Peeling off the layers of Michelin-starred chef Andre Chiang
Andre Chiang could be a world famous Michelin star chef. However, consumers might not know who he really is beneath all the glitz, glamor, and fame he has received throughout his career. Last year, Chef Andre closed his very famous restaurant Andre in Singapore, much to the shock of fans and repeat customers. With Chef Andre’s return to Taiwan, Tribal Worldwide Singapore wanted to rejuvenate his brand and give consumers a better understanding of who he is beyond his reputation as a celebrity chef. As such, they created a film titled “Andrew and his Olive Tree” which not only gained international fame but also won Tribal Gold for Most Creative – Content Marketing at INTERACTIVE-MARKETINGthe recent MARKies Awards 2021.
Michelin chef Andre Chiang shocked consumers when he closed his very famous restaurant Andre in Singapore and moved to his hometown of Taiwan. Amid the shock, there was also a need to rejuvenate Chiang’s personal brand as he took root in another country while retaining his existing clients and converting new ones. Nonetheless, Chef Andre is constantly covered by mainstream media and his brand is saturated in the online space. Despite this, few people really know who Chef Andre really is.
Therefore, creative agency Tribal Worldwide Singapore and production house AMOK decided to reduce noise online by focusing on a theatrical release of chef Andre’s intimate story, uplifting the brand with the big screen. and helping Chef Andre stay connected to his customer base. This was done in the form of the movie titled “Andrew and his Olive Tree” which was released last year amid the pandemic.
According to DDB, the decision to release a film last year was “a bold step,” given that theatrical releases have been postponed due to the pandemic. Even big budget franchises such as James Bond, Mission Impossible 7, and Pixar’s Soul have also been hit by the virus.
Chef Andre’s sudden decision to close his restaurant prompted a series of questions about his reasons for leaving. This created the perfect backdrop for a feature-length documentary with commercial potential, Tribal said, given the legion of fans who have followed Chef Andre’s journey as Chef Michelin. However, it was important not only to maintain the chef’s brand with existing consumers, but also to extend its reach to everyday Singaporeans.
Additionally, the news about Restaurant Andre was also saturated with media coverage, and the team felt the need to cut the noise and tell a singular story that would strengthen the chef’s brand and set his legacy in motion. According to Tribal, these goals could only be achieved if the team broke creative and safe boundaries, and pulled for a format that no other traditional agency had done before.
Therefore, Andre and his olive tree follow Chef Andre as he makes his coveted accolades and permanently closes his beloved eponymous restaurant in Singapore. With the big screen being a medium traditionally known to be aimed at the mass market while still retaining a universal appeal that brings glamor and glitz, Tribal said the format was perfect for showing how relevant Chef Andre was, not just for one. well-to-do crowd. but also to the masses who might not be familiar with the food scene.
With movie releases postponed during the pandemic, Tribal and AMOK knew they had to make sure this movie still had a massive theatrical release. Therefore, he decided to launch the film first in Taiwan where the pandemic was more or less under control, and use the Taiwanese box office success to generate more interest in Singapore.
According to the team, this was necessary given that many films made in Singapore generally do not receive as much support from its local audiences. However, Tribal said they managed to overcome this with the proven method that many local artists and films have used. Singaporean singers Tanya Chua, JJ Lin and Stefanie Sun, for example, all stood out abroad ahead of their homecoming success.
At the same time, the launch date in Singapore has also been specially designed to be during phase three of the reopening of COVID-19 prevention measures, where many Singaporeans are said to be eager to have fun with friends, although in smaller groups. Therefore, Tribal chose a strategic timeline after the release of the Christmas movies and before the international Chinese New Year blockbusters so as not to face unnecessary competition.
Tribal’s filmmaker Josiah Ng chose a treatment for the 104-minute documentary that was both raw and authentic to tell an intimate version of Chef Andre’s story that had never been seen before by the media. Additionally, Tribal said the long format is a good way to navigate its story using the relationships around it. It helped humanize Chef Andre as an everyday man on the streets despite his accolades.
The film was presented in eight chapters and inspired by its trademark “octaphilosophy” or the eight elements of Chiang’s gastronomy: salt, texture, memory, pure, territory, south, artisan, unique. This brought Chef Andre’s understanding of the creative process closer and created an appreciation for who he is, Tribal said.
With the media now focusing on Chef Andre’s never-before-seen side, the chef has also benefited from additional media coverage on his decision to close his restaurant and his future plans.
Several large-scale events have taken place in Taiwan in four of its major cities, including Taipei, Tainan, Taichung, and Kaohsiung. The team also invited international celebrities such as Vaness Wu, David Tao and Matilda Tao for the screenings and according to Tribal, these celebrities endorsed Chef Andre’s touching and empowering story in the film. The event was also covered by several high profile media in Taiwan, including Apple Daily, Vogue Taiwan and South China Morning Post, as well as lifestyle and food blogs.
To amplify its impact, the film has also been submitted to festivals on different continents and has been officially selected to participate in the 26th San Antonio Film Festival (America), 17th Reykjavik International Film Festival (Iceland), 2020 Taiwan Film Festival in Toronto (Canada). This sparked much-needed pre-launch interest in the film ahead of its official Singapore release.
The film officially premiered on January 14 this year at Golden Village, FilmGarde and The Projector theaters. The first event brought together local influencers and industry professionals including Royston Tan, Benjamin Kheng, Olivia Ong, Roz Pho, Loh Lik Peng and Anita Fam.
In addition to the feature film’s theatrical release in Taiwan and Singapore, Tribal also bolstered the main event with pieces of content that would help Chef Andre bridge his brand name to geographic boundaries. This included live question-and-answer content on Facebook, candid behind the scenes and a photo book on a coffee table.
The film was eventually sold to Netflix and the Discovery Channel for viewing on their platforms, creating additional access for many in Singapore during the pandemic. According to Tribal, having the film listed on a popular and ubiquitous streaming platform such as Netflix helped make the film an important film to watch and, by extension, to portray Chef Andre’s brand in a new light. positive.
Since its premiere in Taiwan last August, the film has grossed over SG $ 474,000 and according to Tribal, it is the documentary with the highest box office sales for Taiwan in 2020. Andre and his olive tree also beat Disney’s Mulan at the Taiwanese box office for two weeks, the team said.
Netflix also bought the worldwide digital broadcasting rights for the film, while the Discovery Channel bought the free broadcasting rights in Asia. According to the team, this is a testament to the quality, demand and commercial visibility of the film.
In Singapore, the film also received a favorable reception from the public. According to ratings from Cinema Club GV, the film received 4.5 out of five stars with deserved media coverage covering The Straits Times, Lianhe Zaobao, Tatler Singapore, U Weekly Magazine, Prestige Magazine, Channel NewsAsia radio, Gold 90.5 radio and One FM 91.3 radio.
According to Tribal, the team also achieved two million impressions and a SG value of US $ 2 million without any marketing spend. Chef Andre’s restaurant in Taiwan also saw its attendance increase by 200%. At the same time, the film’s ROI was also six times the amount invested in its production and promotion.