Google Pay Huat Pals Campaign: My Huat Pals are Here
While local banks seem to have trouble encouraging Singaporeans to use e-angbaos this Lunar New Year, Google Pay users are exchanging money with friends and even acquaintances as part of the digital wallet’s Huat Pals game.
Google Pay’s first holiday campaign since its launch late last year appeals to the inner collector in all of us. The goal is simple: earn a Huat Pal with every transaction worth $10 or more. Collect all five Huat Pals and win an angbao worth up to $88.88.
Huat Pals’ designs are CNY-inspired but distinctly Google, as they follow Material Design principles of shadows and flattened graphics. Neo the weightlighter-esque ox represents this year’s zodiac animal, while the sneaker-wearing lion dancer Rara tries to replicate the ‘dong dong chiang’ atmosphere in light of a muted physical Lunar New Year. Ah Huat the pineapple cosplays as the God of Fortune, while the Singaporean-Malaysian invention yusheng appears as BB Loh - no masks on this Pal, though.
Huat Pals also switch up their looks: on the first day of CNY, Lenny the lantern traded its nerdy spectacles for rockstar sunglasses as it evolved into Lenn-Er. It then evolved again into L33t-ny, because Internet teen lingo is a thing. How do you do, fellow kids?
Google Pay not only created a Huat Pals campaign page but also dolled up the entire app to celebrate the new year by renaming scratch cards as angbaos and more.
Harder than it looks
What Google Pay does not tell you is how difficult it is for users to collect BB Loh and Ah Huat, turning what would seem like an easy task into a dreadful drag towards game completion. The rare Pals are most likely to show up when you refer new users to the app - although their appearance is not guaranteed.
As Google Pay users complete daily tasks religiously for a shot at getting the BB Loh, it is worth noting that just two months ago, users were actually ensured of cash rewards for less work. In December, the app had a referral promotion which rewarded new users and their referees $8 each.
Perhaps entertainment and social fun - not throwing cash at customers - may be the better way to make the app go viral. This campaign was also an ingenious way to familiarise users with unique Google Pay features. LNY gift baskets containing Huat Pals and NTUC vouchers got users to use the app’s group function, which is handy in splitting bills.
Reaction from other brands
A clear sign that Huat Pals have become a talking point is other brands referencing the elusiveness of BB Loh. Crystal Jade and Red Bull got in on the conversation.
Maybe in the future, instead of exchanging oranges, we would just exchange $10 on Google Pay.