It was unusual, even by the standards of Indonesian tech giants’ increasingly cheeky advertisement campaigns. Shopee and Tokopedia, two of the largest e-commerce companies in the country, were locking horns in a public display of one-upmanship via billboards and digital ads.
At the peak of the spat in January, Shopee (the e-commerce branch of New York Stock Exchange-listed internet company Sea) spoofed one of Tokopedia’s key visuals—a billboard featuring its brand ambassador, the Korean boy band BTS. Shopee’s ad showed an Indonesian singer mimicking the poses and outfits of the famous pop singers.
All throughout 2019, there were other, smaller affronts, with Shopee mocking or mimicking Tokopedia’s brand messages.