The Story Behind GO-JEK Advertising Campaigns

Courtesy of GO-JEK
“The most important thing about being creative is you have to always create something. The verb within the word ‘creative’ is ‘to create’, so never stop to create something and learn from the whole process of it. The more you practice in creating something, the easier for you to generate more and more ideas.” — Bahari Chandra, Creative Director at GO-JEK

The interview, that I had with Bahari, the Creative Director of the Creative Labs at GO-JEK, felt like a mentoring session on “How to be Creative” rather than a casual interview. Bahari and the rest of his team on Creative Labs were the people behind GO-JEK advertisement campaigns.

Have you ever seen this ad while you passed along the Senayan roundabout a couple months ago?

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Or maybe, have you ever read the whole long-form copy of this ad while stuck in traffic at Kuningan?

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Little do we know, there were some exciting stories behind the process of creating those advertising campaigns. Each of the campaigns was executed based on a particular objective in which was transformed into some crazy ideas from the Creative Labs team. As explained by Bahari, here are some behind the scenes stories of GO-JEK advertising campaigns which had gone viral;

1. #LifeWithoutLimits Campaign

The copy of #HidupTanpaBatas or #LifeWithoutLimits was actually created to make people aware that GO-JEK is more than a ride-hailing app as it has another 18 services which could make people’s lives easier. The most challenging part of creating this campaign was in the process of transforming the objective into a key message to make people understand what we truly want to say.

As the purpose of the campaign is to inform about GO-JEK as a brand, Bahari and his team tried to make a tagline which was dynamic, descriptive, and fun at the same time. Hence, they came up with the copy of “… without …”, such as “Attending the meeting without being late”, “Buying martabak without queueing” and “Giving surprises without waiting.”

In relevance to the copy, the content of the #LifeWithoutLimits video series, which featured Dian Sastro, Rio Dewanto, Irfan Bachdim and other celebrities were also telling the stories of how GO-JEK could fulfill their daily needs through all GO-JEK products. So, do you have your own copy which describes the #LifeWithoutLimits?

2. GO-JEK Billboard at Kuningan

Courtesy of GO-JEK

For those of you who passed along the Kuningan road to go to work or just a simple get together with friends, you’ve must seen (and read) the GO-JEK billboard advertisement which contained a long-form copy with a plain-white-background.

The brief of this campaign was actually as clear as it was; to create a content on a billboard on the road with the most traffic- which allows people read the whole copy.

Bahari and his team then came up with more than 100 copies and layout drafts to create this stand-out billboard. Indeed, Bahari claimed that the most challenging part of creating this campaign was in the process of creating the copy which subtly “force” people to read until the end of it while they’re stuck in the traffic.

This advertisement, which ran for a month, reached approximately 45 million Indonesians. Haven’t read the copy yet? Here it is;

“Hey you, yes you. Let’s imagine something. Imagine if this morning, you can come to work early. You don’t have to be embarrassed by being late while opening the door to the office. You can get a cup of coffee or tea in the pantry and your mood will be great for the entire day. Your peers at work would seem to be fun to work with, you are being more productive, so you can go home on time.

Are you still imagining? Okay, let’s continue. If you can come home on time, you can have dinner with your wife and kids at home. You can hear their stories of what they have been up to today. Ah, your little one is able to sing ‘Satu-satu, aku sayang Ibu’ (I love my mother the most). That’s alright I’ll become the second, you thought to yourself. You know this feeling, a moment which you can’t describe with any words. Then, not long after that, you would sleep peacefully with a smile on your face, so would your wife. She would whisper to you that she is happy that you came home on time today. The next day, you would wake up more energized. Like you have gotten the extra energy from who knows where. Unbelievable but true. Imagine, you can be like this every day. Let’s get back to reality. You still haven’t passed the Kuningan intersection (with this traffic) right? GOJEK-in aja (just GOJEK it).”

It was pretty long, wasn’t it? That was exactly the goal; to make people read the whole story and be aware of GO-JEK as a brand towards the end of the message.

3. GO-FOOD: Menu Terserah Campaign

The idea of GO-FOOD: Menu Terserah (The ‘Optional’ Menu) campaign was from one of the Performance Marketing Troops. The background of this campaign came from the data which showed that many consumers were confused on what to order on GO-FOOD and in the end, they didn’t order anything at all or they ordered the food which they usually ordered.

Thus, they made a campaign to provide an optional feature where anyone could randomly order any food on GO-FOOD. As a result, there were increased sales on GO-FOOD orders!

4. GO-JEK Versi Kamu or #YourGOJEK Campaign

So, which one of the ‘GO-JEK Versi Kamu’ characters do you like the most? Mine is Gozali! Before this campaign was launched, Bahari and his team had to list down some famous characters first before they executed this campaign.

The goal of this campaign was actually to inform the changes of GO-JEK homepage interface and how the users could personalize it. Hence, the keyword of the brief for this campaign was ‘personal’, because the users are able to choose their own frequently-used GO-JEK products within the homepage of the apps.

Surprisingly, based on the data, before they published the campaign, the users were aware of the new interface and they’ve tried to personalize it. Therefore, Bahari and his team felt like they didn’t need to publish the content which was too informative. So, they made it fun and they chose 3 characters to be featured on the campaign; Gozali, Kunti, and the Cinema Announcer.

5. #CariPahala Campaign

To think differently is a must if you’re working in Creative Labs at GO-JEK as you need to create original ideas which have never been executed by anyone. When Ramadhan came this year, Bahari observed that usually, most of the brands will create campaigns with emotional contents. So, he challenged that common trend with #CariPahala, a Ramadhan campaign, and the objective was to deliver the brand message of GO-JEK.

#CariPahala, which means ‘finding rewards’, is actually a local insight that describes the behavior of Indonesian Muslims during Ramadhan; they are most likely doing good deeds in their daily basis as it’s a holy month. Indeed, it is a sensitive matter, yet the truth. Before they published the campaign, the team did a survey regarding the copy to make sure that it wouldn’t create any negative sentiments from the Muslims, turned out, they actually liked the copy!

As an advertising-enthusiast myself, from the behind the scene of #CariPahala, I learned that the most powerful element in advertising is actually the truth. When we are able to translate a voice out of the truth into an interesting copy, we will win the masses’ attention through our campaign.

6. #AnakBangsaBisa Campaign

Can you mention the things that could make our people feel proud of being Indonesians? That question lingered in Bahari’s head when he and the team had to think of the campaign for celebrating Indonesia’s Independence Day,

“We didn’t want just to make a celebratory ad, we wanted to make something different and meaningful. I thought, what usually makes us unite is when our products have been claimed by other countries or when someone could reach a great success abroad, such as Joey Alexander, the pianist”, Bahari added.

Hence, that was the moment when his team came up with the idea of making the #AnakBangsaBisa which is an appreciation campaign for the people or brands that were making some achievements abroad. So, the keyword for this campaign is the pride of being Indonesians which was aligned with the objective; to bring up the national spirit in Indonesia.

Similar to #CariPahala campaign, before they published the campaign, the team also conducted a small survey, which, in the survey, asked some people whether they knew the list of people and brands that had some achievements abroad. The campaign used the theme of flower arrangement, the authentic signature of how Indonesians show appreciation to others.

The deliverables of this campaign weren’t only through the billboards and social media, but GO-JEK delivered some flower arrangements directly to some brands’ offices, athletes and public figures;

Courtesy of GO-JEK

Each one of the campaigns above had more than 50 million reaches and 120 million impressions digitally. The Creative Labs team taught me that creativity needs to be supported by data and advertising is not only about creating the most unique campaigns, but it’s also about executing ideas which could create positive impact towards people’s lives.

So, which one of GO-JEK campaigns do you like the most? Yes, we have the summary of GO-JEK advertising campaigns and its impacts here;


Interested to create impact with your creativity? Join us here!

*Data was taken from GO-JEK Brand Marketing team

*Infographic made by Artisa Tumiwa