Mother’s Day is a somewhat difficult holiday for brand marketers in Southeast Asia (SEA). Some countries celebrate on the second Sunday in May, like much of the rest of the world, but others, like Thailand and Indonesian, have their own Mother’s Days later in the year (August and December, respectively).

For countries with the holiday just around the corner, though, some brands have gone all out on Mother’s Day campaigns to primarily help consumers remember their mothers – but also to nudge them to buy something special for them as well.

Below are a few examples of how brands are celebrating Mother’s Day 2019 across SEA.

Philippines

Jollibee

For those unfamiliar with the brand, Jollibee, a fast food company, is the Philippines’ largest and fastest-growing brands – consisting of half of the country’s S$5.4 billion fast food market.

In addition to selling hamburgers and spaghetti dishes, though, Jollibee also has a video production unit called Jollibee Studios, it regularly produces high-quality videos for the brand which are dubbed ‘Kwentong Jollibee’ [Jollibee Stories]. These ‘stories’ are typically released around holidays and aim to associate the brand with an emotional real-life story.

Jollibee videos are anxiously awaited in the Philippines much like the John Lewis Christmas ads and they often amass millions of views with days of their release.

This year, Jollibee Studios produced a genuinely heart-wrenching story about a boy with a birthmark on his face and the challenges he faces as he starts school. Throughout the video, he receives comforting words from his mother – and comforting food from Jollibee.

The story has a happy ending, but the brand appears to have found that a mix of melodrama and hamburgers give the brand wide awareness and deep engagement with its home country audience.

McDonald’s

Never missing a marketing opportunity, McDonald’s, too, has an emotional Mother’s Day 2019 video for Filipino consumers.

The drama is a short conversation between a little girl and her apparently single mother which takes place, unsurprisingly, in a McDonald’s. Through a creative use of french fries, the mother and the daughter discuss their somewhat complicated home life.

I won’t spoil the ending, but, like Jollibee, McDonald’s has delivered a well-orchestrated tug on the heartstrings – while keeping brand assets in view, naturally.

Malaysia

Vinda Deluxe Tissue

Vinda International is one of Asia’s largest paper product brands and produces an annual Mother’s Day video promoting its tissues. This year, its video offering is about how the various struggles of motherhood, from childbearing to attending your offspring’s wedding, often lead to tears which require strong tissues.

With its annual video achieving hundreds of thousands of views across YouTube and Facebook and thousands of shares, it seems that Vinda has found a way to use the platforms to reach its audience effectively.

Singapore

Nestlé

In Singapore, Nestlé markets its NAN Optipro 3 baby formula with an online forum called Nestlé Baby Club.

This Mother’s Day, the Baby Club shared a video on YouTube which, unlike others in the region, highlights the more mundane, yet essential, tasks of motherhood. It includes things every parent is familiar and frustrated with: Dressing kids, helping with homework and getting young children to eat.

But rather than only showing how Nestlé products make feeding children easier, the Baby Club is also providing mothers a free lunch at a local convention centre on Mother’s Day – giving its customers ‘an afternoon of quality time to refresh and recharge.’

Singtel

Singtel, Singapore’s leading telecoms provider, too, has a Mother’s Day campaign in Singapore. Rather than producing a video, though, Singtel has created a Mother’s Day gift edition of Dyson’s Supersonic hair dryer, adding a special brush and comb.

While the offer alone is perhaps unremarkable, what is interesting is that Singtel is offering a combination package of the hair dryer and a 1Gbps Fibre Broadband connection for a low monthly payment. The brand appears to be calculating that consumers will splurge on the popular, high-tech hair-dryer as the small monthly payments are easier for consumers to absorb than the full price of the Supersonic, which costs hundreds of dollars.

Thailand

Mother’s Day in Thailand is celebrated on the birthday of the Queen of Thailand, Queen Sirikit, the 12th of August.

Because of this, there are currently no Mother’s Day campaigns in the country, but one from 2018 is worth checking out. Produced by MullenLowe Thailand, for Krungsri First Choice, the short story was so well-received that it was awarded the ‘Best video clip of the year’ by the Cultural Ministry of Thailand.

It’s a real tear-jerker and will convince even the most hard-hearted to remember their mothers this year, especially those which gave up so much to get their children to where they are today.

Region-wide

KFC

Once again, KFC win the award for the most bizarre funny, and engaging, holiday advert.

This Mother’s Day, KFC has formed a band of male dancers dubbed the ‘Chickendales’. The video of the troupe’s dance act is hilarious (complete with stripping and chicken bucket outfits), but for those who want more, KFC has also created a website where customers can make a personalized Chickendales video for their own mother.

While the campaign doesn’t mention the deals that KFC is offering for mothers across SEA, this video will surely enjoy some viral success and spread the brand’s tongue-in-cheek humor across the region.

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