MARKies 2024 Australia
Top 5 companies in Singapore with thumb-stopping ad campaigns

Top 5 companies in Singapore with thumb-stopping ad campaigns

share on

The pandemic forced many brands to rejig their advertising muscles, as brands looked to find more innovative and clever ways to stay top-of-mind and have the highest brand recall. Advertising and marketing efforts saw a big shift to digital, with many people around the world having to become more digitally-savvy in the new world.

In particular, AI-enabled advertising is predicted to account for US$1.3 trillion in ad revenue by 2032, more than 90% of the total advertising as channels such as TV, audio, and outdoor become increasingly digital, GroupM's "The Next 10: Artificial Intelligence" report said. AI-enabled marketing currently accounts for more than US$370 billion of global ad revenue, roughly 45% of all advertising, the report said. 

With data and technology offering creativity a boost to take brands' advertising forward, companies will continue to reinvent their strategies. MARKETING-INTERACTIVE turned to our results for Marketing Excellence Awards Singapore 2021 to find out which ad campaigns impressed the judging panel. These were the top five brands that dazzled with their out-of-the-box ad campaigns.

1. foodpanda 

In late 2019, foodpanda introduced pandamart, its first online grocery store. It also rolled out foodpanda shops, a marketplace for non-food merchant partners to retail their products on the platform, and have them delivered on-demand. While the initial response to the new launches was positive, the brand found that many customers were still relying on its delivery service and thus could not fully offer its extended range of products and services. Foodpanda also found that there were a sizable number of customers who were either not aware of its expanded offerings, or not familiar with the value of these new features. It didn’t help that when pandamart and foodpanda shops were launched, they were launched under different names. 

As such, the brand needed to conceptualise an advertising strategy that could consolidate all of the various features that foodpanda now offers into one simple, single messaging that customers can easily digest and retain. At the same time, the strategy had to afford sufficient attention to each of the verticals, specifically the newer ones such as pick-up and pandamart. Another objective was to entice customers to try new ways of using the platform that would offer a different experience from competitors’ platforms, such as highlighting its rapid delivery service that clocks in 30 minutes. 

Foodpanda looked to educate its customers on the various features on the app, and through building awareness, create excitement and interest for them to try when using the new features. Its target audience was set as young to middle-aged Singapore residents, who are likely digital natives and already familiar with using online platforms, and as customers who are likely to value speed and convenience that delivery platforms bring. Its advertising strategy was therefore to achieve the above by repositioning the foodpanda brand by means of creating curiosity, incentivising trial, and getting customers to experience the benefit of the foodpanda platform – its three main campaign verticals.

To pique curiosity, foodpanda derived inspiration from the word “tap” - a play on what customers would be doing to access the app (tapping on their phone screen). Through this, the brand played on the figurative meaning of tap to suggest an integration of foodpanda into the everyday needs and wants of our customers. As such, tap into every day was conceptualised as the primary tagline.

Visuals employed were also designed in a simple and straightforward manner, with various offerings such as food, groceries and other household essentials presented clearly in categorised blocks that would be easy on the eyes and simple to understand. The campaign tagline and visuals were then amplified via robust communication channels, including OOH, TV and video advertising, PR, influencers, and foodpanda’s owned channels. This ensured the brand visibility across both online and offline channels - both equally important in today’s ever-changing situation. This led foodpanda to consider a more flexible approach, that could still be impactful amidst changing restrictions.

Once interest and curiosity have been established, foodpanda needed to provide customers with an added incentive, to try the features for themselves. This was done by offering new customers promotion codes via online and offline advertising channels. The voucher codes also included the word in different variations in order to strengthen the connection and recall of the campaign. The combination of awareness, discounts and experience allowed customers to experience the various features for themselves as well as the benefits of the platform. In turn, this would increase reliance on the platform as customers experience the convenience of foodpanda’s multivertical offerings. Foodpanda also ensured to consistently communicate these benefits across all its channels during every outreach, to ensure consistency in the way that its key messages were being shared as well.

The brand also made use of online and offline ads to showcase “tap into every day”. The campaign period was launched at a time when people were out and about, relishing their new “freedom” to go outdoors. By combining both OOH with TV, radio, and digital advertisements, the brand felt that this would increase top-of-mind for customers. The strategy was further backed by demographic data across localities, which allowed the brand to have a deeper understanding of the awareness of the various foodpanda verticals that people were already familiar with, and the gaps that we could fill based on locales.

Using the data, the brand was able to precisely locate its OOH placements and better curate its targeting, in such a way that the messages being amplified in each location would be more specific to the call-to-action that the brand was guiding customers to do. For instance, in estates where there was a mix of older and younger generations, a higher focus was placed on driving food and pick-up, as those were the action drivers that would best suit the purchasing habits of these particular demographic segment. Likewise, in the CBD, foodpanda was more aggressive in rolling out its monthly subscription service, pandapro, and its pick-up features, which would be of greater value for corporate employees who either use food delivery services regularly or those who see the benefit in placing an order for pick-up during busy lunch periods.

In addition to the OOH placements, customers were able to see short videos of foodpanda on TV, which would play throughout the whole campaign period from April to June. Foodpanda also leveraged radio as a tactical burst for April, as the start of the campaign coincided with the Ramadan period. Due to the usual bazaars being cancelled by the pandemic, foodpanda took this opportunity present itself as a one-stop platform for those celebrating to get their main essentials conveniently delivered. Programmatic ads on social media channels including YouTube, Facebook, Twitch and Spotify were also rolled out to ensure maximum impact.

To cater to those who were more comfortable with staying home to keep themselves safe, the brand also published ads with Mediacorp and StarHub, including a first-time digital brand integration campaign wherein it integrated product placements post-production into popular English and Chinese local dramas. Also included in the rollout was an additional instream video inventory on Twitch and meWatch. Foodpanda focused its efforts on remarketing strategies and CRM, to drive further allure of the ads, that would increase the chances of click-throughs.

Performance wise, foodpanda found that top-of-mind for the brand grew from 24 to 27 during the campaign period, while its competitors lost three points. For groceries, its top-of-mind grew by four points, pushing it forward to be in line with competitors. The sentiment that the brand “delivers more than food” increased by eight points, while the top-of-mind for the platform having the best variety grew by four points. Brand growth index on the statement “Delivers More Than Food” also showed good growth, putting us on par with its closest competitor, Grab.

The voucher codes that were flashed across various ad assets also managed to get the brand over 11,000 new customers signed up to the platform, specifically on its pandamart and foodpanda shops verticals. In terms of paid socials, the brand garnered over 38 million total paid impressions, and 14 million total video views. The campaign also managed to deliver 153k web and app sessions.

2. Income

Income is synonymous with travel and motor insurance. But what many tend to forget, is that Income also offers life insurance, which is the real revenue driver for the business. Against the backdrop of COVID-19, Income needed to double down on ensuring this key pillar of revenue remained robust.

While awareness of protection plans are fairly high in Singapore, very few Singaporeans have sufficient coverage. A study by the Life Insurance Association Singapore found that there is a critical illness protection gap of 80% - this means that on average the protection plans that Singaporeans have would meet just 20% of their needs if such illnesses occur. With that in mind, Income saw an opportunity to bridge the gap. The primary purpose of protection plans is to provide one’s dependants with a financial safety net. This meant that parents would be the group with the most need for it, forming the core audience that Income wanted to speak to.

Income looked to three strategies: first, to get people’s attention in a fresh and innovative way, and secondly, to increase its share of voice in the market, as a local insurer competing with bigger brands, and lastly, to grow life insurance sales as a new business. The campaign ran from 1 October 2020 to 31 December 2020 with a budget of SG$450K.

To garner new attention, Income did an analysis of category ads that revealed the benefit of a protection plan is almost always exclusively for the parent to live worry-free or with peace of mind for their child. Income sought to reverse this framework, by reframing the benefit of a protection plan as a benefit for the child instead. Income was also aware that this was part particular mindset was making waves in Asia as paradigms surrounding child-parent relations began to shift, with more focus on the child and their wellbeing. Income thus devised a campaign that would elevate the role of life insurance in a child’s life and reinforce that it is not just about having peace of mind as a parent, it is about avoiding sacrificing things that make your child happy, on their own terms.

Income’s message was encapsulated in the line “A life insurance plan for yourself protects your child’s happiness for life”. In bringing the message to life, the brand saw the chance to revisit a song all Singaporeans grew up with and sang as children on Children’s Day: "Semoga Bahagia" (May you achieve happiness) - a message for young ones to be their best so that they can ultimately be happy in life. Income identified this as a message every parent (who sang the song as a child) could relate to and would find meaningful to relay to a child. This informed the overall campaign execution, which showed a mother and father singing Semoga Bahagia to their daughter as she grows up, underlying their wish for their daughter’s happiness - with a surprising twist at the end.

Overall, the campaign was able to garner significant mass media coverage result, having reached eight million in PR, appearing in mainstream and online media including The Straits Times, Money 89.3 FM, AsiaOne and CNA 938. It also beat industry benchmarks in engagement metrics relevant to creative execution, one of the many KPI’s used, seeing a 5.3% engagement rate on Facebook, 33 times the global benchmark. The campaign was also able to increase awareness of Income’s life insurance product offering YOY (Q4’20 vs. Q4’19) and saw an increase in campaign page visits, compared to a previous stint in2019.

Compared to the previous campaign with a similar budget and duration, "Protect Happiness" saw a 20.8% increase in unique page views and a 78.4% average time spent on site, both of which indicate strong interest in finding more about Income’s protection plans Lastly, Income was able to record new growth in Annual Premium Life Insurance sales YOY (Q4’20 vs. Q4’19).

3. Yeo Hiap Seng

The pandemic brought about many changes, where dining establishments, in particular, were affected. With all the regulations in place, a brand such as Yeo’s held up a key distribution channel and impacted Yeo’s daily on-ground engagement with consumers. The decrease in brand presence in the daily consumer journey further fixated consumers’ perception of the brand as a festive drink, further lowering the top-of-mind awareness of the brand. This created a chain effect, however, with more growth being seen in-store.

Yeo’s reacted to the situation by launching three new products, such as variants of its Chrysanthemum Tea in Less Sugar, No Sugar and with Wolfberry, intending to expand current customers’ basket size and recruit new ones as well. However, the sales contribution of the new product launches was not able to reach its full potential due to limited instore activation opportunities – it thus needed to look for a new channel to advertise its products, focusing on awareness and engagement instead. Once the brand strategy had been established, Yeo’s chose NDP 2021 as the perfect time to market its campaign.

Text, calendarDescription automatically generated with medium confidence

The brand thus began a deep dive into Singaporeans’ consumer insights, in order to validate its brand strategy and build it up further. Research showed that Singaporeans are more empathetic to social causes, and group behaviour is observed to trigger empathy into action – in this case, support of the local community. Furthermore, with the government pushing the #SGUnited narrative during COVID times and especially with NDP around the corner, many Singaporeans had already shown support for local businesses and frontline workers. A common motivation underlying the consumers, NDP and Yeo’s was uncovered, and Yeo’s chose to use this time to close the gap between the brand and its consumers. A dual-pronged strategy was created, in order to increase top of mind awareness and reinforce consumption of Yeo’s drinks on a new occasion, as well as increase engagement to resonate with consumers.

The campaign began on 15 July 2021 and ran until 31 August 2021, with a budget of just under SG$100,000. It was built on four pillars: sampling through an exclusive partnership, supporting local, paying it forward, and sharing of encouragements, in Singapore.

On the partnership front, Yeo’s created two special edition cans with its newly launched Chrysanthemum Tea variant, of which one was an exclusive can design done with FairPrice. The design was done to give thanks to the #UnsungHeroes of Singapore, allowing target audiences to pen down their encouragements at the back of the can and share the posts on social media. The cans were given out with every purchase made, simultaneously enabling sampling and sharing of feel-good emotions.

Yeo's also utilised social media to kick off its campaign, accompanied by a microsite to garner buzz and conversations around the new products and brand. In order to pique the community’s interest as well as to anticipate the upcoming series of surprises that the brand had prepared, Yeo's announced the dates of these ‘surprise’ launches, as a form of transparency for its digitally savvy audiences.

Yeo’s also created an NDP mash-up of four of the most patriotic and classic songs beloved by Singaporeans. This was done in collaboration with local musicians and artists such as Benjamin Kheng, Kewei Yeo and Ayden Sng. Live sessions where the song was covered were conducted via IG livestream, to inspire the feel-good emotions amongst Singaporeans – a key sentiment of the campaign. The mash-up was also integrated into an AR Filter to drive further engagement with audiences digitally. A giveaway was announced at the same time, in a social media post (also on the microsite), allowing audiences to have access to not only the lyrics for Yeo’s NDP mash-up, but also attractive prizes to be won. This could be done by sharing notes of encouragement online while using the AR filters.

Graphical user interface, applicationDescription automatically generated

The brand also collaborated with acapella group, MICAPPELLA, to host a pre-NDP sing-along session on Instagram. This initiative was prepared to hype up the celebratory mood within (and beyond) the community. While NDP 2021 had been postponed due to the worsening COVID situation, Yeo’s and MICAPPELLA still proceeded as planned, and activated the IG livestream on NDP day, one hour before the parade was due to air on TV. The Yeo’s community was also shown to have been extremely supportive, by participating via the live stream.

The third pillar, which measures giving back was done in support of local hawkers, who had taken the hardest hit with all the Safe Management Measures in play. Yeo’s then partnered with The Federation of Merchants' Associations, Singapore and supported over 1,900 hawkers by providing them with the special edition cans of the newly launched chrysanthemum drinks to distribute for free with every purchase made. Once more, Yeo’s encouraged Singaporeans to share their well wishes and messages of encouragement on the cans to celebrate the community spirit brought on by NDP. Yeo’s also extended this aspect of its campaign by supporting essential workers, from hospital nurses to taxi drivers. Yeo’s donated over 240,000 cans to Grab Riders, Hospitals, ComfortDelGro, Jurong Health, NHG and Central CDC.

A picture containing textDescription automatically generated

The campaign garnered over 13 million impressions and had an average of 15% engagement rate, five times more than the industry benchmark. This catapulted Yeo’s to have the number one market share with 25.6% and have over 600,000 cans of the new launches sampled and distributed to the public. Yeo’s was also able to maintain its position as market leader, and obtained a 7.6% positive category growth. The campaign also garnered more than SG$80,000 in PR value.

4. Panasonic

Panasonic partnered up with Hakuhodo as its lead agency, and Grab as its publishing agency to co-create a strategy to develop a new mobility service that will help societies suffering from the threat of COVID-19. In addition, for Grab's executives, a primary concern was to ensure that both drivers and passengers would benefit from the service with peace of mind in the execution of their duties. Panasonic decided to communicate the merits of nanoe™X technology across Southeast Asia in such a way that would best represent the brand’s characteristics so that its potential is quickly understood by customers.

The company’s creative strategy aimed to educate the public about the dangers of air pollution and airborne viruses, encouraging the need for a high-tech air purifier to stay safe indoors. The four stakeholders the campaign was geared to were Grab's passengers, drivers, its corporate body and lastly, Panasonic itself.

panasonic grab banner

Panasonic’s strategy was to leverage Grab’s SuperApp data and presence in hundreds of cities across Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Singapore, and to target customers at scale through a seamless combination of online and offline channels. Six key channels were used for delivery in four markets – Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam. The media channels were: Grab’s in-app digital ads, the in-car showroom, OOH car wraps, PR events, natural and organic exposure across mass and digital media outlets, and organic conversations between Grab drivers and passengers.

On the digital front, Panasonic built awareness through in-app Grab ads using masthead and native image banners. Simultaneously, consumers would be able to experience the nanoe™X air purifier in 5,500 GrabCar Premium vehicles in Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Singapore, which would lead them to make their purchase considerations offline.

The cars were transformed into mini experiential showrooms with in-car samples of the nanoe™X air purifier, where over one million passengers who rode GrabCar Premium during the campaign could physically experience the product for themselves. The vehicles also had car wraps so they would effectively become mobile OOH billboards for the campaign, maximising awareness, reach, and brand experience. It was also Panasonic’s first omnichannel campaign executed with Grab, which was created, planned, and directed in collaboration with Hakuhodo.


Panasonic also made use of eye-catching, illustrative visuals of airborne viruses and Panasonic’s new nanoe™X Generator air purifier, to tell a science-led product story on its in-app, mobile Grab ads. The mobile component was integral to the brand’s overall marketing strategy. In terms of targeting alone, it reached millions of users throughout Southeast Asia using only one publisher or platform (Grab).

The campaign became a great PR success, as it had positive impact on the existing home appliance market. Immediately after the announcements were made, a long waiting list for “nanoe™X ” had been created. As a result of the widespread recognition of “nanoe™X ”, sales of home air conditioners also increased, as did sales of “nanoe™X ”-equipped residential air conditioners.

Another positive outcome was that Grab drivers who did not join in the initial campaign wanted the air purifiers. In addition to 5,500 Grab drivers whose cars had already been equipped with “nanoe™X ” devices, many other Grab drivers heard about the product and wanted to install “nanoe™X ” in their cars even, and at their own expense.

5. Poh Heng Jewellery  

Due to the lack of tourists coming to Singapore, Poh Heng needed to broaden its share within the domestic market. The brand’s insights gleaned that traditionally, the gold jewellery industry was segmented by race: Chinese (70% of jewellery purchasers), Malays (17%) and Indians (13%). Furthermore, these demographic groups are accustomed to buying from their own respective countries’ retail outlets. Poh Heng thus wanted to break this stereotype and aim to become the most loved jewellery brand by all Singaporeans regardless of race, religion and culture. Its main aim was thus to engage customers outside its usual audiences, whilst still growing its main customer base.

Rather than utilise short-term campaigns to draw in new customers, Poh Heng devised a strategy for the long term. This included rebranding the brand to kickstart its refreshed brand vision as  Singapore's most loved jewellery brand.

To achieve its main objective of engaging Singaporean jewellery purchasers of all races, the brand focused on the most common entry point for customers - wedding jewellery. Poh Heng aimed to target women between 25 to 39 years old, who often are the key decision-makers in choosing wedding jewellery. Poh Heng also spoke to its customers to gain further insights into what purchasing jewellery is like on the wedding day. This inspired the brand to explore the similarities between Singaporean wedding traditions - rooted in the common vow of love as symbolised by the exchange of rings. This insight naturally led to the idea that just as gold jewellery is created for the purpose of showing love, we too are all created for love, which was then used as the brand’s campaign slogan.

"We are all created for love” is cited by the brand as a key reason for everything Poh Heng does. The brand wanted to highlight that it does not create its products for vanity or profit, but for love towards one’s self, friends and family. On the creative end, the brand elected to share its take on the Singaporean wedding story, weaving in the beautiful emotions and details of three different wedding ceremonies, based on each culture. Through this, the brand would also be able to show that its jewellery complements every culture and that regardless of our race, religion and culture, “we are all created for love”. The campaign started on 30 April 2021 and ended on 30 July 2021, with a budget of SG$500,000.

Poh Heng thus launched its campaign with an emotional video titled "Our Singapore Wedding Story". The aim was to generate mass awareness across all of MediaCorp's Free-to-Air Channels, with targeted 30s spots tailored to specific audiences. The channels included Suria, Vasantham and Channel 8 and Channel U.On Digital. Poh Heng employed a targeted video-led strategy, using channels such as YouTube, Viu, Ogury and programmatic buys. The brand also casted local influencers including Fang Rong, Azura and Eswari (who had more than 150K followers), to play the brides in "Our Singapore Wedding Story". The campaign was highlighted across FTA, Instagram, Facebook and digital, with key visuals placed in outdoor, malls and store settings, so as to further generate affinity for the brand through its key message of diversity.

Overall the campaign garnered 18.6 million impressions, 37.4K clicks and 3.1M video views. Poh Heng found that programmatic drove the highest clicks (10,276), followed by Facebook collection ads (8,861) and Facebook video link ads (7,364). Within one week of the new brand campaign, engagement on Facebook also went up by 165%, and the brand’s following grew by 20% with very positive reactions from Singaporeans of all races.

Photo courtesy: 123RF

share on

Follow us on our Telegram channel for the latest updates in the marketing and advertising scene.

Free newsletter

Get the daily lowdown on Asia's top marketing stories.

We break down the big and messy topics of the day so you're updated on the most important developments in Asia's marketing development – for free.

subscribe now open in new window