The Jakarta Post
Medan Napoleon by local singer Irwansyah. (Medan Napoleon's official website/File)
If you have stayed in or visited any cities in Indonesia in the last six months, you may recognize a new type of oleh-oleh (souvenir) that comes in the form of a celebrity cake.
There are a plethora of celebrity cake brands across the archipelago, including Dude Harlino’s Scrummy Jogja, television presenter Indra Bekti’s Sultana Medan, singer Irwansyah’s Medan Napoleon, soap opera actress/television host Nagita Slavina’s Gigi Eatcake, Aceh-origin soap opera actor Teuku Wisnu’s Strudel Malang, Jessica Iskandar’s Barack Bakery, pop singer Chelsea Olivia's Semarang Wife Cake and more.
The list will expand soon as more celebrities are interested in taking the plunge into this food business.
Naturally, these products sell like hotcakes. The newly born Bandung Princess Cake by local singer Syahrini was said to have sold out during lunchtime, leading them to reopen the shop at 1 p.m.
If you think these celebrities have the talents to be pastry chefs, well, it is not entirely correct. Some of them are working under the management of the Jannah Corporation. Established by actress/fashion designer Zaskia Sungkar and her husband Irwansyah, the company is said to work as a medium for the celebrities to share their ideas and creativity, making the brands appear similar to each other. Meanwhile, other celebrities join upon seeing how beneficial the business is.
The branding concept deserves two thumbs up. The cities' names make the cakes ideal souvenirs for those visiting those particular regions. Meannwhile, the celebrities' names on the brands pique people’s curiosity.
Then comes the next question: “How long will this celebrity-cake hype last?”
I predict it would not last long.
The food business is not easy. I have witnessed some celebrity restaurant brands, such as Meet the Beef restaurant by celebrity couple Donna Agnesia and Darius Sinathrya, close down. Even professional restaurateurs in food spots, such as Pantai Indah Kapuk, North Jakarta, or Jl. Senopati in South Jakarta, experience turbulence in their businesses and have to shut down their shops.
The local food business is very dynamic as there are plenty of food brands popping up every month.
I saw an empty Japanese pastry brand outlet in one of the shopping malls. A few years back the brand was considerably popular, but then customers preferred the newer brand, which recently opened across from the old outlet.
The competition becomes tougher as each city also owns an iconic food product, such as Meranti from Medan, North Sumatra, or Spikoe from Surabaya, East Java.
In this country, foodies are pampered with tons of choices. Unless the food brand has a signature touch that sets it apart from the competitors, these food enthusiasts would prefer something new.
To create a sustainable food business, they need to adopt three principles: innovation, consistency and quality of food.
At the moment, the marketing strategy, a combination of location and a celebrity’s name, is considerably innovative, but it may not be effective in the next two years as people lose the excitement over these celebrity cake brands.
In the food business, taste and service need to be consistent as well. Once a taste changes, people leave. The same thing applies to service; one bad experience would define your brand sustainability.
Furthermore, food quality defines where your brand stands and judging from these celebrity cake brands’ prices, which are below Rp 100,000 (US$7.50), the quality is questionable. Foodies with extra cash to burn would rather purchase other products.
If these celebrities only rely on their popularity and forget to consider these three food principles, I am certain these products will soon vanish. (kes)
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