Ad Nut
Jan 17, 2022

RHB Bank's CNY film doesn't seem like a CNY film

The bank's Chinese New Year film, by FCB Malaysia, focuses not on traditional themes of family togetherness but rather on a fishing village's litter problem.

RHB Bank's CNY film doesn't seem like a CNY film

RHB Bank, along with creative partner FCB Malaysia, has released a Chinese New Year brand film that's not your typical Chinese New Year brand film. 

‘A spark for change’ tells the true story of 10 children in a small fishing village in Teluk Intan, Malaysia, who take it upon themselves to tackle a litter problem. Before you know it, the whole village joins in. 

According to a release, the film is "a preface to RHB’s new ESG (environmental, social, governance) aspirations". And as the storyline stresses individuals taking action that inspires others, it also fits nicely under the brand's long-running ‘Together we progress’ brand platform. 

But it's sure not the kind of lunar-new year film people are used to seeing. The team tried to "strike a fine balance", according to James Voon, associate creative director. “Many nights were spent on figuring out how to shine the spotlight on such a critical environmental problem without losing sight of what made RHB’s festive films so popular over the years: the people," he said. 

Even though the holiday is not the focus, merely the setting, it works for Ad Nut. There's a heartwarming family angle in the film, and of course it's touching to see a kid who's interested in more than how many red envelopes he will get. And what better time than the dawn of a new year to try to make the world a bit better?    

The actual children of Teluk Intan who led the clean-up. 

Ad Nut's feelings about sustainability, and about corporations that urge individuals to take action, are a bit more complicated, however. Ad Nut abhors litter and the humans who thoughtlessly drop it around Ad Nut's home, of course. And yes, individuals can and should take action where they can.

But it can't end there. Corporations and governments bear a great deal of responsibility for the world's environmental problems, and they must step up in equally significant ways to solve them. Lovely little films that put the onus on individuals—without demonstrable and lasting effort on the part of the brand—are just greenwashing, which is a sure-fire way to end up on Ad Nut's naughty list and earn the resentment of consumers.

We'll see where RHB's "new ESG aspirations" lead it in the future.  


Client: RHB Bank
Group Chief Marketing Officer: Abdul Sani
Head, Group Brand Comms: Tunku Hazli Bin Tunku Tolha
Manager, Group Brand Comms: Anwar Amin

Agency: FCB Malaysia
Co-owner & Chief Executive Officer: Shaun Tay
Co-owner & Chief Creative Officer: Ong Shi Ping
Head of Creative: Tjer
Associate Creative Directors: James Voon, Jonathan Chan
Copywriter: Felice Puah
Associate Account Director: Karima Kamal
Account Executive: Gabrielle Khoo
Senior Producer: Amin Taib

Music, Sound Design & Composer: GT Records
Executive Producer: Ram Nabil Chia
Producer: Munirah Razali
Sound Engineers: Shah Haron

Production House: PRS Productions
Film Director: Telly Koay
Producer: Fahzwan Fah

Post House: Asia Pacific Videolab
Offline Editor: Jeff Ho
Online Artist: KC Chong
Colorist: Nash

Ad Nut is a surprisingly literate woodland creature that for unknown reasons has an unhealthy obsession with advertising. Ad Nut gathers ads from all over Asia and the world for your viewing pleasure, because Ad Nut loves you. You can also check out Ad Nut's Advertising Hall of Fame, or read about Ad Nut's strange obsession with 'murderous beasts'.


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