As we sat down at the Starbucks of a suburban mall in Subang, Pierre said to me
“Tim. We have a new product for Mamee coming out. It’s called Mamee Monster Biskidz and because the Mamee Monster brand goes a long way back for the company, we need to make sure I put together a campaign that works. But because it’s a new product, I don’t have a big marketing budget… so I need it to go viral on social media. And you’re the only person I know in Malaysia who consistently virals stuff so please help me.”
The target market was moms. They created a product that has the thin crispiness of a potato chip, but it was actually a biscuit. So it was a healthier snack alternative to chips. It was available in slim packaging so it’s easy to carry around to act as an emergency snack when moms are travelling with their kids and their kids get hungry.
The good news was that the product was great.
The bad news was that its main target market is one of the hardest target markets to market to. Moms.
Moms are the most powerful and lucrative consumer market out there. They are the decision makers in buying just about every household item. In my home my wife chooses what eggs to buy, what tissue paper, what milk, what soap, heck she even chooses what bed sheets I sleep on. I pay for it… but she chooses. Because moms are so powerful, just about every single brand is finding different ways to sell something to them be it household stuff or things for their kids.
And this brings us to an even deeper problem.
Moms are the guardians of their kids and they have the highest standards of everything their kids use. Higher than even for themselves (how many moms do you know who drink Coke but don’t let their kids have any). Yet brands are pushing product to moms on a regular basis and all more or less in the same way.
So how do you sell to moms?
You have to build trust.
How do you build trust?
You build trust with a person when he or she takes an effort to really listen, understand and empathize with how you feel. Trust is further built when after doing that, that person does something to help you.
So idea is first to empathize… then to provide the solution which Mamee Monster Biskidz was made to be.
The question though is what and how.
I spent the next week after our meeting at Starbucks talking to moms and really just listening. One thing that really stuck with me was the struggle of the modern mom. Society is really harsh on the modern mom. Modern moms are expected to sometimes work and earn a living like their husbands, yet they’re also expected to take care of the kids, manage the household and even take care of their husbands. On top of that all they’re also expected to ensure they take care of how they physically look to other people.
That’s just really really hard and I found that many moms fall deeper into depression under all this pressure. The one thing that makes all this worse? Social media.
The Facebook or Instagram posting that your favourite parenting blogger posts of the perfect beautifully decorated meals that they cook for their kids, or the beautiful family photo shoots when everyone is happy or how our celebrity moms manage to deliver kids and lose all their baby weight in a month.
The problem with social media though is that it’s not real life. People post the best of them on social media so we only see one side, but as a result of that moms start feeling that they’re not doing a good enough job as a mom and get even more depressed.
So the idea I had?
Tell the real moms the truth. That there is no perfect mom and there should be no pressure to be a perfect mom. Every mom no matter how imperfect in the eyes of mothers need to know that they’re great moms and that’s all that matters. That we should stop embracing perfect moms and instead celebrate imperfect moms!
How do we do that?
I thought of creating a video that told the story of 3 real life celebrity moms in Malaysia and how their beautiful Instagram photos don’t necessarily reflect real life.
Pierre thought it was a brilliant idea but great ideas are only as good as how they’re executed. So we put together a team of the most capable people we know.
There was the team of Sashimi who was Mamee’s digital agency, Reelity.TV (a Netccentric company) and Playground Productions that put together the video and a great team at Mamee who oversaw the whole thing. It was one of the most turbulent video productions I’ve ever seen. We’ve had problems like a key talent falling sick on the day of the shoot and us having to replace that person. Or that we thought we had a great video made on to test it and see that it failed to get a good response from a different demographic.
While I was involved in the first half of the project, by the second half I had taken a step back and the team from the agencies above handled everything on their own accord. It was the most amazing team I’ve ever seen. Everyone was motivated to create a video that really impacted people instead of thinking of their bottom line.
When you put 10 very very capable people in the room, there’s bound to be a lot of pressure and differing opinions but the team at Mamee held everything together. Mamee also worked with Sashimi, Reelity.TV and Playground as partners rather than vendors. Listening to their opinions and taking risk. They weren’t worried about how many seconds their product appeared in the video. They were only concerned about whether the video spoke for moms. There was authenticity in what everyone was trying to do. We weren’t trying to sell product. We were trying to build a brand.
Finally the video came out and with only an initial marketing spend of RM1,700 on Facebook ads, the video reached thousands of shares and over 250,000 views in 8 hours. A day later the video hit 14,500 shares and almost 800,000 views. The best part though was in the comments. Moms commented about how grateful they were that Mamee Monster as a brand understood them. That this brand hadn’t looked to push product to them at the first encounter, but to first empathize.
This is the new start of the Mamee Monster brand. It’s not a biscuit or a snack brand. It’s a brand that aims to support mothers by sometimes saying things that moms themselves don’t say and by creating products that solve their problems.
It’s a brand that understands that you first have to empathize with your customer before you sell him or her something.
Special thanks goes out to the people who worked together through blood sweat and tears to put this video together:
From Sashimi: Desmond, Lee Fen, Fayth
From Reelity.TV: Michael and Isaiah.
From Playground Productions: Faisal, Megat, Azman, Ismail, Razaisyam and Bajai.
And last but not least from Mamee: Li Yein, Meng Yang, Alysha, Kenneth and Hui Ying.