Extreme Branding or the Battle of the Cans

May 7, 2007 Blog 17 comments

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.

By Walter
Founder of Cooler Insights, I am a geek marketer with almost 24 years of senior management experience in marketing, public relations and strategic planning. Since becoming an entrepreneur 5 years ago, my team and I have helped 58 companies and over 2,200 trainees in digital marketing, focusing on content, social media and brand storytelling.


  1. 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

  2. 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?

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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… 😉

  6. 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.

  7. victor,

    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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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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