Old fashioned marketing won’t help Wonda achieve 20% market share in Malaysia

Wonda Coffee, owned by Asahi Group of Japan used The New Straits Times (NST) a Malaysian daily to launch its hallmark canned coffee with what the NST called “its first 5D advertisement campaign.”

According to the NST the campaign for the ready to drink coffee was “widely touted as the most amazing print-enabled campaign.”

It ran for four days and readers of the newspaper were promised they would be able to “engage their senses of touch, sight, sound, smell and taste with the launch of Wonda.”

There were multiple teaser ads before the launch, at least four full page ads in one edition of the paper, wraparounds of another, a four page ‘pop-up’ ad and sponsorships of whole supplements of the paper that required the use of 3D glasses. The 3D glasses were supposed to come with the paper but ours didn’t.

There were advertorials on the benefits of coffee, teaser ads and even a little music box that played a Wonda coffee Jingle that probably went out across radio. I couldn’t get it to work although it does now play occasionally, normally when nobody is near it.

Typical Wonda print ad
Typical Wonda print ad

There were also multiple messages, taglines and headings used in the campaign that I found confusing.

I don’t know the cost of this campaign but it won’t have been cheap. It is not uncommon for a brand to launch with a mass advertising campaign like this. It’s the wrong way but if you give your product launch to an advertising agency, what else can you expect?

One of the key points of a launch is to ensure that if any buzz is created and consumers buy into the idea of the product, their ability to engage physically with the brand must be seamless. In other words it needs to be available or better still be everywhere the consumer goes.

Although I’m a coffee drinker, I’m not a fan of instant coffee but I decided to buy the product. On the third day of the campaign, I went down to my local convenience store to buy Wonda. They sell most drinks here except it would seem, Wonda.

The following day the NST carried another full page ad for Wonda coffee with a coupon offering a can for 10 cents if you buy from 7eleven. So I tore out the coupon and went over to the local 7eleven. I had a look in the fridges and there was no sign of Wonda coffee. Competitor brands from Nescafe and others were represented and selling for RM1.90 (local brand) – RM2.20 (Nescafe).

I showed the coupon to the assistant and asked for my 10c drink. He wasn’t aware of the offer. However after some cajoling and a couple of rereads while the queue grew he went to the storeroom and got me a can. I asked what the retail price is and he said RM1.90. On the tin it says premium coffee yet is priced below Nescafe.

Since the big splash in the NST I’ve seen Wonda coffee posters at toll booths and there is at least one TVC (see below) so they are obviously spending a lot of money on traditional media.

But of course the initial buzz around the product launch will die down within a week or two once the advertising has stopped. In this era of social media, there is a great opportunity to maintain any traction by taking the marketing to the community.

I had a quick look on Youtube to see if there is a consumer driven competition there. All I could find was this TV commercial.

The TVC has been up for a month and has only received 400 views. Interestingly not one like or dislike. Seriously underwhelming but at least we know they haven’t paid for likes!

Determined now to find out how Wonda is engaging consumers on Social Media I figured there would be a big splash on Facebook, right? Nope. I couldn’t find anything. Twitter? Nothing.

I wonder why Wonda isn't using FB to launch itself
I wonder why Wonda isn’t using FB to launch itself

So here we are in 2014, launching a new product in Malaysia and there doesn’t seem to be any use of social media!

Even though Facebook is the most visited site in Malaysia – There are 10.5 million Facebook users in Malaysia (out of a population of about 27 million) and 3.5 million of those are 18 – 24, probably the perfect target market for this product. Social media is responsible for 33% of all web traffic in Malaysia.

Globally 93% of marketers rate social tools as important and 90% of them support this by using social media channels for business. In this social media dominated era, why aren’t the team responsible for launching Wonda using Social media?

Now of course I don’t know what else is involved in the launch of Wonda and it could be that some sort of Social media presence is part 2 of the launch.

Although not the right way to launch a product, I hope this is the case because ultimately, it will be consumers on social media who determine the success or failure of Wonda Coffee and not a traditional campaign pushed out across traditional media, no matter how creative it is and how ‘amazing’ it is.

Asahi is targetting 20% of Malaysia’s coffee beverage market with Wonda. If it continues to use old fashioned methods to launch and market Wonda and doesn’t leverage on Social Media, it won’t achieve this goal.