Accenture Song Debuts New Documentary Highlighting Singapore Hawkers Reinventing Their Businesses

The film calls for a safeguard of the hawker culture which has been declared an intangible UNESCO Cultural Heritage of Humanity

Image via Accenture Song

Accenture Song has released its first documentary in Southeast Asia entitled ‘Second Servings’ that shines a spotlight on Singapore hawker veterans including a vadai maker, an elderly couple selling chicken rice and a char kway teow master. The documentary highlights their stories of reinvention through creativity and digital technologies.

Directed by Reshma Ailmchandani, the 46-minute unscripted documentary follows the hawkers’ journeys, struggles, and successes as they teamed up with Accenture Song for new ways to preserve their heritage dishes and update for the future.

Working with a team of creatives, designers, strategists and technologists over ten months, Accenture Song created digital marketing and product innovation strategies to help the hawkers switch up new ways of doing business.


 

With more than 13,000 licensed hawker stalls, hawker centers and coffee shops are ubiquitous in Singapore’s food scene. In 2020, Singapore’s hawker culture was declared an intangible UNESCO Cultural Heritage of Humanity, a nod to the multiculturalism of the country. However, the national median age for hawkers is about 60 years old. Rising operating costs, changing consumer preferences and a fast pace of change have proved the trade to be unsustainable in recent years, presenting a question mark on the future of the hawker culture.

‘Second Servings’ is a direct call to action to remind Singaporeans to safeguard the living culture and inspire hawkers of the opportunity to reinvent their trade.

Johnny Tan, Accenture Song’s Southeast Asia chief creative officer, said: “‘Second Servings’ captures the tangible results of what creativity and innovation can deliver. As the hawker trade evolves, we must ensure its connection with people, especially the younger generation, throughout their lives. Putting our repertoire of skills to serve up delightful experiences for meaningful change is humbling.


 

We hope these stories of change can inspire further collaboration as we create a future where our cultural heritage thrives and where local businesses can be relevant for future generations.”

Gina Rajan of Gina’s Vadai wants to preserve her husband’s legacy and evolve from a nostalgic brand to a celebrated Singaporean snack. Accenture Song was tasked with enhancing the brand appeal to a younger audience with creative communications across online and offline channels.

Having undergone a brand and packaging makeover, supported by local craft beer pairing and collaboration with culinary consultant and chef Elvin Chew to launch three uniquely Singaporean dips: salted egg, chilli crab and rojak ­– the humble vadai or savoury fried fritter transforms into a snack that packs a more flavourful punch for customers. Gina has since doubled her social media followers and increased her sales by 15%.

Image via Accenture Song

Image via Accenture Song

Image via Accenture Song

As the competitive landscape of the hawker trade evolves with increasing digital touchpoints and changing customer’ palates, Frankie Yeow and his wife, Jane, of Hwa Kee Lemon Chicken Rice joined forces with Accenture Song to make a step change in repositioning their chicken rice business.

Besides implementing digital payment gateways and food delivery services, Accenture Song also helped to relaunch its fan-favourite Lemon Chicken Rice on the menu and serve up hearty soups that customers now return for. The efforts saw a 25% increase in sales for Hwa Kee.

Battling old age with no successor in sight, Tan Boon Kiat of Armenian Street Char Kway Teow needs to find a way for future generations to taste his heritage dish of stir-fried flat rice noodles. Through robotic arms and digital capture, Accenture Song embarks on a journey to co-create and preserve the legacy dish for the future. This documentation paves the way for the growth of a resource pool of hawker fare that have been feeding generations of people from all walks of life.

Thomas Mouritzen, Accenture Song Southeast Asia lead, said: “We had an ambition to support an industry close to most Singaporeans’ hearts. ‘Second Servings’ reflects our creativity and use of insights and technology to reimagine local businesses and celebrates the hawkers’ aspirations and drive to innovate.

‘Second Servings’ is co-produced with award-winning Singapore-based production house, IFA Media. It will premiere in Singapore on Mediacorp’s free-to-air television, Channel 5, on Wednesday, 13 December 2023, at 9:30pm SGT.

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