Every journey comes to a crossroad. After traveling together on a highly fruitful two-decade partnership, BBDO Proximity Malaysia and KFC are parting ways.
“It’s been a very exciting 19-year relationship with KFC,” says BBDO Proximity Malaysia group chief executive Jennifer Chan.
“We rose together at every step and every major milestone including ushering in KFC’s fifteenth, twentieth … and only recently, thirty-fifth anniversary in Malaysia,” said Chan.
“Our proudest moment was when KFC announced it had hit its RM1billion mark during our tenure. It was the ultimate compliment to pay any agency. But the icing on the cake was rendered in BBDO Proximity’s highly successful product launches. Every new product we launched tended to surpass the sales of the previous product launches. So I’m pleased to say we didn’t just do our job but what we achieved for the brand was beyond anyone’s expectations!”
Over the years, KFC with BBDO Proximity Malaysia have served up some healthy helpings of memorable advertising. Media magazine, a regional industry publication, has been consistently ranking KFC among the top three brands for advertising recall since its survey began a decade ago. This makes it one of the very few brands to maintain its lead in what is defined as today’s cluttered market.
On the creative side, BBDO Proximity have continuously been tasting sweet success with its KFC work. Besides a slew of Kancil Awards, KFC campaigns have also been acknowledged at AdFest, the One Show and even at Cannes. In fact, the work is not just making waves from a creative perspective but it has also been recognized by the Asian Effectiveness Awards as well as KFC’s own parent awards, the highly coveted YUM Reel, which in the KFC world, is an achievement on its own. To date, BBDO Proximity Malaysia have acquired two YUM awards, one for its heritage campaign and the other for the nationwide rebranding exercise.
Even when your peers are your toughest competition, BBDO Proximity ploughed through with KFC to win the Best Worldwide TotalWork Integrated Campaign for KFC’s O.R. Fillet Burger. A feat beating over 200 award-winning BBDO offices worldwide.
However all the credit does not just go to the agency alone. In fact, the ideas were conceived from the several local and regional brainstorm sessions and conferences held with the KFC marketing team and BBDO Proximity’s best creative, account management and planning minds. This open-door policy has put BBDO Proximity at an advantage allowing for a complete and in-depth understanding of the brand from the kitchen all the way to the table.
According to BBDO Proximity executive creative director Ronald Ng, “Although we’ve had a dedicated team running the business, the opportunity to get involved with KFC was always open to everyone in the agency. After all, who hasn’t experienced KFC, be it with their friends or family?
“And because food is very close to everyone’s hearts, we were never short on insights and ideas. Our creative kitchen was always brewing up new, exciting and even funny ways to touch the consumer. Until today, we still have quite a few ideas stewing on the backburner, just waiting to be served,” he quips.
The overall success of the work has not just propelled KFC to being Malaysia’s number one fast food outlet but it is also highly regarded for having set a global benchmark for the best work in its category by BBDO’s Retail Hub, their exclusive London-based retail planning nucleus.
Today, Malaysia ’s KFC case studies are being studied by BBDO and Proximity offices across the globe, helping other markets to hone their skills in not just the fast food but also retail businesses.
“Of course we’re sad, having to take a separate path,” says Jennifer Chan.
“The fact that our work has been testimony to the now-robust KFC brand is something we’re extremely proud of. We’d like to believe our contribution over the decades is a result of where the brand is today – be it from a business, financial and even creative perspective,” she continued.
According to Chan, “The KFC marketing team whom we’ve been working very closely with over the years have just been extraordinary and highly supportive. As a result, we have a developed a very strong and personal relationship with each and every one of them and for that we’d like to extend a heartfelt thank you from all of us.
The learnings from this two-decade-old relationship have certainly helped BBDO Proximity Malaysia clinch several new business wins. In fact, in the past six months alone, the agency has secured a host of new clients for its portfolio. To date, BBDO Proximity have set up partnerships with Whiskas, Pedigree, Tena, Procter & Gamble (the ASEAN region), Watson’s, Citibank, Wrigley’s and leading law firm Lee HIshamuddin Allen & Gledhill.
“So yes, we’re really looking forward to other exciting challenges on the road ahead,” said Chan. “I wish KFC the best and as on every journey, I truly believe our paths will cross again.”