of delight and surprise, which were caught on camera and reported live on social media. An official video was also released within 24 hours. Furthermore, media outlets such as World of Buzz,, and A+M covered the campaign and further amplified its efforts.


The Traffic Breakthrough campaign generated 15 million mentions across various platforms. Within three months, Coffee by Tealive saw a 29% increase in sales. All of these were achieved on a limited media budget, proving that a simple but effective out-of-home advertising idea can shape audience perspectives profoundly. It is also proof that a brand re-launch doesn’t have to be complicated, only accurate. The Traffic Breakthrough was an exercise in touching base with consumer needs and engaging them when it matters most.

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