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How Kraft Heinz got Indonesians to consume more chili

Indonesians love their spice. This love extends to chili sauce too; evidenced by high category penetration of chili sauce and a category size which is upwards of 150 million. Kraft Heinz’s brand, Sambal ABC (Chili Sauce) was looking to grow its penetration in the market by getting consumers to eat more ABC Chili.

The consumption of chili sauce in the market was already high but had stayed stagnant in the category for half a decade. The reason was that while everyone ate chili sauce, the pairing was limited to only three to four kinds of food such as french fries, fried chicken and noodles. The perception in the market was that it paired well with only some kinds of food. This was unlike the reality in ABC’s Blind tests that showed Sambal ABC enhanced the taste of more than 100+ kinds of food. Tapping into this opportunity meant changing deeply ingrained behavior.

The communication challenge that Kraft Heinz and its agency VML Indonesia faced was to get spice loving Indonesians to pair Sambal ABC with all kinds of food.  The breakthrough happened during product test conducted to test the no. of foods that chili sauce would pair well with. We noticed during the tests that consumers were not only enjoying the new combos, but were actually competing to see who could try the craziest and most no. of pairings. The barrier to behaviour change dissolved through this game and became a currency for competition amongst Indonesian housewives. This led to the idea of a campaign that was a game instead – where Sambal ABC would become the toy and the game would be about pairing.

“Tantangan Sambal ABC (Sambal ABC Challenge)” came into existence – a game that challenged people to try Sambal ABC with all kinds of food. For it to be convincing, it needed to be 100 per cent real with no actors and no fabricated communication. The results of the game needed to be the mode of convincing people to expand their repertoire of dishes.

The game had two seasons hosted by Chef Bara – one of Indonesia’s top chefs. Season 1 was about recruiting participants into the game. Chef Bara travelled across the country in a food truck, gate-crashing college canteens, food courts and even restaurants where he challenged over 7500 Indonesians with fun food games involving 100 new Sambal ABC combos.

These games and experiments were filmed and used as content for TV, digital, radio and print – carefully promoting the challenge and not the product. If Season 1 was about recruiting players, Season 2 was about making the play challenging. It was a race between 10 food and travel bloggers spanning 5 cities as they went about trying over 1000+ food possibilities. The show was aired over 5 episodes on TV with an extended version for digital. Content from the bloggers served as traffic building media for the show itself.

Kraft Heinz achieved a reach of 19 million, 28.8m impressions, two million views, 1.0 per cent CTR mobile and over 39,000 visitors to the website. All of this led to robust business growth quarter-on-quarter, the company claims.

Andreas Christiadi, Head of VML Indonesia, said on the campaign, “It has been a unique opportunity to work on the Tantangan Sambal ABC for us. The campaign brings together live activation with digital content amplification, to carry through a brand message across channels.”