APPIES 2020 winner showcase: Dutch Lady’s ‘Life Changer’ formula

For the next few weeks, MARKETING Magazine will be featuring all 27 winners of The APPIES Malaysia Marketing Campaign Awards 2020 by sharing one campaign per day. Consider this your daily dose of inspiration from Malaysia’s best marketing campaigns, judged by a jury of 28 marketing leaders who have made their mark in various industries.

GOLD Winner in Food & Beverage category

Category: Food & Beverage

Dentsu One Sdn. Bhd.

Marianne Shantini, Group Brand Director

Abhinav Sharma, Head of Strategy

Shiraz Faruqi, Senior Art Director

Michelle Chong, Senior Account Manager

Dutch Lady Milk Industries Berhad

Jo-Anne Jayasiri, Marketing Manager

Yvonne Tan Lay Leong, Senior Brand Manager 

Theng Hsiang Heon, Assistant Brand Manager

Presenter: Abhinav Sharma, Head of Strategy, Dentsu One Sdn. Bhd.

After a social media disaster in 2018 that assailed the Dutch Lady 5xDHA children’s milk brand, the brand knew it had to earn the back trust of mothers, especially its main target audience which was Malay mothers. The 2018 crisis had caused the milk powder’s market share to nose-dive, its brand imagery to slump and unsurprisingly, competitors swooped in. 

But the market was saturated with the words ‘DHA’ and ‘smartness’ and regaining trust and leadership in its category, Dutch Lady had to find another way to break through the noise drowning their value.

By having conversations with mothers themselves, they identified that these mothers wanted their children not only be book-smart but also life-smart. This opened up a new opportunity for the milk brand and hence was born the Life Changer campaign based on the idea ‘Smart with Heart’. 

By taking an unconventional yet emphatic take on parenthood, the brand was able to achieve what it set out to change. Below are more specific details on the campaign and the results it achieved, based on the campaign submission we received:


Conversations with mothers revealed that their definition of smartness had evolved by considering today’s social values, impact of social media and consistent importance of family relationship. It wasn’t enough for their children to be book smart. They had to be life smart too. They hoped for their children to be as compassionate as they were clever, ideally growing up into well-rounded individuals. 

We pushed our idea of “smart” forward by injecting the critical new element of “empathy”. This gave us new news to leverage upon.


Our response – the “Life Changer” campaign. 

For awhile now, everyone had debated the role of the father. Research showed that men had started to play a more active role in parenting. We felt confident to shift the focus to this new father, that would endear mothers today rather than alienate them. Through “Life Changer”, we portrayed a widower, a father facing the uphill task of raising a child on his own. Mutual support, love, honesty and realness promised to make this an emotional rollercoaster for Malay mothers. 

Dutch Lady . Life Changer | Tan Yew Leong from Luminous on Vimeo.

It represented a fairly big evolution in a category where both insight and execution had remained unchanged for decades. It gave us the opportunity to up the game for Dutch Lady 5X DHA and re-establish our leadership. 

Our campaign comprised of a 3-minute video featured on YouTube, alongside cut-downs on television. This was supported by on-ground consumer promotions, a Ramadhan activation and sampling to help our core mothers reconnect with our brand.



In the span of 6 months, we were able to grow our brand power scores amongst the Malay target audience, for the 1st time in 3 years (Source: Kantar). 


Our “Life Changer” campaign went live in February 2019, when our volume share was at a low of 40.2%. Within 6 months, we regained nearly 6% in volume share (Source : Nielsen). This further solidified and secured our position as the No.1 choice for the mass category.


The “Life Changer” ad copy outperformed our previous year’s copy by an average increase of 9% across key engagement measures of Recognition, Branding, Enjoyment, and Persuasion (Source: Kantar). 

Key drivers in imagery attributes in this category also saw improvements (Source : Kantar) : 

High levels of DHA – 6% increase vs previous year

Smartness – 5% increase vs previous year

What was most important in the work done was that we managed to get our mothers attention (without even having to actually feature her!) and make a connection with our mothers through the story of a father on a “Motherhood” journey. In this manner, for the first time, we reached not just mothers but fathers too. Through the story, we were able to drive top of mind for the brand and product attributes too, paving the way to a stronger brand journey.

To view the full list of APPIES 2020 winners, click here.

Related news:

MARKETING Magazine is not responsible for the content of external sites.

The APPIES is an annual event that presents a rare opportunity for creative, media, digital and marketing agencies or brands to present their best campaigns to the industry.

This is the only event where Live Presentations meets Live Judging.

Similar to TED Talks, The APPIES is the chance for great presenters with outstanding work to show it off to some of the industry’s most important industry leaders.

This year’s winners will receive Gold, Silver or Bronze trophies for 21 categories, and 6 special Best of Best categories (red trophies) that require no submissions!

Campaign entries must have run between June 2023 to May 2024

Submissions Deadline
30th June 2024

APPIES Festival – Judging & Presentations
11th – 12th July 2024 (Malaysia)


Download Event PDF
Submit Entries Here

Subscribe to our Telegram channel for the latest updates in the marketing and advertising scene