Sunday, 24 May 2009

Cadbury Buttons Fun on the Farm

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(Shean Wenn's been to Fun on the Farm @ Mudchute Park)

I heard over the radio in the car last week about this event and promptly came home to research about it .Their website over here was pretty interesting, with illustration of the Cadbury's Button's mascots all in brilliant colours. Since the event was free (just register online to get a max of 4 tickets. Beats me if you have a family of 5 or more!), I duly registered for the 3 of us.

After sending my parents off to the airport (they fly back to KL today), we went back and got ready for this. It was a HOT HOT DAY! Briliant for a day out, I thought!
(Shean Wenn "driving" us to Mudchute Park)

We arrived at Mudchute Park after lunch and the whiff of grilling hotdog from the jumbo hotdog stall outside the entrance really tempted us to grab another bite!! Shean Wenn excitedly walked and ran to the entrance, she's a chirpy chatter... a kid was coming out of the event with an owl mask and she squeeled "OWL OWL! Wooooohh wooohhh (the sound that owl makes)". I had big expectation of this event, especially when it involved such a big name in confectionery.

BOY... was I in for a big disappointment.

The whole point of organising something as exciting and targetted like this is of course for publicity of your product or brand.

The event itself : Tents were scattered across a vast field. When you first enter, you get to pet the farm animals on the left : Sheep, Ducks & chickens, goats, etc. Then you are met with the Cadbury's main event section : A few tents that host a few activities. I guess they expected a bigger turn out for this event but I could see alot of empty spaces. It was very child-friendly though, with ample toilets & baby changing facilities on the grounds and a section for First Aid - very well done.

(Click on image for a bigger view)

The animal petting section : Shean Wenn loves looking at the ducks & chickens. She also pet a lamb! Their activity zone (Monkey Climbing & Activity Zone) was too old for SW, so we tried to engage her in some other stuff. Meng carried her and she dunked a ball into the basketball hoop. Then we headed off to meet the mascots. I think this was the part she enjoyed doing alot! We met with Monkey, Pig & Penguin!! She was soo delirious - I remember when I was younger I was terrified of mascots... I will shy under my mom's sleeves and will not budge and no amount of coaxing & bribing will be able to persuade me to shake hands or take a photo with it! SW on the other hand was a good-natured "fan". She waited for her turn while the older kids "inspect" the animals : touching, poking (yes, I saw a few kids trying to poke and torture the poor mascots!), sniffing, shouting at or pulling the mascot. When it was her turn, she went and shook their hands/fins/paws, touched it gently & posed for a photo. Oh, she was just the cutest fan!
Mr Piggy meeting with his little fans!

Miss Cheeky With Mr Monkey!
She loves the penguin, when asked what penguins do? She will imitate their waddle.

And boy, I do pity those who were inside the mascot's costume - what a scorching day it was and they must've almost suffocate underneath that layer! Good job to them.

Looking around, I see that some tents were a little empty. We went to one which I thought SW might enjoy. The table where we could decorate a cookie! SW was given a Tea Biscuit and we could decorate it with the accompaniments.. but wait, all the bowls were SOOO empty! There were a measly amount of silver balls, decorating icing etc around - just look at the photo below to see. It feels like they were really rationing their stock (For what and who???). Anyway, SW was quite happy that mommy helped her out with her cookie - Look! (Daddy didn't know how to operate my mobile's macro-mode)
A helping hand from mummy

In the same tent, SW wanted to play with their sandbox. SADLY, both sandboxes lack the most important "ingredient" : the SAND! I had to ask a member of staff if they have extra sand. The helpful girl came over and poured a few handfuls of sand into the one SW was playing. And yes, she didn't bother filling in the other box!!!.. Oh, the poor kids. I saw a boy scooping some sand from this box to the other box so he culd play in it. What's with this rationing of items?? Oh, I would find more to come.

BEFORE the filling of sand : Look how sad it is to play here.

AFTER : Much better.

Goodie Bag : Best way for your customers to get to know you better is to know what you're about. What was in SW's goodie bag? ONE (1) pack of Cadbury Button (roughly 25g), 1 Mask in one of the mascots, 1 sheet of stickers of all of their mascots (6 stickers on that sheet), 1 colouring book & a pack of crayons. Honestly, Cadbury could've put a little more effort (ie goodies) into this. My suggestions : Put a few packs of Buttons, some money-off vouchers as a reward for your next purchase and perhaps a few souvenirs that a child could have that will help remind them of your product/brand? I mean, if you spent money developing the whole "identity" of your product which resulted in 6 mascots, surely you could have prepared something that will help jog their memories of you?

This is like a perfect case study of "How (NOT) to host a Product Marketing Event during the Credit Crunch" - just scrimp on everything and hope no one will notice. Give them bare minimum to work with and see how brilliant they can imagine our product to be. And perhaps they will also feel the imaginary JOY!

Success factor?
Location : 5 stars.
Did SW enjoy it? She sure did! And that's probably most important.
Will SW know what's Cadbury's Buttons? Unlikely because by the time she opens the small pack that they gave her, she'll have to share some of it with her friends or mom. :D
Will SW urge her mom/dad to get her a pack of Buttons when she sees them in the supermarket? Unlikely, one pack of sample isn't enough to jog her memory.
Will SW voluntarily ask her mom for a pack of Buttons? No.

My thoughts? A flop when it comes to both entertainment value for a kid of 2YO or from a point of a marketing event. Don't scrimp, it's no fun, I can't imagine how good your product is if I cannot see/touch/taste it and I certainly won't be tempted to pick up the next pack of Buttons when I'm shopping at Tesco's.

Meng commented that if we had to pay for tickets, he'd ask for a full refund! Me, I'm left wondering how could Cadbury's get this SO WRONG??

(As a Cat Man (category manager) I've done my fair share of organising this kind of event to know how to promote & market fast moving consumer goods)

Saturday, 16 May 2009

Afternoon Tea

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On Wednesday, my friend Michelle invited Jessica & I over to her place for tea. Actually it was to thank Jessica for baking the lovely cake for Kaka's Birthday.

After attending the playgroup, I met up with Jessica for lunch at the nearby cafeteria. Then, we headed to the bus stop and took a bus (it was a 45min ride from there to Michelle's place) over to Michelle's home.

Michelle was going to bake us English Scones & Jessica brought over some ready-made ingredients for her egg tarts!

The process :
Kneeding the dough for the egg tarts into their mould.

Pour egg-mix into the top. Bake.

Enjoying ourselves!

Voila!! Yummy scones fresh from the oven.

Egg Tarts.

What were the kids busy doing? Doing what they know best - PLAYING!

Showing off their masterpieces (I'm just there to be in the photo :D I didn't contribute making them at all.)

By the time the scones & tarts were done, the wind has died down a little. It was still a tad chilly and it wasn't a brilliant day, but at least it wasn't raining so we decided to have our Tea outside, English-style, of course. Scones with clotted cream & jam, English Tea (with milk) & Egg Tarts & soya bean drink! Haha.. it's a case of east-meets-west. Sorta.

We enjoyed it so much although by the time I went home, I was KNACKERED! We reached home at 645pm and that night, we had simple dinner because I didn't have time to cook a proper meal. Shean Wenn was so tired she slept from then to the next morning, waking up around midnight so I made her a bottle of milk since she skipped dinner.

Monday, 11 May 2009

Karmen's 2nd Birthday Party

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Last Saturday was Shean Wenn's friend, Karmen's 2nd birthday and her parents : my friend Michelle & her husband Simon held a BBQ for her big day!

Everyone has a role to play in this party :

1. Meng, the BBQ Chef! Thanks to my hubs (the Australian BBQ Connoiseur), we get chicken wings just grilled to perfection, frankfurters that are crunchy on the outside but still maintained its moisture inside, and juicy pork steaks (he commented that the steaks were cut too thick, should've been thinner - all bow to his vast knowledge in BBQ! Hail the BBQ snob!)

2. SK the Engineer : DIY man-of-the-day, SK managed to fix up the trike we got for Kaka's birthday in record time! (Uhhh.. that's in between complaining of hunger and how the manual is mocking him :P) Thanks to him, the kids who roamed around the garden that sunny saturday got to ride on it safely, and gleefully!
3. Shean Wenn, the chic gardener : Hey, teddy needs to get somewhere, doesn't he?
4. Tsu Lin : Trying to set up the choc fondue but it failed miserably - oh wells... but at least a few of us got to use it before the choc got hardened and stuck on the machine.
Garden roamers : The kids absolutely loved all the garden toys and basking in the sun! (Tobey pushing birthday girl Kaka while SW stops to pose with her frankfurters!) This is the first time SW is actually POSING infront of the camera - I think she didn't do too badly, did she?
ML & I with the kids! After all their hardwork, it's time to sit and enjoy with a can of beer. The mummies Cake cutting ceremony : With the cake made by our friend Jessica who's pursuing a course in cake-making and will be happy to take orders soon!

Me & my dear daughter who's testing out Karmen's new trike (A pressie from us).

Opening presents time : Shean Wenn is always eager to help! :)

Goody bag from Karmen : SW is more interested in what's in her goody bag than returning Kaka's kiss!! Oh, my little girl!
HAPPY 2nd BIRTHDAY little Karmen!

(All photos courtesy of Michelle Kong)

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