AFTER bagging a gold at the Malaysia Effie Awards last year, Nando's Chickenland Malaysia Sdn Bhd is striving to churn out more advertising campaigns with “witty and cheeky” elements to attract more consumers for its products and strengthen its presence in the competitive food and beverage business.
To this end, the company will bank on four fronts − social media, outdoor advertising, radio advertising and print advertising − to fuel consumer interest in the company and its product offerings.
Its regional marketing manager Fanny Chai says ad campaigns that embody witty, cheeky and fun elements differentiate Nando's from competitors like McDonald's and KFC.
Nando's advertising and promotion budget is not as big as its competitors, but she says that by differentiating itself through such campaigns, it has been able to ride on the competition and do well in the food and beverage business.
“We believe in a two-way communication concept before rolling out our campaigns. As a company which believes in close engagement with its customers, Nando's in collaboration with its ad agency will see what are the hot topics in the market that are relevant to consumers and are worth engaging in. The company will then build a subtle message based on this and relate it to Nando's brand. It must be as hot' as our Peri-Peri sauce,'' she says in an interview with StarBizWeek.
An example is the recent “Listen, Listen, Listen” video which was widely viewed on social media about a student confronting a domineering motivational speaker who kept repeating the word “listen” many times in her conversation to make her point to the student.
Realising this was a hot topic of discussion, Nando's immediately in collaboration with its ad agency Creative Juice came out with a print ad on its website with the headline “Listen. Listen. Listen. Listen. Our Chickens are A-Okay” which indirectly boosted the Nando's brand.
Chai says this also led to a surge in consumers visiting the company's restaurants in a relatively short span of time.
As an ad agency, Creative Juice believes in doing brave work that gets Malaysians buzzing and talking about brands.
Another print ad which garnered a lot of interest was when Datuk Lee Chong Wei qualified for the badminton finals at the 2012 Olympics. Though he was eventually defeated by Chinese ace Lin Dan, the company creatively designed and rolled out an ad titled “Dato, you brought 28 million Malaysians together. That's gold.”
“Disini Banyak Ayam”, a billboard ad in the heart of Bukit Bintang in Kuala Lumpur, was another cheeky ad which had double a meaning as the location is also well known for its vice activities. The ad was a crowd puller and secured the company a bronze award at the Kancil Awards 2011 in the outdoor ad category.
At its head office cum restaurant in Petaling Street, the signage atop which reads “Peri-Peri Chicken. The only thing you can't fake in Petaling Street” has been commended by various quarters for its subtle, yet effective and creative message to the masses amid the proliferation of fake products there.
Last year, Nando's was one of the four companies that clinched the gold awards at the Malaysia Effie Awards for its ad entitled “Nando's Goes Malaysia”.
This ad involves the company's plans and how it took its cheeky brand essence and made it a Malaysian brand that is much talked about.
The Malaysia Effie Awards is organised by the Malaysian Advertisers Association, Association of Accredited Advertising Agents Malaysia and Media Specialists Association.
So what's in store this year for its ad campaigns? Chai says it will definitely roll out more cheeky and fun poking campaigns that have close engagements with the public to enhance Nando's brand image.
At present, the company is working on some campaigns which it hopes will bode well with consumers and set the stage for it to bag more advertising awards.
As for competition, she feels Nando's is in a different playing field than the fast-food players. as its business is more in the casual dining.
“Malaysians generally love food and we are there to provide them an option to serve their taste buds. What makes us different from fast food outlets is that we are a casual dining restaurant and serve Peri-Peri freshly flame-grilled chicken and not fried chicken and fast meals as served by fast-food chains. The company wants to be the number one player in the casual dining restaurant market and we are on our way there,” she says.
There are 47 Nando's restaurants currently in the country and plans are underway to expand the number as well as the design concepts of these restaurants.
Chai says the design involves using real and natural materials, art pieces on the walls, layout of the tables to the crockery used in the restaurants.
In terms of expansion, she says there is growing demand for Nando's products in the east coast and in Sabah and Sarawak so plans are afoot to set up restaurants there. Nando's currently has restaurants in the Klang Valley, Penang, Johor, Malacca and Perak (Ipoh).
She says that to further bolster its services to customers that will translate into better business, the company will intensify training to its staff, numbering more than 1,000, to make them more skillful and passionate about their jobs.
“By making our staff happy in what they are doing, they will provide good services to customers and make them happy at the same time, which in turn will benefit our business,” she notes.
On the company's immediate plans, Chai says in line with its expansion drive in the next few years, Nando's will try to promote its Peri-Peri sauce together with its grilled flame chicken in an effort to garner more consumers.
At present, the brand is mainly known in the Klang Valley.
To boost its products in the places where Nando's is lesser known, the company will educate people and make them more aware of its products, she says.
Nando's set foot in Malaysia in 1998 with the opening of its restaurant in Bangsar.
The person who brought this international brand to the Malaysian shores was its chief executive officer Mac Chung Lynn, who first discovered the brand while eating in the London stores as an architecture student.
Despite her qualification as an architect, she was amazed with the brand that she decided to put the world of architecture aside to introduce Nando's unique flame-grilled chicken to Malaysia.