It’s nearly Eid in Indonesia. The great exodus or ‘going back home’ is coming. One of local souvenir people would bring with them is culinary goods.

Each city has their own speciality food. For example Bogor, my hometown, has processed taro product, assorted pickles, and assorted mini bread (which once was a great innovation). Bandung, a popular destination for culinary-hunt, has their brownies and assorted pastries. The success of a culinary product that later representing the city where its originated were backed up by brands who saw potential on local resources and researches on western culinary trend.

Lately though, there are many culinary brand that are endorsed by national celebrities. For example: Bogor Raincake (by Shireen Sungkar), Malang Strudel (by her husband,Teuku Wisno), Medan Napoleon (by Irwansha), and someone has named most of them here. They were not building the brand by challenging consumer with the taste, but by selling their name on the brand. And besides, all the typical cakes have nothing to do with the respective cities. It made some of us think that there is one company that actually managing all of these and the marketing strategy is to brand all the city with one kind of western cake and one celebrity each.

These are what I learned from Indonesian:

  • Big consumers of televisions
  • Love culinary
  • Would travel miles and queue long for a culinary souvenir
  • When travel, like to bring something locally made to bring back home

These market characteristics actually suit with the marketing strategy all this celebrities have. We love to brand ourselves with something, why not brand a city with a culinary product and an ambassador?

Many says that the cake was nothing compare to brands that has been long established. The product though, are always on sale and actually made money. The strategy works. Back to the first point of market character on top. The respect of public figure is deeply. They follow them like American follows Keeping up with the Kardishians, even they are not actively involved in the television anymore. But due to infotainment, and lifestyle report of these celebrities, their names are still up there to public.

Social Media also involve in the marketing strategy. The stores’s Instagram is full of the famous owner’s pictures in apron. (Once again, they are celebrities, though they have never been famous for being a pastry chef). Sometimes, they announced that the person will come to the flagship store at certain point, which means a free meet and great with the fans while enjoying their cake. This makes interaction happened between the brand and the costumers. Which is great.

These brands (built by celebrities-sudden-interest-on-making-a-local-pastry-shop) is actually not selling the culinary itself. But more like their name and their existences as a celebrity. It goes back to the map of Indonesia. The management company of these brands are mapping each city with a famous name and something that everybody loves, which is culinary goods. It’s about making money by making connection possible between fans and the famous ones. Questions ask, how long will it last? Will it be depend on the taste? Or on how the celebrities bring themselves to public?