Calpis powers Malaysia’s first singing GPS navigation on Waze

Yuna Calpis Waze
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( –By: Malati Siniah

Yuna first sang melodiously for us to ‘turn right’ in her promotional video for ‘Obviously Harith Iskandar’, while many thought it was a joke, getting Yuna to sing your navigation to your next destination is now possible thanks to Calpis.

Calpis together with Waze has launched Malaysia’s first singing GPS navigation, enabling Malaysian drivers to download the voice pack on their app and hear Yuna sing directions to them.

Having only been in the market for half a year, Calpies which has a core market of millennials and young adults (18-35 years), has already made waves in Malaysia with the brand appointing several Malaysian celebrities including Yuna and Harith Iskandar as its brand Ambassadors. MARKETING caught up with Santharuban T. Sundaram, Group Marketing Manager of Permanis to share more on the brand’s growth in Malaysia.

How has the response been for the Calpis drink since it entered the local market in December last year?
Five months after its launch, Calpis has been growing rapidly from 0.5% value share in December 2015 to 5.3% value share in April 2016.

What were some of your concerns when you launched this brand to the local market and is there still a concern for it?
We were confident with the brand and the taste of the product. We launched Calpis in a totally new cultured milk format i.e a larger bottle and positioned it unlike any other cultured milk or yogurt drink in the market in terms of tone and manner.

While we have done ample of research and study prior to launch, there is always a question in terms of how well it will resonate with the consumers. Given the traction and trend that we are seeing, it is pleasing that the Malaysian consumers are in love and are drawn to the brand, and taste of Calpis.

Part of the main marketing driver for Calpis seems to be celebrity marketing could you share a bit more on what factors you into consideration when selecting your brand ambassadors?
We were looking at an array of ambassadors that appeals to a wider market as that would be in tandem with how we wanted to market Calpis. Hence why we have an international artist, a comedian, a footballer as well as a radio DJ to be part of our ambassador line up.

Our ambassadors have certainly helped us propel Calpis as a brand. The recent tracking report shows the high recall rate, as well as the fact that we were trending on twitter in Malaysia thanks to the engagement ‘boost’ that was given by our ambassadors.

Last month Calpis ran a series of interactive print ads in The Star which allowed readers to create music with Yuna and pop bubbles with radio DJ, Wan Wai Fun. Why was print an effective medium to communicate to your target audience and what was the thought process behind coming up with the interactive press ads?
Calpis has already been gaining momentum, and we wanted to raise the awareness and trials for Calpis, given that it has only been in the market for about 6 months. The campaign used multiple touchpoints, as we had the Calpis jingle running on radio, OOH buys with our ambassadors, TVC buys on free-to-air television and Astro, sampling as well as a digital engagement contest called My Calpis Celebrity selfie.

The print ads, were part of the campaign to reach out to a different set of consumers mainly parents, young adults, retailers all of whom are newspaper readers. We found that the interactivity was a necessity and a need given that engagement is paramount.

While reach is a currency used by many, we believe that if we focused on engagement, and maneuvered it well enough, it will bring about the reach that we desire with higher brand retention. A formula that has proven to work in some of our other brand and campaign launches, such as Wonda and Mountain Dew.

The interactivity adds another dimension in messaging and significantly helps increase the strength of the ad in regards to the ads placed in The Star.

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