Nikita Mishra
Mar 15, 2023

Michelle Yeoh historic Oscar win: Brands that paid tribute

The Asian magnet is drawing attention for all the right reasons. Understandably, domestic brands are not far behind. Here are those that dipped their toes in instant marketing.

Michelle Yeoh historic Oscar win: Brands that paid tribute

Just like its maximalist name, Michelle Yeoh’s victory was 'Everything Everywhere all at once' for cinema fans across the spectrum. Not a grand movie in the conventional sense; in theory, it could not be farther removed from typical Oscar bait, shot on a humble budget and released to a slow start in the Spring. Parallel to the late-career renaissance which Yeoh experienced in 2018 after the frenzy of Crazy, Rich Asians, EEAAO picked up the buzz after good old word-of-mouth publicity. 

As the first Asian woman to win the best actress in Oscar’s 95 years of history and only the second Asian lead to ever be nominated (Merle Oberon was the first in 1936), fans and brands could not wait to celebrate.

For a change, we’re not calling out brands for newsjacking and giving our judgemental instincts a break. After all, Yeoh redefines progress, cultural representation and bold risks, thereby deserving every bit of recognition because after 87 years she makes us feel it’s okay to not be white. 

Here are brands that dipped into real-time marketing and stood out with their well wishes. 

Julie's:

As a domestic brand, Julie's was quick to jump with a congratulatory message in the form of an OOH and a social post. Their tribute features a reworked version of the original Julie’s Biscuits logo to resemble the actress.
 

KFC

Inspired by the multiverses in the movie, KFC Malaysia was quick to replace the rock version of Yeoh's character with a bucket of fried chicken.

Mandarin Oriental

When in Hong Kong, Yeoh is a regular at MO's Clipper Lounge. She has never failed to publicly show her appreciation for the classic sophistication of their location, staff, ambiance and vibe. Being part of her stellar accomplishment is only natural for the hotel chain. 

Genting SkyWorlds

The Malaysian theme park indulged in clever wordplay over the Lake of Dreams, their most popular attraction, to chime in the wishes. 
 

“Tan Sri Michelle Yeoh must have made a wish at the Lake of Dreams because her dream just came true!” their Twitter post said.

Starbucks

The coffee giant kept it simple, direct and effective. 

Social conversations

Word cloud of the online conversations around Yeoh's Oscar win. Photo: CARMA

 

Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim was quick to jump on Twitter to congratulate the local icon. 

“Coupled with this latest accomplishment, Michelle’s illustrious and exemplary career in this field will certainly continue to be a source of great inspiration and motivation to our home-grown actors and actresses and provide even greater impetus to the growth of our local industry,” Anwar said. 

 

Social conversations on Yeoh shot up 10X after the Oscars than the Screen Guild Awards. Photo: CARMA

However, netizens were quick to call out the hypocrisy of the government in basking in Yeoh's glory. It is "hypocritical, insincere and contradictory for the government to celebrate Michelle Yeoh's Oscars win,” wrote one user pointing to the dire state of affairs the domestic film industry is in. 

Data analytics firm CARMA tells Campaign that online sentiment after Yeoh's victory was 60.3% positive and 9% negative in Malaysia. That globally was 65.3% positive and 5.2% negative. The thread below, sums up the local issues pretty well.  

Source:
Campaign Asia

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