Short List
Product / ServiceSINGTEL
CategoryB03. Corporate Reputation

The Campaign

PR was critical to seed the Hawker Challenge into culture. So that Singaporeans would make their voices known and become the creators of the campaign. By voting for their favourite Hawker Heroes, challenging Gordon Ramsay, judging whether the skills of this world famous Michelin-starred chef is better than Singapore’s best. Their own voices would drive the content and outcome of the campaign. As the nation’s leading telecommunications company, we needed our brand to connect more closely with Singaporeans, by inspiring every Singaporean to get involved to express their personal, and national, pride in the local dishes closest to their hearts.

The Brief

Continuous brand tracking studies showed us that the public felt SingTel’s image and relationship with them lacked warmth and relevance. Plus, our communications were historically dominated by traditional print advertising and had low appeal. Our campaign objectives were: to increase positive perceptions of our communications; to enhance our brand imagery for key attributes of ‘caring for customer needs’ and ‘a brand that enhances people’s everyday lifestyles’.


The campaign roused Singaporeans into action, sparking debate: • 2.5 million votes were cast • 2.2 million Facebook impressions • 85% of those that participated shared on social media Positively raising SingTel’s profile and making people feel SingTel is more relevant and warmer than ever before: • 95% of Singaporeans were aware of this SingTel Campaign • 82% liked the SingTel Hawker Hero voting stage of the campaign, with 81% liking the final SingTel Hawkers vs Ramsay Challenge cook-off • 60% increase in people feeling SingTel is a warm and friendly brand (versus previous brand campaign) • S$4.1million PR Value The campaign became such a part of Singapore culture, it will be archived by the National Library. They felt that this event organised by SingTel was of great resonance as it touched on the cultural foundation of Singapore, of our local food and our hawkers. And, want this memory to be preserved for many years to come.


The campaign was dependent on creating enough public debate and participation in voting for Singapore’s Top Three Hawker Heroes. If that was successful, it then required us to be able to persuade a locally recognised international celebrity chef to be willing to take them on in a cook-off challenge. It meant we needed to pre-plan as much as we could in advance, whilst being flexible enough to steer the campaign as it developed. And, if the public did rally behind the Hawker Heroes then there were only two potential chefs with the right profile to take up the challenge Jamie Oliver or Gordon Ramsay. Would either accept? SingTel issued the challenge to Gordon Ramsay, he accepted. Two short weeks later, he was in Singapore with our hawkers.

The Situation

Established over 100 years ago, SingTel is Singapore’s leading telecommunications company. However, in today’s multimedia world the company had an image problem. Although large, powerful and respected, it lacked relevance in everyday people’s lives. Plus its multimedia technologies were overlooked by Singaporeans who still perceived the company as a commodity phoneline provider not an innovative lifestyle enhancer. We saw an opportunity to tap into a cultural issue; the decline of local hawker culture – a source of personal and national pride to all Singaporeans. Leveraging this would bring the brand closer to people and help showcase SingTel’s innovative technology.

The Strategy

Campaign support needed to be seeded in culture, building on the groundswell about the local hawker decline. We used three key streams. Influential food critics and bloggers, radio DJ’s and Singapore’s post popular food/restaurant website – Hungry Go Where. From this, Hungry Go Where launched a movement to find Singapore’s Hawker Heroes, asking Singaporeans to vote for their favourite hawker food, cooked by their favourite hawker chef. Then we brought Gordon Ramsay into the picture, filmed him accepting a challenge issued by SingTel to take on our Top Three Hawker Heroes. This famous Michelin-starred chef believed he could beat Singapore’s best on their own turf, cooking their speciality local dishes. SingTel brought Ramsayto Singapore, visiting each hawker and culminating in a cook-off open to all Singaporeans, who were invited to come, taste and vote for the best dishes. The PR streams generated event participation, coverage and excitement throughout.


Name Company Position
Jennie Tsen Bbdo Singapore Pte Ltd Strategic Planner
Joan Lim Bbdo Singapore Pte Ltd Account Executive
Samantha Ho Bbdo Singapore Pte Ltd Account Manager
Ann May Chua Bbdo Singapore Pte Ltd Producer
David Tay Bbdo Singapore Pte Ltd Group Business Director
Chris Willingham Bbdo Singapore Pte Ltd Singtel Business Lead
Michelle Fun Bbdo Singapore Pte Ltd Copywriter
Primus Nair Bbdo Singapore Pte Ltd Copywriter
Shum Qi Hao Bbdo Singapore Pte Ltd Art Director
Douglas Goh Bbdo Singapore Pte Ltd Art Director
Douglas Goh Bbdo Singapore Pte Ltd Creative Director
Primus Nair Bbdo Singapore Pte Ltd Group Creative Director
Ronald Ng Bbdo Singapore Pte Ltd Chief Creative Officer
Danny Searle Bbdo Singapore Pte Ltd Chairman/Singapore/Vice Chairman/Asia