Gabey Goh
Nov 7, 2016

U Mobile wins gold in Malaysian ‘Telcolympics’

A new campaign takes an indirect and humorous route in pitting the challenger telco brand against its heavyweight competitors.

Client: U Mobile Malaysia

Agency: BBDO Malaysia

Market: Malaysia

Name of campaign: "Telcolympics "

Campaign scope: YouTube, print and TV.


U Mobile wanted to demonstrate the benefits of its Power prepaid plan in a way that directly pits the underdog telco against its competitors. However, direct comparison ads are banned in Malaysia.

So BBDO used humour and used sports to mask its intention of comparing services. The films, part of a larger campaign, follow the antics of four different athletes, based loosely on the four major telco players, as they compete against one another in made-up Olympic sports.

Official quotes: 

Rafiq Ridzwan, planning director, BBDO MALAYSIA.

U Mobile has always embraced the position of the challenger brand, with the intention of relentlessly pushing the boundaries of their offers for the benefit of everybody in Malaysia. We felt that the best way to express this was to capture the friendly spirit of competition, in this case a spoof of the Olympics, where we don’t just talk about what we’re good at, but to also challenge others to respond, so that ultimately, the consumer wins. In fact, we’re willing to bet that when this article goes out, some telcos would have already reacted to the campaign in a big way … and that’s to be expected and embraced.

Tak Shune, creative director, BBDO Malaysia.

The competition between telcos is serious business, but it needn’t be addressed in a necessarily serious way. Add that to the fact that most features in telco plans go unnoticed or unquestioned and you get a campaign that reveals every plan out there for what they truly are – in the most entertaining way. At least we’d like to think so. It’s a ballsy campaign that first needed approval from a ballsy client, and we can’t be happier to have a daring client such as U Mobile.

Campaign Asia Pacific's comments:

Given that direct-comparison ads are banned in the market, any effort that comes tantalisingly close, especially in the form of slapstick humour, is going to stand out. The campaign also plays into many a Malaysian consumer’s favourite pastime: unleashing frustration over a telco.

Since the two videos release online on 31 October, the campaign has garnered more than 150,000 views on Facebook, with media publications also sharing the content.

While the circumstances that lead nerdy, awkward U Mo Bao (the thinly veiled personification of the U Mobile brand) to victory, might seem overly convenient and obviously staged, it certainly doesn’t detract too much from the film’s entertainment value—especially the commentator’s character.

The campaign does make this writer wonder about the possibility of having a real-life ‘telcolympics’. it would be fun great to see telco brands duke it out not only for the noble cause of informing consumers which areas each brand truly comes out tops in, but more importantly for a popcorn-munching, speculation-heavy, WWE-esque way to pass the time. 


Clients: Jasmine Lee, Schrene Goh, Chieu Mei, Natasya Izreen
Head of Planning: Rafiq Ridzwan
General Manager: John Teoh
Creative Director: Tak Shune
Copywriter: Yusrizal Yusof, Deborah Woong, Niamh Charlote
Art Director: Chow Tatt Ho
Designer: EwDot
Digital Planner: Fatimah Nazirah
Account Director: Asran Zakri
Account manager: Victoria Kovalan, Mark Siew
Producers: Nyok, Jan Teoh
Excutive Creative Director: VJ AnandDirector: Iskandar Siva
Production Company: PRS Productions

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