Ad Nut
May 25, 2021

Foodpanda gets philosophical in Hong Kong

A rumination on the meaning of "making a living" ends with the revelation that the food-ordering app offers not only prepared meals but also (wait for it) grocery items.

Foodpanda Hong Kong has launched what it calls a "thought-provoking and bold campaign" in which Hong Kong comedian and actor Dayo Wong delivers a "hard-hitting message".

That message? “Life is more than just putting food on the table.”

Consider Ad Nut's mind blown.

In the campaign's 100-second film (above) from local creative agency Curious Few, Wong walks and talks through scenes that raise questions about what life means if one's time is mainly consumed with making money. He also touches on the price that the rat race imposes on one's health and relationships. (See below for an English translation.) 

Ad Nut consulted a loved one who is an expert on Hong Kong culture and Cantonese, who found the ad engaging, but expected partway through that it was going to end up being some kind of government-sponsored public-service message about life balance.

You don't have to speak Cantonese to see that instead, the ad culminates in news that Foodpanda offers more than just take-away food. Yes, it also offers grocery items, such as paper towels, eggs, bananas and cleaning products.

Ad Nut trusts that you can see how this will change lives, which is the brand's argument:

“Our speedy and round-the-clock delivery enables you to have more time to meet friends, spend time with family, find what you love and find yourself,” Alex Law, the brand's Hong Kong marketing director, says in a press release. 

Ad Nut doesn't begrudge the company for trying to make itself represent something more than expedience. It's a well-made ad with a charismatic ambassador who raises good questions in a lighthearted and locally relevant way.

Whether you buy Foodpanda's positioning of itself as the answer to the questions Wong raises will depend on whether you think saving a few minutes by ordering meals and other items will allow you to meaningfully enrich your life.

For Ad Nut, personally, it's a bit too much of a reach. Ad Nut is not above ordering giant sacks of cashews for convenience's sake, but also finds the most meaning in sharing food—painstakingly gathered and prepared food—with dear friends and loved ones. 

In addition, the brand is actually flirting with causing offense, in Ad Nut's opinion. For many people, especially those who lost livelihoods due to the pandemic, putting food on the table is a good in and of itself—an achievement to be honoured. Aren't admonishments about finding more meaning a bit tone-deaf? 

The campaign includes TV (including a 30-second cutdown of the film above), along with OOH and social media.

Script translation

Foodpanda kindly provided the following English translation of the ad script, but cautions that because the Cantonese version is "laced with homophones and plays on words" it doesn't really provide the same effect the ad will have on native speakers.

The need for Hong Kong people to ‘put food on the table’ ranks number #1 in the world. Because according to Hong Kong people, ‘putting food on the table’ is a priority, a spirit, a faith...

But when you’re too focused on putting food on the table, what do you end up losing out on? So you found a job, but do you find your parents anymore? Do you really like your job? What about finding the person you like? You’re now able to pay for a feast, but have you already impaired your body? You’re earning a living, but have you lost your dignity? You can now afford down payment, but how much time do you even spend at home?

Is there no other choice beyond earning a living, or have we simply chosen to make money over living a life?

Don’t live to earn, but earn to live. Life is more than just putting food on the table.

Even Foodpanda is no longer an app that only provides food. You can find food, but also daily necessities, groceries and more! What’s more, they all arrive in as fast as 20 minutes, affording you more time to meet friends, spend time with family, find love, and find yourself.

Live a life beyond just making a living. Why are you still talking about earning a living?

At Foodpanda, we provide more than just putting food on the table.


Client: Foodpanda Hong Kong
Marketing Director: Alex Law
Campaign Team, Marketing: Noel Lau, Tessa Wong, Meko Chung
Media and Growth Team, Marketing : Jacky Lam, Elaine Lau, Enoch Chan

Agency: Curious Few
Fenris Kau, Godd Kot, Felix Kwan, Miranda Li

Production Unit: Film Factory
Director: Oggy cheng

Media Agency: Carat Media Services Hong Kong 

Ad Nut is a surprisingly literate woodland creature that for unknown reasons has an unhealthy obsession with advertising. Ad Nut gathers ads from all over Asia and the world for your viewing pleasure, because Ad Nut loves you. You can also check out Ad Nut's Advertising Hall of Fame, or read about Ad Nut's strange obsession with 'murderous beasts'.


Campaign Asia

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