Chris Reed
May 28, 2014

Tiger’s new “Uncaged” campaign lacks bite

Tiger Beer went outside of Asia to Australia and still came back with more lacklustre creative for the new Tiger Beer brand campaign. Tiger Beer have taken more brand directions than someone lost in a maze, which many would say Tiger have been in for a very long time.

Tiger’s new “Uncaged” campaign lacks bite

Tiger’s new Australia agency who have no base in real Asia (sorry, Australia only claim to be part of Asia when it suits them, like for the World Cup) claim to have been appointed because owners Heineken couldn’t find anyone in Asia to come up with challenging creative. This could be because virtually every creative agency in Asia has worked on a Tiger campaign at some point such is the rate of agency turnover with the brand.

This fact either doesn’t say much for Asian creative or doesn’t say much about the short sightedness of Heineken’s executives. I go with the latter based on both this and general Australian creative work which is no better than Asian creative work.

Tiger Beer is more like a chameleon than a tiger. Remember Tiger Crystal anyone? Now followed by Tiger Randall as they continue to try and reach beyond the traditionally downmarket and mass market audience of beer drinkers in Asia. Go to any hawker centre in Singapore and Tiger will be sold literally by the bucketful. Go to any upmarket or trendy cocktail bar or gastro pub in Singapore and it’s usually the German, Italian or Japanese brands that are on the menu. If they have Tiger it’s usually because they have to because of a distribution deal. You don’t actually see many people drinking it.

Tiger is undoubtedly Singaporean through and through and has an amazing history steeped in the country. This comes from being part of Singaporean life for several decades and being given away to National Serviceman for many years. It’s very much an iconic Singaporean brand to everyone in Singapore. This is especially true of the older generation as much as it tries with adverts like these new ones to take the brand younger, the young generation don’t want the brand.

Unlike other iconic Singapore brands like Singapore Airlines and SingTel it has never really removed the old fashioned cloak despite new product development initiatives and countless marketing campaigns. All the campaigns follow a certain desperate look and feel and include as many upmarket young Singaporean men (and occasionally women, although normally they are for decoration unlike the tattoo artist in the current campaign who at least is empowered herself) as possible.

The new “Uncage” creative was a chance to do something new but sadly it looks exactly like all the rest. Corporate, boring, lacking any imagination and certainly not outside of any box or any cage. It could be any beer brand in any country.

Maybe that’s what the brand is trying to target, any beer drinker, anywhere. If so they have achieved that. It’s a missed opportunity. It has no cut through, no word of mouth factor, no interesting or innovative content to share on line. It’s an instantly forgettable campaign. Maybe it will work outside of Asia but I doubt it.

It’s ironic that Tiger have created a campaign against conformity and launched in Singapore which is the ultimate land of conformity. This is a land where the target audience of young men obediently follow the rules, don’t leave their family home even when they get married and where the young generation aren’t especially ambitious. That is according to Singaporean entrepreneurs and local businesses who constantly complain about the lack of get up and go, drive and original, uncaged, thought from the younger generation.

Young Singaporeans according to a recent survey by the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor are less like to be an entrepreneur and more likely to be happy to work in a bank. Ironically most of the Tiger target audience are more likely to follow others rather than lead themselves.  To be caged rather than uncaged. This seems like the ultimate aspirational campaign that bears no resemblance to either thought or desire.

The media buy just emphasises the lack of imagination and conformity in the creative. Which cutting edge, out of the box/cage brand is still buying advertising in The Straits Times in Singapore? Tiger conformed by doing just that along with the cover of the other traditional newspaper in Singapore, Today. How original.

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The fact that the launch party happened at the Marina Bay Sands casino, sorry, integrated resort, which is just about the most popular location for any party or any launch of anything in Singapore says it all.

It is the number one tourist destination in Singapore and not especially loved by the masses of Singaporeans. This venue choice demonstrates completely how “caged” and within the box this campaign really is. Surely they could have picked somewhere a bit more interesting and original apart from the biggest hotel and dominating skyline building in Singapore?

Where’s the cutting edge social media campaigns? No mention of any of that in the glitz and glamour of the “Uncaged” launch. Where is the thinking behind this marketing campaign, media buy and launch? Caged.

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