Emily Tan
May 8, 2015

Yasmin wrote 'Close to You' for us: Maybank CMO

KUALA LUMPUR - With the cooperation of the mother and sister of the late Yasmin Ahmad, Maybank has released a two and a half minute online video made from one of the last scripts she penned.

It's unclear when the script was written by Yasmin, as it was one of several scripts presented to Maybank by agency Leo Burnett before the bank's current CMO, Mohamed Adam Wee Abdullah, joined in 2011. 

"It wasn't rejected at the time, but there were a few scripts and another was chosen to be made before this one," explained Mohamed Adam in a phone interview with Campaign Asia-Pacific

Yasmin's sister Datin Orked Ahmad, who works at Maybank, was instrumental in the script's discovery, he added. "She may have found it while compiling the book Leo Burnett published in 2012, Yasmin How You Know?"


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Although Campaign was unable to confirm the script's provenance, it seems likely that it was penned as a Hari Merdeka (Independence Day) commercial targeted at East Malaysia, where Maybank's mobile buses are still trundling around to this day.

In 2008, the year before Yasmin passed away, this was the commercial used by Maybank for Hari Merdeka:

 

When Mohamed Adam read the script for 'Close to You', he said he was struck by how well it delivered the "message of Maybank". "I felt we had the ability to bring it to life and after all, it was written for us and helps to tell our story," he said.

The commercial is drenched with Yasmin's nostalgic touch, peppered with her wry slightly off-kilter humour (watch the part about the chicken trying to lay an egg). It also shows, subtly, how Maybank's mobile banking started out as busses that would visit Malaysia's more remote villages. As usual, it is Yasmin's masterful copywriting and director's eye that save the script from becoming too cloying. 

“Banking has changed over the years, particularly mobile banking,” said Mohamed Adam in the bank's official press release. “However, it is not primarily driven by the need to use the latest technologies or solutions, but rather by our commitment and desire to meet our customers’ needs. By putting people first, providing them a better way of life and preparing them for the future, we are ‘humanising financial services’,” he explained.

In 1978, Maybank was the first local bank to computerise its banking services and was the first to introduce ATMs in 1981. It was also the nation's first bank to launch online banking, in 2000.

To produce the video, Maybank brought together the team that used to work closely with Yasmin, led by by veteran film director Kamal Mustapha.

"Emotions ran high as the team clearly expressed their pride and joy in being able to come together one last time for the filming of the video," according to the statement. 

“We are very proud and elated to see Yasmin’s legacy continue through the production of this video,” said. “It was always her wish that people remember her work rather than who she was."

 

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