The potency of beer, soccer obsession and K-star appeal provides the success formula for The Golden Son campaign by Publicis Singapore, discovers LBB's Esther Faith Lew
Asia’s alcoholic beverages industry is resuming its strong growth trajectory in 2022. Emerging from the pandemic has given much cause for the industry to celebrate. When Asian countries were in varying stages of lockdown, the closure of bars and restaurants slowed down the market, which generated a revenue of US$582.20bn in 2022, according to Statista’s report. Coming out of it, growth is expected to continue by 7.05% annually between 2022 and 2025.
The beer segment is expected to grow from US$190.20bn in 2022 to US$239.70bn in 2025 in Asia. Additionally, by 2025, demand will see 40% of spending and 33% of volume consumption in alcoholic drinks coming from out-of-home consumption. These projections bode well for the resumption of advertising and other brand activations in integrated campaigns.
Tiger Beer’s global brand director Sean O’Donnell adds, “The alcohol category, especially on-premise consumption in Asia, is significantly greater than in many regions. Consumers in Asia are also progressive and increasingly adventurous in trying out different alcohol products and flavours. This means that it’s a highly competitive space, with many brands competing to stand out.”
For Tiger Beer, the current market condition and the upcoming World Cup make it perfect timing for cranking up attention by several notches. And that it has, with The Golden Son campaign, featuring Tiger’s official ambassador Son Heung-Min – the Premier League Golden Boot sensation who has been inspiring fans with his story of international success.
Sean and Publicis Singapore's ECD Cyril Louis explain how they signed Son Heung-Min as brand ambassador just as he was about to make history.
LBB> With regards Tiger’s industry position, where do they stand and what are the key strengths that maintain its position as a top brand?
Sean> Tiger® is the number one international premium beer from Asia and one of the world’s fastest-growing beer brands. It is a world-acclaimed beer with more than 30 medals and counting, enjoyed by consumers in more than 50 markets.
LBB> Currently, how do consumers view Tiger and what do they love about the brand? What is the desired shift – if any – in terms of perception and appreciation?
Sean> The Tiger® brand is known to be the embodiment of boldness. When others said it was impossible to brew a high-quality beer in the tropics, Tiger was born from defying the odds with a bold and courageous spirit, 90 years ago in Singapore. We believe that everyone is born with a Tiger inside us, a version of ourselves that knows no limits. This belief strongly resonates across Asia and it’s a belief that our target consumers identify with.
We want to continue inspiring our consumers but also to go beyond that by acting on our purpose and empowering Tigers everywhere to realize their boldest selves through purposeful actions and projects.
LBB> How does The Golden Son campaign amplify brand voice and optimise consumer loyalty and conversion?
Sean> Son Heung-Min embodies our brand belief that everyone has an inner Tiger that is ready to be uncaged. His inspiring personal story of starting out as an unknown Asian player to be the first Asian player to win the Premier League’s Golden Boot is the perfect encapsulation of boldness finding a way - just like Tiger® has always been encouraging and inspiring people to have the courage to follow their own path by defying the odds.
We refer to our brand spirit as “Uncage your Tiger”. It’s highly relevant, consumers identify with it, and this has differentiated Tiger® in a meaningful way in their hearts and minds and powered our phenomenal growth over the years.
LBB> With the appointment of Son Heung-Min as the official ambassador for Tiger, what was the brief from Tiger?
Cyril> Our goal was to tell an inspiring story from Asia – one that will inspire consumers that bold dreams are possible. This led us to Son Heung-Min and his courageous story of rising against all odds to achieve international success, championing boldness, and inspiring people across the globe to dream big and go for what they believe in.
LBB> What key qualities in Heung-Min did they want amplified to resonate with their own brand qualities? Why are they significant to Tiger and its brand promise?
Sean> Tiger Beer didn’t partner with Son just because he’s a global icon. We partnered with him because there are amazing similarities between Tiger’s and Son's stories. Tiger’s success was improbable: brewing a world-class beer on a tropical island in tropical heat was unheard of in 1932. Just like betting on an Asian striker to win the Premier League’s Golden Boot was unthinkable before Son did it. But like our film says, ‘Boldness Finds a Way’. Son perfectly embodies the Tiger spirit with his sheer grit and dedication.
LBB> Winning the Golden Boot in the Year of the Tiger plays well into the narrative for a compelling story. How did the idea for the storyline come about, and what kind of persona did you want to build up?
Cyril> When Tiger Beer first signed Son as a brand ambassador, he told us that you aren't dreaming big enough if your dreams don't scare you. So when he won the Golden Boot a few months later, it was pretty incredible. He proved that people should keep chasing their dreams, no matter how crazy they may be. It was a story we felt we had to tell with ‘The Golden Son’. We hope it reminds people to stay true to themselves and keep going after their dreams – no matter what.
LBB> In terms of having a magic formula, it can’t get any better with Asia’s love for soccer action, beer appreciation and K-star appeal (ie, the Korean craze for K-Pop, K-drama, etc]. How does the campaign tap into these strong trends to build momentum and attention?
Cyril> Of course, beer, football and the K-wave are great ways to capture people's attention. Especially with the World Cup coming soon. But more important than leveraging these trends was to find an Asian star with a truly inspiring story which embodies the Tiger DNA of going against all odds. With all of that in mind, we knew that Son was the perfect person for the job.
LBB> With Asia being a huge soccer market, how will The Golden Son campaign be developed to maximise Tiger’s touchpoints with consumers and their experience journey with the brand?
Cyril> The film is just the beginning. We will continue leveraging Son's story across digital channels, creating unique experiences through-the-line with activations, promotions and an expansive suite of snackable content. On the ground, we've developed a robust BTL campaign to support our on-trade and off-trade partners in enhancing drinking occasions during the football season.
LBB> The TVC spot is titled ‘The Golden Son’. Take us through the production and elaborate on how the director brought out the desired theme in his storytelling and filming techniques.
Cyril> We were in excellent hands with AliceFilmes and director Felipe Mansur. His expertise in shooting celebrities made the whole experience with Son and his team smooth. The shoot was divided into five days, split between performance takes with Son and bar/celebration moments around London. One of the most exciting scenes to build was the high-speed sequence when Son jumps, getting away from the defenders. To create that effect, Mansur used a Phantom, a camera which captures 1,000 frames per second, giving the impression that Son is hanging in the air.
LBB> What were the highlights of the production experience?
Cyril> The whole interaction with Son and his team was pretty unique. It was great to see his excitement and commitment to the project, even though he was about to play some of the most important games of his life. Telling his story as he was about to make history was definitely inspiring to everyone.
LBB> Moving forward, what can we expect from Tiger’s brand story and how will Publicis be maximising its leverage from the momentum of this campaign?
Cyril> Tiger Beer, Publicis Communications and Le Pub are working together on a new work stream model to keep pushing the Boldness Finds a Way strategy across the region and globally with more inspiring creativity.