Rahul Sachitanand
Aug 31, 2020

Marketers match a more subdued Merdeka in Malaysia

With the usual energy of Independence Day missing due to pandemic restrictions, marketers find new ways to connect with consumers.

Marketers match a more subdued Merdeka in Malaysia

While Malaysians have traditionally come together for Merdeka and Independence Day, this year the mood is more sombre in the middle of the pandemic. Malaysians are staying home, steering clear of crowded places. Marketers too have reshaped their plans to cope with the new normal. Rather than over-the-top fervour, here is how some marketers are trying to keep their brands relevant, but be sensitive too, at this time. 


Ensemble Worldwide and Petronas have released an animated film to commemorate Merdeka and Malaysia Day celebrations.Titled Operasi Koperasi, the piece is inspired by a nostalgic Malaysian childhood game Lawan Pemadam meaning 'Battle of Erasers'. The film’s fresh take on unity explores Petronas' 2020 festive campaign theme of 'Our unique family' further.

The scene takes place in a school co-op and centres on 14 characters: erasers representing the states in Malaysia. When three of the erasers fall off the shelf, panic ensues, and the remaining erasers deliberate over an impossible rescue mission. The film went live on Petronas'  YouTube channel and Facebook Page on August 24 and has garnered more than 1.5 million views. The 60-second commercial will be on air on TV until September 16.

Watch how the mission unfolds here: 

Ikano Centres

Ensemble Worldwide and Universal McCann’s latest campaign for Ikano Centres, part of Ikea Southeast Asia, seeks to shed light on the diversity and uniqueness of Malaysia for Merdeka and Malaysia Day. The #KitaDLL campaign for Ikano Centres, which includes IPC Shopping Centre, MyTOWN Shopping Centre, Toppen Shopping Centre and its meeting place in Batu Kawan, encourages Malaysians to redefine and reimagine what Dan Lain-Lain (DLL) means to them.

Meaning "and others", the phrase is a commonly seen checkbox across official documentation, meant to encompass all 'other' races in Malaysia, aside from the three primary ethnicities: Malay, Chinese and Indian.The social experiment-based film features interviews with a wide cross-section of Malaysians, both adults and children, who are asked about topics around ethnicity. The film and microsite urge Malaysians to create their own version of “DLL” with the hashtag #KitaDLL to stimulate this conversation across social media. The campaign is a celebration of the “lain-lain” in all of us, according to the agencies.


The handset brand signed up with director Ho Yuhang (Netflix series The Ghost Brideto present the short film Kita, which was filmed entirely on an X50 Pro phone. The short movie tells the story of self-discovery for a group of high-school students, led by one who was once awkward, but now a celebrated artist.

If school was a social time for students, the pandemic has ensured that most are confined at home. And even when they do get back, safety and social-distancing norms change perceptions. As the country celebrates, here's how these people look back at their time of learning at school.

RHB Bank

At a difficult time for eveyone, one of Malyasia's largest financial-services brands has urged people to take the high road. On this day, the For the greater good campaign by FCB Kuala Lumpur, shows a series of events where Malaysians do good, going out of their way to help their fellow citizens at a challenging time. Here's how they get together to signify a new beginning:


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