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Why Starbucks SG chose the Ang Ku Kueh Girl as the face of its merch

Why Starbucks SG chose the Ang Ku Kueh Girl as the face of its merch

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Starbucks Singapore is relaunching its locally inspired "gao" Shiok-ah-ccino drinks for Singapore’s National Day where it infuses local tastes into its drinks. Along with the drink, for the first time, the brand is also dropping exclusive Singapore-first merchandise through its collaborated with the Ang Ku Kueh Girl. Ang Ku Kueh Girl is an illustration which was first created in 2012 in Singapore, inspired by the Asian ang ku kueh pastry, which symbolises blessings for good fortune and longevity. 

The merchandise comprise a lunch tote bag, a plush zip pouch and a set of two tea towels. A cup sleeve holder will also be given out for every purchase of the new drinks in a venti size. Additionally, Starbucks has released an animated sticker collection with Ang Ku Kueh Girl, available on Instagram, Whatsapp and Telegram. 

According to a statement from the brand, to promote this new collaboration, Starbucks will be taking a 360 approach to ensure that it connects with customers where it is most relevant to them. As such communications around the promotion will range from the StarbucksRewards members platform to in-store activations, out-of-store and social media outreach. Starbucks Rewards members will receive an electronic direct mail (EDM) a few days before every new F&B launch or merchandise drop, and both the Starbucks Mobile App and Starbucks Online Store will also feature the latest launches in the main page and banner to share what’s new for the season. The brand will also be making a content push on relevant platforms and channels.

starbucks akkakk girl stickers

According to Starbucks, the Ang Ku Kueh Girl was chosen as it was created by a local illustrator and inspired by the Asian pastry Ang Ku Kueh. Patrick Kwok, general manager at Starbucks Singapore, told MARKETING-INTERACTIVE that the brand believes in the importance of “creating the element of surprise” to excite customers, while relating to the local community in celebration of the nation’s birthday. “For this collaboration with Ang Ku Kueh Girl, it reminds us of the simple joys in life on our Little Red Dot,” said Kwok.

Moreover, Starbucks Singapore believes that local collaborations will showcase its efforts in reaching out to its Singapore audience, outside of its standard merchandise available everywhere else. “Being one of the many local collaborations that we have done so far, the relevance of the Starbucks x Ang Ku Kueh Girl collection strikes a chord with our annual Shiok campaign that adds cheer to the season, celebrating all things local, while still creating an element of surprise and delight for our customers as well,” Kwok added.

The Shiok campaign, which is an annual campaign for Starbucks Singapore, is also one the brand takes pride in, having it run for almost six years now. The brand also advocates for the support of local brands and personalities in Singapore. Some of its recent local collaborations include Starbucks x kāi collection and the Starbucks x The Animal Project in 2019. “Our collaborations come with the intention of bringing two entities with aligned values to share a combined messaging to our audience,” said Kwok.

For example, for the kāi collaboration, kāi  believes in creating joy and happiness in everyday moments, which ties in Stabucks’ priorities of providing the Starbucks Experience to all customers. Whereas The Animal Project helps create awareness and celebrates the abilities of people with autism, which links closely to its long term partnership with the Autism Resource Centre. “These are noteworthy, local collaborations as they each celebrate a different season of their own, and we aim to honour their work through various mediums,” said Kwok.

Having localised merchandise drop ahead of National Day in Singapore isn't uncommon. In fact, over the past few years, brands have been upping their patriotic antics with the launch of new localised products. Last year, the Singapore government had adopted the theme “Together, Our Singapore Spirit” for National Day, where there were many unexpected tie ups between brands

For example, KFC had partnered with local fashion designer turned hawker Amos Yeo to launch the “STATE: ORIGINAL” exclusive streetwear capsule collection, while food delivery service Deliveroo dug into its data from 2020's stay home National Day celebrations and answered the age-old question: "What is Singapore's national dish?", where it ranked ranked Singapore's top three national dishes.

Related articles:
Deliveroo SG ranks top 3 national dishes as part of National Day stunt
KFC SG bites into streetwear scene with new collection to celebrate local
Unexpected partnerships in Singapore in bid to celebrate National Day
Starbucks and Samsung launch new branded merch



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