Surekha Ragavan
May 7, 2021

Raya film festival: Watch ads from Julie’s, Petronas, McDonald’s and more

This year’s top prize goes to snack brand Julie’s, whose ad turned Raya stereotypes on its head and will be remembered for years to come.

Raya film festival: Watch ads from Julie’s, Petronas, McDonald’s and more

For the second year in a row, Muslims in Southeast Asia will be celebrating in a low-key fashion with many away from their families. Here’s hoping these ads would cheer them up.

Ini Iklan Raya, Tau!
Julie’s Biscuits
GOVT Singapore

This delightfully smart and funny ad is hands down the best Raya ad of the year—perhaps even the best in recent years. Festive ads in Malaysia tend to be feature women characters around tiring stereotypes: the mother who nags her daughter about not being married, the woman who toils in the kitchen, the mother in a small town lamenting the absence of her children who are working in a big city.

In this spin, Malaysian filmmaker Junad M. Nor wrote a script to turn these stereotypes on its head. And boy did she deliver. Achingly funny lines pepper the film, delivered with comedic prowess by notable names such as Fauziah Nawi, Sharifah Shahira, Batrisyia Razak and Amerul Affendy. We literally laughed out loud at multiple moments, a rarity in these precious days—Raya ad or otherwise.

Associate creative director at GOVT, Kevin Joseph, said: “This ad isn’t meant to be a lecture, or an admonishment of any kind. We just wanted to make people chuckle and realise that the women in our lives are more than just caretakers and melodramatic criers.”

Raya Kau Kaw Kaw!
Ikano Centres
Ensemble Worldwide & Universal McCann

Ensemble Worldwide and Universal McCann’s Raya campaign for Ikano Centres—which is part of IKEA Southeast Asia—produced an outlandish Raya ad that even featured outer space. Mak Jemah, the mother character in the story, is upset that her kids will not be able to travel home for Raya this year, and she sets out on an adventure to maximise her celebrations. It’s wacky and slapstick but still a little bit wonderful.

Didi Pirinyuang, executive creative director of Ensemble Worldwide said: “With all the world’s big celebrations suspended by the pandemic, we wanted to use the opportunity to let people forget about their problems for a while. That feeling that yes, no matter what, we’re going to celebrate Raya to the max, in however we know how, and make it memorable despite everything.”

Syukur Raya
Petronas
Ensemble Worldwide

Recently, Petronas has been skewing heavily towards long, music-forward animated films—perhaps due to production limitations during Covid. This one, however, falls slightly short of the charming Deepavali film it put out last year as well as the epic eraser battle for Merdeka last year.  

The film revolves around Poji, a delivery rider who misses his mother and hallucinates his neighbour taking on the form of his mother. The neighbour in question, an unassumingly cranky woman, turns out to be a nice person all along and offers the protagonist Raya food at the end, saving him from having to eat plain white bread. Oh, and the narrator is a well-dressed spotted dove.

My Happy Table
McDonald’s
Publicis Singapore

This tear-jerker features real-life stories of Malaysian McDonald’s staff in Singapore who are unable to return home this Ramadan and Raya period because of border closures. The brand featured three restaurant workers who were ‘surprised’ with an AR projection of their families in Malaysia so that they’re able to (virtually) break fast together.

Despite it having all the makings of an overly dramatic sob-story, it somehow works. It really, really works. Maybe it’s the naturalistic writing or the general relatability of the story, but it really got to us. “Three months here feels like I haven’t met them in three years,” one featured staff member says. Cue the Syawal tears.

Kasih Dari Hati
Oppo
Ensemble Worldwide

Sure, this film ticks off a few Raya ad stereotypes, but we like it for its ability to seamlessly feature the brand product—in this case Oppo’s IoT solutions. The film starts with a widower who is being told off by his long-distance daughter about following his doctor’s orders to exercise more. His daughter vowed to follow his running tracks via GPS.

The father character, who doesn't like to exercise, then devises creative ways to ‘cheat’ so that his daughter will think he’s been putting in the miles. It would have done the film well to end there on a comedic note, but of course, what’s a Raya ad without gratuitous footage of family members seeking forgiveness?

Norman Tang, creative director of Ensemble Worldwide, said: “We combined our real-life stories to shape the character of Fatin as an archetype of a KL urbanite coming to the city for work, away from home and parents. Cheeky and lighthearted, yet with deeper layers of love, filial responsibility, and the pain of separation, it was a collective decision to go with this story as it resonates so well.”

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