Malaysia’s Peri-Peri Wars: Nando’s vs McDonald’s in bid for best chicken bragging rights

McDonald’s Malaysia marketing director Eugene Lee (left) and vice president and chief marketing officer Melati Abdul Hai unveil the Portuguese Chicken Burger. — Picture courtesy of McDonald’s Malaysia
McDonald’s Malaysia marketing director Eugene Lee (left) and vice president and chief marketing officer Melati Abdul Hai unveil the Portuguese Chicken Burger. — Picture courtesy of McDonald’s Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR, July 6 — Two popular food chains in Malaysia are currently engaged in an advertising war online, with Nando’s touting its originality as it fights back with good humour against McDonald’s perceived thinly-veiled dig against the former.

The advertising game started when McDonald’s Malaysia’s official Facebook page posted on July 1 a photo of its new product by the name of “Portugese Chicken Burger”, accompanied by the icon of a chicken.

The icon featured in McDonald’s poster was a drawing of a chicken in green with a red comb and patterned dots on its body, while Nando’s chicken mascot Barci is in black with a red comb and with a red tail with a white dot pattern.

According to McDonald’s, the Portuguese Chicken Burger features a fried chicken patty dipped in a “unique piri-piri sauce”. Piri-piri or peri-peri is the African bird’s eye chilli, which Nando’s uses in sauces for its chicken.

McDonald’s has said the Portugues Chicken Burger offering is part of its “Discover the World Campaign”, after having featured flavours over the years from countries such as Brazil, Mexico, Korea and Thailand including Spicy Korean Burger.

On July 4, McDonald’s posted on its Facebook page a link to the augmented reality game called “Catching Nonando”, where players need to “catch as many Nonado Chickens as they can in 60 seconds to collect points” for discounts on the Portugese Chicken Burger.

McDonald’s had posted the game along with the caption featuring the phrase “Think you’ve got what it takes to catch the sly Nonando?”

The Nonando word, which can be pronounced as No Nando, appeared to be a dig at Nando’s.

Hours after McDonald’s blasted out its “Catching Nonando” game, Nando’s Malaysia’s responded by posting on its Facebook page a post with the caption “No time for fake PERi-PERi”.

Nando’s Malaysia — which is known for its catchy and sometimes cheeky posters — posted a poster “The Real OG since 1987” along with the caption, asserting its position as the original outlet in its use of the African bird eye’s chilli.

McDonald’s yesterday morning then posted its “Catching Nonando” game again along with the period July 4 to July 24, where it told Facebook users that playing it would give them a chance to win fabulous prizes when they “catch Nonando”.

Nando’s later responded with a Facebook post carrying the hashtag #MoNandos, a seeming play on McDonald’s phrase Nonando and possibly reading as More Nando’s.

“Hey, catch us for real. We’re always here for our fans, 7 days a week. No skills, no games, just some PERi love to experience how our African Bird’s Eye Chilli should really taste like. #EveryoneIsWelcome,” the poster accompanying the hashtag #MoNandos said.

Nando’s used animated motion graphics or GIFs for replies to Facebook users who commented on its post, including one that showed its mascot cheering with the tagline #MoNandos.

It is unclear how long the ad war between Nando’s and McDonald’s will go on, but Malaysians have also caught on to the game of wits between the two well-loved eateries.

The McDonald’s campaign for its new product may have some unexpected responses, with its Facebook post yesterday on the “Catching Nonando” game garnering reactions by Facebook users who viewed it as free publicity and marketing for Nando’s.

Some chimed in by saying they were instead reminded of Nando’s by McDonald’s posting and would visit Nando’s for a meal, such as Priscilla Dielenberg’s comment “Wow, haven’t been to Nando’s for a while. Thanks for the lunch recommendation.

Facebook user Lawrence Tan Chow Yong said “I am thinking to have MC D tonight as my dinner until I see this advertisement I have decided to have nandos instead”, while Facebook users Wan Rajifah said “Wow, haven’t been to Nando’s for a while. Thanks for the lunch recommendation” and Ryan Ng said “My first glance I thought this is nandos. Heading there tonight for dinner”.

Facebook user Bernard Goh meanwhile commented on McDonald’s post of the Catching Nonando game by saying: “Can’t wait for a “check mate” ad from Nando’s... let the game begin!”

Related Articles