Local snack brand Super Ring is in the news again, this time being thrust into the spotlight after a Malaysian activist name dropped the brand during her speech regarding the appointment of the country's new Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin.
A short clip circulating on social media shows the activist saying that some people have the impression that Malaysians are apathetic to politics and only stay at home and eat keropok (deep fried crackers) and Super Ring while watching the news. The female activist also said: "Who is Muhyiddin? I didn't vote for him!"
The video gained traction online and resulted in people taking pictures of their Super Ring snacks. Some even jokingly created a Super Ring starter pack, featuring half-framed spectacles, a wireless karaoke microphone, as well as a white shirt - all of which were used by the activist. One netizen even urged others to leave Super Ring out of politics.
Seizing the opportunity, Shopee Malaysia leveraged the online chatter to push the sales of Super Ring on its platform. In a Facebook post, Shopee said: "Who says Malaysians don't care about current affairs? For sure, it would be more fun to read or listen to the news with a favourite snack in hand." It also posted a picture of the Super Ring packaging with the caption "Malaysians’ favourite snacks are always on the news."
The Facebook post amassed over 13k reactions, 1.3k comments and 3.4k shares at the time of writing. Some netizens replied to Shopee's post with pictures of their Super Ring stash. In a statement to A+M, Ian Ho, Shopee's regional managing director, said it has a team of social media experts who consistently monitor for topics that are trending in order for the company to trendjack and create relatable postings.
The team looks into areas including the stage of virality of a certain topic before deciding on the right time to ride on the wave, as well as potential angle to connect the topic back to our brand or products that are available on Shopee. The team also finds the sweet spot between a topic being interesting but has yet to garner widespread attention.
"We understand and are fully aware of the risks when it comes to sensitive topics, and our stance is that we will always stay away from commenting on all political matters. In this case, the post was more of a response to the comical observation by the activist and how people would behave when they watch an interesting piece of news or when they are watching a movie," he explained.
The cultural difference is that instead of snacking on stuff like popcorn, Malaysians enjoy Super Ring, Ho added and because Malaysians grew up with Super Ring, this made the post all the more relevant. According to Ho, the Super Ring keyword search surged by over 100% on Shopee's platform from the day it uploaded the post, as compared to before. Also, the keyword is now the Top 10 most searched item under its groceries category.
Malaysia witnessed a change of leadership recently, with Muhyiddin appointed Prime Minister following the collapse of the Pakatan Harapan coalition which has ruled the country after a stunning victory during the 14th Malaysian General Elections in 2018. When it was announced that Muhyiddin would be sworn in on 1 March, the hashtag #NotMyPM began trending on Twitter, with approximately 47,000 tweets on that same day, The Straits Times reported.
Shopee is not the only brand to have done something in relation to the changing political landscape in Malaysia. Local burger joint myBurgerLab promoted a limited-edition burger for politicians only in a satirical Facebook post. The post listed made-up ingredients such as "backbone-less beef", "tenderised BS", and "marinated chicken poopcorn", adding that every purchase comes with a "free humble pie". Co-founder Chin Ren Yi told A+M then that it wanted to express a sense of frustration during this time. Although the brand wants to continue its daily operations without worrying about the political climate, Chin said it is "difficult to do so" knowing that the choice politicians make will impact the company.
Separately, Shopee Malaysia recently entered into the fresh grocery delivery space, introducing a new category that includes fresh poultry, seafood, and vegetables. Regional MD Ian Ho explained that the Malaysian eCommerce scene is still very much in a hyper growth stage.
"For us, that means it is not time to slow down. We are identifying more areas to tap into, such as the fresh segment, to create a more dynamic online shopping and selling environment. We aim to empower and drive inclusive economic growth by working directly with fishermen and farmers in rural Malaysia for this project," he said.
The availability of fresh produce will first be made available in major cities and towns within Klang Valley via a pilot programme prior to a nationwide roll-out. Brands involved in the launch are Fish Club and FreshTap.