Product / ServiceABC SARDINES
CategoryA01. Food / Drink
Idea Creation VML SEA & INDIA Singapore, SINGAPORE
Additional Company 2 GEOMETRY INDONESIA Jakarta, INDONESIA


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?

Not always does market leading brand face a PR crisis that flips its fortunes around overnight – pushing sales down to a third. This happened to ABC Sardines, which was affected by Indonesia Canned Fish Association’s sudden announcement banning 27 mackeral brands due to the discovery of worms. The agility of the response, the opening up of the brand to press and concerned Indonesian mothers, and the genuine initiative for Indonesian kids makes it an example of turning around a PR crisis. The effort not only grew the brand, but also helped it achieve a historic MS high of 62.9%.


THE OVERNIGHT DESTRUCTION OF A $150M CATEGORY The Indonesian Canned Fish category was growing at 8% driven largely by the market-leader ABC Sardines at 55%+ Market Share. Then Mar 22nd, 2018 happened: where the Canned Fish Association of Indonesia released a press article, banning 27 brands from selling mackerel, citing presence of worms. Banning mackerel, not sardines. PERCEPTION TRUMPS REALITY The press didn’t distinguish between sardines and mackerel. To them, it was all Canned Fish. And as market leader, ABC Sardines became the poster child of the “worms” issue. Overnight, sales dropped to 1/3rd of their monthly value and penetration halved. While in reality ABC Sardines was completely safe, the perception was that Canned Fish = ABC Sardines = Unsafe. Brand Challenge 1. Convince Indonesia swiftly that ABC Sardines was completely safe 2. Get back lapsed users KPIs 1. Drive safety perception 2. Increase Penetration and Sales.

Describe the creative idea (20% of vote)

SECURING “SAFETY” THROUGH AGILITY One week after the crisis, ABC Sarden had a strong response to reassure consumers that it was ‘completely safe’ for their kids. This started by opening the factory for inspection to governmental bodies, journalists and concerned consumers - showcasing its stringent check and hygienic processes. These efforts did quell the safety concerns around the brand. However, we still had to win back those mothers who had shifted to other sources of protein. SHIFTING THE CONVERSATION FROM SAFETY TO INTELLIGENCE We discovered that PISA (Programme of International Student Assessment) ranked Indonesian kids 62 out of 70 nationalities in their ability of apply educational skills in daily life. This was a fertile opportunity for ABC Sardines who’s key benefit was around “intelligence”. CERDEKAN INDONESIA (MAKE INDONESIAN KIDS SMARTER) This idea set ABC Sardines on a mission – building real initiatives to sharpen the intelligence of Indonesian kids.

Describe the strategy (30% of vote)

Our recovery & regrowth was based on two aspects: BUSTING THE MYTH AROUND ABC SARDINES ABC Sardines went after the core concern of Indonesian mothers – ‘is it safe for my child?’ The strategy was ‘Don’t Say It, Show It’. The factory was opened-up for the world to see how the product went through 6 rigorous checks and double-heating which ensures that it is safe for kids. Press, influencers and parents saw it and endorsed the truth from the factory floor. REBUILDING THE BRAND CONNECTION Research showed Indonesian kids lagged behind most kids in their ability of apply their educational skills & understanding in daily life. ABC Sardines with brain development nutrition like Omega 3&6 had a clear role. This defined a higher mission - Cerdaskan Indonesia (Make Indonesian kids smarter) an effort to enhance learning in schools across Indonesia and make a difference through contemporary syllabus & nutritional intake.

Describe the execution (20% of vote)

ABC SARDINES IS SO SAFE, THAT YOUR CAN FEED YOUR CHILD We took a celebrity family into the factory to see the hygenic production process. Being convinced about the product’s safety, the mother chose to feed her child with ABC Sardines. This was followed-up with influencers and press-led-connections to answer concerned mothers. ABC CANNED FISH – CERDESKAN INDONESIA (MAKE INDONESIAN KIDS SMARTEST IN THE WORLD) To further the mission, ABC Sardines partnered with Ministry of Education and Indonesia Mengajar (an Educational NGO) to build a school outreach program that worked with kids as well as parents. A Brainy Squad – three incredibly smart Indonesian kid ambassadors and the Brainy Book - effective ways to remember and practice what kids learnt; were created. The program also coached kids on the importance of eating right and parents on the right nutrition for brain development while providing free samples of ABC Sardines.

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

BUSINESS LOSS ARRESTED WITH SHARES SHOOTING UP  Our efforts managed to stop the relentless decline in business and also turn it around to grow by 38%.  By the end of the period, our MS rose to 62.9% from 54.1% that it was before the PR nightmare. MAKING A REAL DIFFERENCE  8,000+ students between 10 and 12 years’ old across 50 schools in 14 Indonesian cities were engaged. 9,000+ Brainy Books were distributed to students, teachers and parents  Survey showed that 90% teachers felt students’ interest in reading and mathematics had increased. FAITH RESTORED  The campaign generated 3.8 billion IDR of earned media PR value  60% of mothers interviewed said they would serve ABC Sardines to their children in the future  Owing to the results that our efforts showed the brand decided to make Indonesian Mengajar a long-term commitment