Ad Nut Staff Reporters
Aug 20, 2020

Shopee signs up Phua Chu Kang as Singapore brand ambassador

WATCH: The new local face of Shopee debuts a 9.9 Super Shopping Day ad even more satisfyingly annoying than Ronaldo's Shopee riff off of 'Baby Shark'.

Exactly one year since scoring football star Cristiano Ronaldo as brand ambassador, ecommerce platform Shopee has followed up by announcing its first brand ambassador for Singapore. 

Local 'cultural icon' Phua Chu Kang, a sitcom character made famous by actor Gurmit Singh, may not have the same star power that Ronaldo brought to Shopee users across Southeast Asia and Taiwan. But in Singapore, the character is a comedic icon lending laughs and self-deprecating silliness to serious subjects and marketing campaigns alike across the island nation, most recently in a government PSA warning Singaporeans to protect themselves from COVID-19, which made it to our YouTube ad leaderboard in April.  

Kang will now be the face of various Shopee campaigns in Singapore, starting with a brand new 9.9 Super Shopping Day TVC (above) that our pal Ad Nut has already deemed a new classic (see review below). 


AD NUT'S TAKE

Ad Nut is having a serious case of deja vu. A year ago, Ad Nut was gobsmacked by the debut of Cristiano Ronaldo starring in Shopee's 9.9. Super Shopping Day ad (below), which became ubiquitous across Southeast Asia. This squirrel, bitten by Ronaldo's 'Baby Shark' dance, watched as it chewed its way into consumers' subsconscious minds. Finding guilty pleasure in the work, Ad Nut wrote the following at the time: 

Ad Nut supposes it is ridiculous on purpose rather than accidentally ridiculous, but either way, it is ridiculous. So ridiculous, in fact, that Ad Nut cannot help but give in to its charms and love it—in a furtive, guilty way that makes Ad Nut feel a bit dirty afterward.

One year later, Ad Nut is feeling much the same way about Phua Chu Kang's new 9.9 Shopee ad. It's an absolute gem: Campy, ridiculous, cheesy, annoying, lighthearted, funny and probably effective. It takes last year's Ronaldo work and cranks the dial up to 11.

Ad Nut knows not all will agree with the 'it's so bad it's good' theory. Kang is overused in Singapore and we've seen similar style videos from him before. But this is a market that too often takes itself too seriously by turning to weepy, overwrought dramas or engages in faux artistry in an attempt to be 'cool'. The reason Kang is effective in this market is that he deliberately lets us laugh at him to make us feel better about ourselves. Watching and sharing this ad only makes consumers feel good.

Does Ad Nut want to see another ad from PCK next week? Hell, no. So if Shopee's going to be using him a lot more in the months ahead, good luck on making those differentiate or stick. But yes, Ad Nut is giving you not just a free pass on this one, but one paw-thumb up.  

Time to hit the shower. 

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'.

 

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