Product / ServiceSAMBAL ABC
CategoryB06. Use of Events & Stunts
Idea Creation VML SEA & INDIA Singapore, SINGAPORE


Name Company Position
Venkatagiri Rao VMLY&R CCO, SEA & India
Rahul Chawra VMLY&R Head of Planning, SEA & India
Andreas Christiadi Team WPP - Kraft Heinz Team WPP Lead - Kraft Heinz
Mudit Trivedi VMLY&R Managing Director

Why is this work relevant for PR?

Sambal ABC, Indonesia’s No. 1 chili-sauce brand with 50%+ MS was losing share because its users started to find competition more exciting. Sambal ABC decided to simply become more spicy; puns intended. Not through ads but acts that were genuine ‘World’s-Firsts’:  The World’s Spiciest Noodles in 2018  The World’s First Spice Insurance in 2019, in collaboration with AXA. 50M+ views, 2.6x PR ROI and 300 bps growth in Brand Penetration proved how it wasn’t ignored.


THINK INDONESIA. THINK SPICE. THINK SAMBAL ABC Indonesians are spice-crazy; with every household making chili mixes and 60%+ buying chili sauces. Sambal ABC was a monopolistic brand with more than 32% penetration in 2017. However, with Unilever’s entry into the category through Jawara and heated contest from others, Sambal ABC faced an alarming decline in Penetration. THE IDENTITY CRISIS Sambal ABC was losing consumers to competition because they simply had no other reason to stay, except familiarity and the odd promotion. Reason – it wasn’t a mindshare-leader despite being the market-leader. Our analysis revealed an obvious opportunity – for a category called “chili sauce”; no single brand including Sambal ABC owned the attribute of spiciness, per the MB brand health track Hence the brand’s key task was: Get lapsed users back through driving brand preference around “spiciness” The measurable KPIs: 1. Increase in Brand Penetration 2. Increase in Brand Equity

Describe the creative idea (20% of vote)

‘SPICY, LIKE NOTHING YOU’VE EVER EXPERIENCED’ Demonstrated through true ‘spice-firsts’: 2018: CO-CREATED PRODUCT I – SAMBAL ABC WORLD’S SPICIEST NOODLES Sambal ABC partnered with Abang Adek, Indonesia’s most famous warung (local restaurant) for spicy food. Together, the collaboration created Sambal ABC World’s Spiciest Noodles (certified by MURI) – a recipe consisting of 250 cabe rawits (small bird’s-eye chili) with a hearty dollop of Sambal ABC Extra Pedas (extra-spicy). We launched it at Ubud Food Festival in Bali amidst media-fanfare and used trial videos to build the ‘Wordless Reviews’ campaign. 2019: CO-CREATED PRODUCT II – SAMBAL ABC AXA PEDASURANSI Adding further credibility to this mother-of-all-spicy-dishes, Sambal ABC partnered with AXA to create the world’s first spice insurance; available for free to those who dared to try the World’s Spiciest Noodles. A digital music video invited all of Indonesia to sample this.

Describe the strategy (30% of vote)

The brand’s objective was to make the brand spicy – literally and metaphorically. To achieve this, two principles were followed: I – COMMUNICATE THROUGH BELIEVABLE ACTS, NOT EMPTY ADS The brand’s philosophy around communication has always been rooted in ACTS, NOT ADS, i.e. convincing people through actions rather than preaching; which we ensured in our products and our executions. II– BIG, BOLD & CREDIBLE PARTNERSHIPS To accelerate Sambal ABC’s perception around the claim of elevated ‘spiciness’; Sambal ABC chose to partner with credible co-creators who could help deliver a unique spicy experience. The Abang Adek partnership helped us create the Sambal ABC World’s Spiciest Noodles, which was certified by MURI as the world’s spiciest. A second partnership with AXA led to Sambal ABC AXA Pedasuransi – the world’s very first insurance for spiciness. These two partnerships helped add spicy credentials to Sambal ABC in their own way.

Describe the execution (20% of vote)

These acts over 18 months fuelled the power inherently present in our ‘World’s Firsts’ creations. 2018: SAMBAL ABC WORLD’S SPICIEST NOODLES The brand launched the noodles during ABC Ubud Food Festival (UFF) in Bali, Indonesia’s largest culinary event where media, celebrities and influencers flock each year. The attendees got an opportunity to experience the spice – while we got to capture their priceless reactions. These reactions were converted into ‘Wordless Reviews’ – content where expressions did the talking about spiciness. 2019: NATIONWIDE DARE WITH SAMBAL ABC AXA PEDASURANSI To push the brand’s spiciness further, the brand created an online music video in the form of a dare to the whole country, ‘Too spicy even for Indonesians.’ The narrative showed an army officer’s struggle escaping the spicy noodles, which were a precondition to promotion. The noodles with Pedasuransi were available at UFF and Abang-Adek for the brave ones to try.

List the results (30% of vote) – must include at least two of the following tiers:

The most important outcome of this innovative partnership-led approach with PR and social-amplification built at the heart of it, is the impact on business and brand: Business Impact: Penetration increased by more than 410 bps • Penetration not only stopped eroding, but grew by 410 basis points between the pre-campaign and post-campaign period, the largest growth in the category Brand Impact: Brand Power grew by more than 520bps, with all key competitors declining • There was a direct impact on the Brand Power (overall measure of a brand’s health) which increased by 520 basis points – the highest growth in the brand’s history. • This growth is mainly attributed to the Brand’s directional ownership of the key attribute this campaign intended to build on: ‘has the right level of spiciness’. Apart from delivering on the critical marketing requirements, the campaign also delivered its highest all-time results on PR and Engagement results. PR Impact: 5.8X ROI  110+ media mentions in less than a year and 250+ during the campaign period.  25,000+ Sambal ABC World’s Spiciest Noodles have been tried out by Indonesians already.  The events generated 5.8x Return on Investment thanks to the attendance from local and international press. Engagement Impact: 55 Million + views • The ‘Wordless Reviews’ amplification videos generated 22 Million + views. Thousands of them, flocked to get themselves a taste of the spiciest noodles. • The Pedasuransi launch digital film garnered around 33 Million + views with thousands of engagements