Campaign Spotlight

How Chowking and NuWorks turned a boycott into brand love

How would you deal with a potentially disastrous situation? Several entities and agencies have entire teams or departments dedicated to doing just that. In the case of a shocking turn of events that happened to Chowking during last year’s FIBA Asia Championship in China, intense passion and love for basketball resulted in an unusual circumstance.


Even as the Gilas-Pilipinas’ squad was defeated 78-67 by the hometown squad from China, dashing our chances for an outright Olympic berth at this year’s Rio Olympics, bad calls by referees sparked anger among many Filipino netizens. The outrage called for a boycott of all things Chinese, including dining at popular fastfood chain Chowking.



Within hours of this boycott call going viral on social media, NuWorks Interactive Labs, Inc. was crafting a witty answer. Diffusing the situation with humor was critical in order to show that Chowking didn’t take itself too seriously, and that the brand could wade in the social media stream.


What followed was a series of witty Tweets that displayed that humor and quickly won praise and re-Tweets worldwide. This particular Tweet was liked over 6,900 times and re-Tweeted 4,900 times on Twitter. 


NuWorks followed that up with another equally humorous Tweet poking fun at the concept of “lutong Macau” or referees favoring the Chinese side over Gilas-Pilipinas.


These Tweets became part of a campaign that NuWorks called “From Brand Boycott to Brand Love,” and resulted in NuWorks Interactive Labs, Inc. being awarded Gold for Best Crisis Management for Chowking at Marketing Magazine’s third annual PR Awards held on March 23, 2016 at the Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore.


The NuWorks team was composed of Chairman and President Jeff Saez, Business Development Manager Pat Bautista, Account Manager Enzo Nanagas, Account Executive Alex Santos, Creative Officer Vandy Pesarillo, Copywriter Hope Reyes, Trix Rodriguez of Engagement, Strategy and Analytics Head Manny Gonzales, Associate Strategy Head Lourdes Batac, and Analyst Vashti Choa-shi.


Over 80 brands and more than 50 agencies from across Southeast Asia made it to the short list as finalists and the champions for 2016 were chosen by a jury made of senior communications professionals from across the region and a wide range of industries.


A love for basketball and Chinese food could have been disastrous if things were not handled in a timely and humorous manner as NuWorks did for Chowking. But thanks to a quick response, witty rhetoric, and intelligent use of social media, it actually turned into a boon that earned Chowking even more admiration from its audience.


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