For more than a decade, Tiger Beer, one of Asia’s top brands globally, has been known for urging consumers to ‘uncage’ their inner tiger, push beyond any imposed limits and achieve great things.
Last year’s lunar new year campaign featuring Korean superstar footballer Son Heung-Min and his follow-up, The Golden Son, during the Year of the Tiger, are good examples, involving a choice to be bold, overcoming obstacles and taking ownership.
This year, however, Tiger has evolved its interpretation of what it means to be bold, recognising that in order to achieve better things, one has to stop and celebrate the small wins along the way.
“Sometimes it can feel like the more we achieve, the further we’re expected to go,” says Tiger Beer’s global brand director, Sean O’Donnell. “If you're just running towards this bolder tomorrow without stopping and celebrating and sharing it with others, then what's the whole point of it?”
The message comes through clearly in Tiger’s 2023 brand film, depicting stressed young adults madly running towards their futures until they’re told to stop and enjoy the moment, which in turn inspires future career success.
The images of frantic running might seem appropriate in the Year of the Rabbit, the film’s inspiration was instead grounded in consumer research about the festive period.
O’Donnell tells Campaign that it was important for Tiger not to just make superficial brand packaging changes but really find out what resonates with consumers during the festive period compared to their brand positioning. So, they enlisted YouGov to survey 3,000 Gen Z and millennials in Malaysia, Vietnam and Singapore. The results that came back were not only consistent across markets, but illuminating.
Six in 10 felt pressured to live up to an “impossible standard”, with a similar number admitting they put more pressure on themselves than their parents did. Roughly the same proportion said they didn’t feel they’ve accomplished enough to celebrate their small wins, especially when comparing to others on social media.
“What we saw in research was that many consumers are just held back by this fear of failure and this fear that they can't live up to their own expectations,” O’Donnell tells Campaign. “Then when we looked relative to the festive period, we saw it even amplified. The festive period should be about celebrating what you’ve achieved, planning for the future and sharing with your family and friends. But what we saw in the research was they’re not celebrating their small wins and almost regress into themselves because they feel their perceived achievements aren’t good enough.”
For a brand encouraging the fearless pursuit of passions, this was a sobering reality that needed addressing. The results are the current integrated campaign, which not only include the film running in Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore, Myanmar and Cambodia along with OOH and PR activations.
The stunt: freezing time in Tanjong Pagar
To make its message more concrete for younger consumers, the brand also opted for an experiential stunt, staged last Thursday at one of Singapore’s busier business districts. Driving home the message for everyone to stop and reflect on their accomplishments, more than a hundred actors froze together on the spot, causing nearby pedestrians to take notice and even pause for themselves.
The integrated campaign was the first for the Publicis Le Pub team since expanding to Asia and bringing members of the ‘Publicis One Tiger team’ which had produced previous brand work. LePub’s new APAC executive creative director Cyril Louis helped orchestrate the live experience.
For O’Donnell watching in a nearby café, it was gratifying to see that after three minutes, when the participants unfroze and handed out Tigers to enjoy the moment, some passers-by chose to stick around, have a beer, and talk about their own experiences.
This could be seen as continuity from its 22:31 activation in March, which celebrated the lifting of Covid curfews at bars in Singapore by offering all customers a free Tiger at select locations throughout the city during the first minute past the old curfew.
With the lunar new year campaign again talking of small wins and celebrating real moments, it’s no wonder that this year they chose not to use a major celebrity. “We ultimately wanted this campaign to be about our consumers and say that this is a moment to really stop and celebrate,” O’Donnell says. “I think by talking directly to them rather than trying to showcase a superstar or famous brand ambassador I think we can connect better with them.”
This doesn’t mean that Tiger will be shy to use celebrities. In fact, the integrated campaign involves PR activations with Southeast Asian brand celebrities on social media in their markets, talking about their own need to pause, reflect and celebrate with their families. With Son Heung-Min's brand ambassadorship still ongoing, there’s another campaign in the works with him too.
O’Donnell also has more ambitions for 2023. As he told Campaign last year, he wanted to big in the Year of the Tiger with more experiential and digital campaigns. He followed through with Tiger’s first AR filter and 3D billboards along with a limited collection of Tiger NFTs in partnership with PMC. These not only sold out instantly but were Heineken’s first foray into the NFT space.
On the experiential side, their recent Tiger Remix New Year’s music festival event saw some 300,000 customers take to the streets in Ho Chi Minh City.
“From our perspective, we’ve really brought to life experiential and this year we want to do more of the same. We also have some really brilliant innovation planned.”