Turning the spotlight on brands through Visible Brand Actions™

WHEN THE WORLD ZIGS, THEY ZAG.

In a time when branding can sometimes feel predictable, Sambal Lab has etched a legacy of innovation and impact by embracing the unconventional in the realm of branding and experiential marketing. And it’s all done by focusing on building deep emotional connections with their audiences.

What began as a modest endeavour from Balreet Gill, Sambal Lab’s Founder, is blossoming into a regional force, captivating the hearts and minds of consumers and brand owners for the last 15 years. At the end of their 10th year, Sambal Lab embarked on a bold rebranding journey, shedding old skin to reveal a fresh identity that resonated with their ethos of Visible Brand ActionsTM.

According to Jodh Dheensay, Partner at Sambal Lab, “We asked ourselves, ‘What is it that we deliver to our clients?’.  We weren’t a conventional activation agency because we were very ROI-focused. Success and client growth were tangibly recorded, so our promise of Visible Brand ActionsTM allowed us to position ourselves in a definitive manner as we work towards delivering effective work that’s of international standards.”

Sambal Lab’s portfolio speaks volumes about their dedication to push boundaries and redefine industry norms. From the immersive ‘House of Guinness’ pop-up to the ground-breaking ‘Tiger Den’ experience, they have consistently delivered campaigns that captivate and inspire. Both campaigns were completely original, with an approach that had never been done before internationally.

In 2022, Sambal Lab conceived and executed an 8-week pop-up to launch Guinness Draught In a Can. The experiential ‘House of Guinness’ was instrumental in helping the brand forge a relationship with Gen Z, the demographic crucial for accelerating future growth. The campaign was not only regionally acclaimed, but also received high praise from the Guinness mothership in Dublin.

In 2023, Sambal Lab was tasked with delivering a product credentials campaign for Tiger; instead they sold the idea of a brand credentials campaign to the client. Enter the ‘Tiger Den’, another fully experiential and immersive event that was home to all things Tiger.

This first-of-its-kind model allowed guests to bask in the nostalgia of the brand’s origin story, and immerse themselves in Tiger’s evolution through a series of interactive ‘phygital’ experiences.

The ‘Tiger Den’ was not only a rousing success in Malaysia, Tiger Beer’s Global Brand Director attended, fell in love with the idea, and Sambal Lab was commissioned to develop a playbook for Tiger APAC.

In 2022, Sambal Lab entered the Kancil Awards for the first time as a non-4As member. The ‘House of Guinness’ campaign won 11 Merit and a Bronze award for English copywriting. The following year, the ‘Tiger Den’ campaign nabbed a Silver,

2 Bronze and a slew of Merit.

In an industry that has gone mad for awards, Sambal Lab remains refreshingly grounded. “Awards are wonderful but our resources are dedicated to delivering Visible Brand ActionsTM for our clients,” Jodh explains.

While Sambal Lab’s accolades at the Kancil Awards stand as a testament to their creative prowess, Jodh maintains that the real win is in retention, an expanded scope of work, being able to offer new services and products, and of course, going beyond borders.

On thinking differently

Despite (or perhaps, because of) all their successes, Sambal Lab is still locally-owned; an indie, boutique agency that retains the unconventional ethos of both Balreet and Jodh. They still eschew the expected; being different not for its own sake, but to achieve the kind of unexpected results that come from calculated boldness.

During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, when agencies were tightening their belts, Sambal Lab strengthened their team to meet their growth plans based on the belief that, “When things resumed, the agency best equipped to cope would receive the most. We were proven correct because 2022 was one of our busiest years,” Jodh adds.

 

At the heart of Sambal Lab’s success is an ever-expanding team who are creative, strategic and proactive. Their enterprising approach to networking has seen them reconnecting with industry peers and thought leaders, fostering meaningful connections that fuel their vision for continued growth and innovation. Notably, Sambal Lab’s head of PR, Jeninder Gill, has been invited to speak at prestigious forums, solidifying their presence on the regional stage.

Onwards and upwards

Beyond their professional endeavours, Sambal Lab remains deeply committed to making a positive difference in their community. Through initiatives like Projek WUmah, SevenWUnders, and flood relief efforts, they strive to uplift and empower those in need. Their work with organizations like United Sikhs and Malaysian Independent Animal Rescue reflect their belief in using their platform for meaningful change, whether through financial aid, medical assistance, or environmental conservation efforts.

What does the future hold for Sambal Lab?

As if PR work for a regional telco client, the launch of Tiger Soju, continued work with Hennessy, Heineken Malaysia and consulting for Guinness Thailand are not enough, Sambal Lab is also working on an experiential project in Amsterdam, and communication and design work for a London-based gallery.

Stay tuned for their new shop that complements their growth plans.


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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




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