Robert Sawatzky
Apr 28, 2023

Foodpanda's keys to better brand experience: Empathy, gamification and seamlessness

CAMPAIGN 360 PREVIEW: The food delivery app's head of quick commerce marketing, Judson Teo, explains how a wider scope of brand engagements are needed to supplement performance campaigns.

Foodpanda's keys to better brand experience: Empathy, gamification and seamlessness

Brand leaders across Asia-Pacific are preparing to gather for Campaign360 in Singapore on May 16th and 17th to compare notes on how they're offering more exceptional and seamless brand experiences.

In a new era where CMOs have to look beyond marketing communications to meet the high expectations of consumers, strategies are becoming increasingly holistic in nature.

Ahead of the event, Campaign spoke with Judson Teo, Foodpanda Singapore's head of quick commerce marketing, who will be speaking about their efforts in engaging Gen Z consumers in new ways, including gamification. 

Judson Teo

Below are excerpts from that conversation, edited for clarity and brevity.

Gen Z is a critical consumer demographic for Foodpanda and its long-term growth plans. They can also have very defined expectations around customer service and brand purpose. How are you reaching out to Gen Z?

Quick commerce is very transactional. People just want ‘in and out’. So then how do we break through the transactional barrier and have a relationship with customers and have them identify with us?  

We created Pau-Pau, a cute panda as our brand ambassador and use him in a very consistent, reliable way, which cuts across all consumer segments.  

But an important thing we know about Gen Z is that they stand for a lot of social causes, be it sustainability or mental health awareness. In Singapore, we noticed our Gen Z consumers care a lot about mental health issues and we saw value in shaping our communications in a way that comforts our Gen Z consumers when they see it. 

If you look at our TikTok and Instagram posts in the last six months, they aren't about transactional offers. Those are important too, but we chose to let our social platforms be more about Pau-Pau relating to you. For instance, Pau-Pau tells you that ‘it's okay if you had a busy day because Foodpanda is here for you ‘– and we’ve played around a lot with that central spirit. When we look at the organic comments, we see Gen Z people saying things like ‘I didn’t know Foodpanda is the therapist I need’ or ‘the friend I want’ and that tells us we’re communicating in the right way.  


In past ecommerce practices, pushing sales to users was super important. But for us, we are also relating at the brand level that is attached to mental well-being, one of the social causes that we know Gen Z in Singapore most deeply about.  

Gamification is another key tool marketers can use to engage Gen Z and others. How are you using gamification and how does it help you relate to your audience?

There are two ways we do gamification right now. One is Panda Rewards. You make a transaction and get points. But we recently introduced stamp cards but made it attractive in Singapore by introducing prizes we knew would make our consumers go crazy. So in March, we specifically manufactured gold bars with Pau-Pau on it to become a limited edition grand prize if you make a certain number of transactions. Since I started in October, we’ve seen our number of active users of stamp cards double and increase by 100% because of the way we tie it together with whatever items are hot in the market.  

We also worked with a gamification company to hide two different kinds of coins: 100 silver coins each worth SGD$500 and a gold coin worth SGD$50,000. We held a literal treasure hunt all across Singapore where customers received clues on their social accounts. To find coins faster and zoom in on their location, you could order more on our Pandamart grocery service because every single Pandamart order gave you a scratch card, which when you scratch and scan a QR code, unlocks a game on your mobile app and gives you crystals (virtual currency is very important in gamification) to exchange for more clues.  

We’ve also hidden promo codes within Foodpanda and Pandamart to add an element of fun and extend gameplay. We ran this for a month and over the campaign period, our new customers multiplied by about 100%. This is very important to us because we are always thinking of new ways to attract new customers to come to Pandamart. It’s a positive case study for us that gamification actually can work if done correctly and we will continue to do it down the road for Pandamart. 

How has Foodpanda changed its media mix in recent years and what lessons have you learned?

It is very normal for an ecommerce or tech company to focus on performance marketing. As of today, it is still important to us.  

But when Pau-Pau was introduced and because he's such a visual element, we shifted our investment a bit to offline out-of-home. It makes sense since Pau-Pau is a very cute and nicely designed brand identity. Restricting him to a small digital screen doesn't do him justice. 

So over the past few years we've been investing quite a bit in creative out-of-home buys and on-the-ground activations. We basically just take over a space and have Pau-Pau designed as a pop-up or standee and have him appear all around the place to have people physically interact with him. That's quite important from a brand perspective. 

Gastro Beats activation
Pandamart activation

So we’re balanced. In the past, we were heavily skewed towards performance marketing and right now it is an equal balance between brand marketing and performance marketing because of the brand refresh that we’ve done.  

How difficult is it to foster loyalty in quick commerce categories where everyone just wants fast, cheap service? What are you doing to earn it?

Loyalty programs, whether subscriptions or stamp cards or gamification rewards are a small but important portion of the bigger picture. 

What’s super important for us is customer service recovery. If someone receives an order wrongly, how fast can we resolve it? Within Foodpanda, we monitor what we call ‘seamless orders’, meaning from the moment one orders to the moment they receive: What is the time taken? Are there any missing items? The higher the percentage of seamless orders, the better the re-order rate naturally. 

Another key element is product navigation. When you go on Foodpanda or Pandamart, how well are able to predict what you want to find based on past transaction data? 

When you combine all of these elements together, it’s exactly what we're trying to solve. In loyalty, one part is loyalty programs, rewards and gamification and the other part is more about seamless business as usual, but super important so users don't feel frustrated but come back again and again. So we see loyalty in a holistic way.  

Click here for more information on how you can attend Campaign360

Campaign Asia

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