Extreme Branding or the Battle of the Cans

May 7th, 2007   •   17 comments   •   Author: Walter Lim   

Driving along Victoria Street after a meal at the famous Jackson Kopitiam at MacPherson, I spotted this anomaly right smack in our city area just outside Bugis Junction.


Yes, your eyes ain’t kidding you. We do have a Wholesale Centre just outside the city called the Victoria Street Wholesale Centre. Apparently, they have 41 units of tenants who specialise in all manner of dry food supplies and special ingredients that you can’t get elsewhere. Now aunties and housewives from every corner of Singapore have a place that they can go to for that extra “lemak” curry!

What especially amazed me however, wasn’t so much the assortment of traders in the wholesale centre. Rather, it was the example of all out in-your-face branding taken by Skylight Abalone‘s parent company Kwang Yeow Heng International as you can see below.


All the canvas shades surrounding the four sides of Victoria Wholesale Centre carried the brand logos, images, red colour and cans of Skylight Abalone and its sister seafood products (Buddha Jump Over the Wall, Sharksfin, Limpets etc). If I didn’t look closer, I would have thought that this was the abalone HQ of Singapore! Unfortunately, some of the colours were fading and this made the “cans” of abalone look less appetising on the canvas.

How does Kwang Yeow Heng’s largely below-the-line advertising strategy (which are mostly on site through the use of banners, posters and flyers) compare with that of its chief rival Goh Joo Hin?

Unlike the former, Goh Joo Hin embraces a largely above-the-line advertising strategy coupled with massive doses of celebrity endorsement. The parent company of brands like New Moon Abalone and Mili Mushrooms advertises heavily on mainstream media like television and newspapers. It also employs A-list celebrities like Fann Wong, Kym Ng and Stefanie Sun to grab your attention and get the message across.


In my view, I feel both approaches have their merits. Skylight’s effort is probably more grassroots oriented and aimed at its existing pool of customers. On the other hand, New Moon is likely to attract the first time and occasional purchasers of fine canned seafood products.

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  1. Benjamin Koe
    posted on May 07, 2007 at 2:37 PM

    I like the photos! =)

  2. posted on May 07, 2007 at 2:10 PM

    Haha… any brand is good. but i prefer the fresh and big one from Ah Yat Abalone.

    I rem those huge ad of Skylights. My family used to be the loyal customers of Skylights but these few years i noticed we had New Moons during CNY steamboat dinner. I wonder if this is the effect of the celebrity commercial ads but my dad said new moon abalones are bigger.LOL

  3. posted on May 07, 2007 at 2:59 PM

    zeezee, I recalled that Ah Yat Abalone restaurant was pretty famous a couple of years ago. Back then, there was a time when it was considered a luxury seafood item. It still is these days, but the emphasis is more on cooking technique to bring out its flavour.

    I am sure you must have heard about the best abalones coming from Mexico? Maybe there are some in Brazil too?

  4. posted on May 07, 2007 at 3:00 PM

    ben, thanks! Done with a tiny consumer digital camera.

  5. posted on May 07, 2007 at 3:23 PM

    Thank you for the post. It has exposed to me to concepts such as below-the-line, and above-the-line advertising strategy.

  6. Lam Chun See
    posted on May 08, 2007 at 9:42 AM

    I have not taken a close look at this place, but it looks like some of the stalls were from the former Blanco Court, where they used to have many cheap ‘wholesale centre’ type of shops.

  7. Anonymous
    posted on May 08, 2007 at 11:37 AM

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  8. posted on May 08, 2007 at 12:43 PM

    oceanskies, no prob. Hope that it has been at least partially educational for you! Of course, there is alot more marketing and advertising theory in the books, but I usually prefer to approach it in a hands-on pragmatic fashion.

  9. posted on May 08, 2007 at 12:44 PM

    Chun See,

    Thanks for sharing. I thought Blanco Court was more of stationery and party supplies wholesalers and retailers. Obviously I haven’t been around as much as you do… 😉

  10. posted on May 08, 2007 at 12:45 PM


    I don’t mind checking out your outlet but can you provide me and my pals some free beer? 😉

  11. posted on May 08, 2007 at 3:30 PM

    Goh Joo Hin obviously paid big bucks in their heavily celebrity-endorsed advertisements which were disseminated via various media. On the other hand, Kwang Yeow Heng seemed to work on a shoestring advertising budget – they probably only sponsored the the blinds in your example, so they did not have to pay recurring advertising costs. (I don’t know if this is what is meant by “below-the-line” and “above-the-line” marketing because I can’t seem to load your linked pages on my slow PC.)

    As to which method brings a better return per advertising dollar spent could be anyone’s guess. New Moon is a more established brand while Skylight is a relatively new brand. Weight for weight, the former is definitely more expensive. As for quality, I seldom eat abalone so I can’t compare.

  12. posted on May 08, 2007 at 10:50 PM


    Astute observations indeed. What Kwang Yeow Heng does with sponsoring the blinds is similar to the strategy that Asia Pacific Breweries did with the Tiger Beer brand for coffee shop counters, umbrellas at beer gardens and blinds at F&B places. Of course, Tiger Beer is also heavily advertised on mainstream media unlike Skylight Abalone.

    Both strategies work to a certain extent but it really depend on where the bulk of your key customers hang out. I believe that Skylight Abalone embraces the “push” strategy in advertising more closely than New Moon. What this means is that it chooses to work with its distributors and channels to incentivise them rather than directly to the consumer.

    New Moon on the other hand uses more of the “pull” strategy – ie using advertising to directly reach consumers and get them to make the purchase decision. This is usually more expensive in terms of media costs, but entails less effort in working with one’s intermediaries.

  13. posted on May 09, 2007 at 2:41 AM

    Brazil dun hv abalone leh… but Chile have. Big one somemore!!

  14. Lam Chun See
    posted on May 09, 2007 at 11:10 AM

    I don’t like abalone. Am I wierd? I also don’t like Sushi. I must be … sigh.

  15. posted on May 09, 2007 at 3:34 PM

    actually abalone itself is not much of taste. Its teh cooking style n sauce that make it nice.

  16. posted on May 10, 2007 at 12:53 AM

    chun see and zeezee,

    Yes agree that its the texture and characteristics of abalone that makes it prized as a delicacy. I think chun see is not alone as many of my associates and friends do not take kindly to raw or even cooked seafood.

    As for me, you probably already know the answer.

  17. Anonymous
    posted on Feb 07, 2011 at 2:35 AM

    Sick and tired of abalone during the Chinese New Year.

    And I checked out this kewl desserts eatery called Buttercake n Cream located at Sunset Way.

    Check it out!

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