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Branding // April 11, 2019

The Importance of Festive Marketing in Malaysia’s Ad Industry


Malaysia is one of the few countries in the world that houses several ethnicities and, consequently, diverse cultures, which allows our community to experience various festivities all year round. Ad agencies recognise how pivotal these festive occasions are in our culture, hence companies bank on them to create relevant campaigns that have since become a unique component in the ad industry. In this article, we’ll dive deeper into how our festivities can serve as an opportunity for your brand to make an impact in the industry.

How Our Cultural Diversity Drives Our Festive Marketing

When a non-Malaysian asks about our country, Malaysians usually mention two things: our food and our multicultural community. The diversity of our community brings with it numerous festivities, adding to our nation’s unique beauty.

Festive celebrations like Chinese New Year, Hari Raya, and Deepavali (just to name a few) are commonly celebrated across all races. Public holidays for these occasions are usually applied for all – regardless of race and background. However, our community openly celebrates these festivities together as a diverse nation, something that isn’t commonly found elsewhere in the world. There’s no denying that our country is a melting pot of diverse individuals, hence the focus of our festive campaigns and TV commercials usually revolves around nostalgic elements and the theme of reunion – relative to each culture.

How Brands Bank on This

Ever since Yasmin Ahmad united a divided Malaysia with her famous patriotic Petronas ads – Tan Hong Ming being one of the benchmark examples – advertisers have been striving towards achieving that standard for their festive videos and campaigns.

The best ads in Malaysia normally involve tear-jerking materials, comedic short-films, and hints of Malaysian hospitality from respective cultures. What brands do is they often leverage on festive occasions to create an emotional bridge between cultural and social issues in their campaigns, with a solution their brand is able to provide.

Brands have been taking this opportunity to innovate in order to connect with their target audience’s personalised prime time. A report by Google Malaysia, ‘Winning Ramadan & Raya with Digital’, explores the different types of audience personas that exist during the upcoming Ramadan and Hari Raya season. Google Trends also showed that the search queries for ‘iklan Hari Raya Petronas’ and ‘ucapan Hari Raya’ were highly popular, which circulated two months before the festivities began. This means that brands should stay ahead of the game by preparing for festive occasions, to meet the relevant intents from key consumer moments!

FOREFRONT has been actively assisting our clients to connect with their target audiences through festive campaigns and collaterals. Below are some of our notable projects across various celebrations:

1. Rooted in Joyfulness - Gamuda Land 2019 CNY Campaign

The video titled ‘The Family Tree’ portrayed the significance of staying connected to our family and values, using them as an emotional encouragement for the general public to cherish and reunite with their families this festive season. It also highlights the different parts of trees to represent the stages of life.

FOREFRONT also designed Ang Pows for Gamuda Land in relation to its overall CNY campaign, 满, which means ‘fullness’. The character’s strokes are rounded to give the impression of fullness, and can also be used as a reference to phrases like ‘团圆’ (reunion, ‘tuányuán’) and ‘圆满’ (complete, ‘yuánmân’).

2. Sow Prosperous, Sow Joyful (好满足) - FOREFRONT 2019 CNY Campaign

Every Chinese New Year, it is in FOREFRONT’s tradition to innovate a Chinese New Year campaign that consists of its exceptional Ang Pows and meaningful gift boxes – the latter usually for our clients. Our designs usually correlate with the year’s zodiac, hence 2019’s year of the pig inspired us with the concept of ‘好满足’, translating to ‘satisfaction’, with 足 being a wordplay of the mandarin character for ‘pig’, 猪. The English tagline of ‘Sow Prosperous, Sow Joyful’ was also inspired by the second definition of ‘sow’: an adult female pig which has reproduced. Fruit pulp was incorporated into the Ang Pow design to symbolise a fruitful and satisfying year ahead – an added blessing when presented to receivers.

Leveraging on the concept of satisfaction, we came up with a social media giveaway campaign. FOREFRONT invited the public to participate in an orange stacking challenge where they could also stand a chance to win FOREFRONT’s 2019 CNY Ang Pows.

3. Salam - Sunway Property Hari Raya Video

Focusing on the act of ‘salam’, a gesture that has became an integral part of the lives of many Malaysians, we created a video that explores a person’s experiences with ‘salam’ from his perspective. With each ‘salam’, we carried the audience through nostalgic and heart-warming moments, revealing the many meanings behind the gesture. The video is set in multiple locations within Sunway City, showcasing the holistic lifestyle it offers and strengthening the company’s branding as an integrated destination for all Malaysians.

4. Rediscover Our Harmony - Sime Darby Property Malaysia Day Video

During the ‘Rediscover Our Hidden Gems’ campaign period, Malaysia Day presented an opportunity for us to grab customer attention by producing a musical-inspired music video ad. Titled ‘Rediscover Our Harmony’, the video garnered over 1.1 million views across YouTube and Facebook.

How These Festive Campaigns Create Impact

Festive campaigns give Malaysians a sense of belonging and patriotism – values which the media can leverage on to educate and entertain a society about these occasions. Therefore, its role remains significant in order to shape a nation. Good festive campaigns are able to engage people intellectually, and at the same time provide subtle solutions to underlying issues within the society. Externally, it gives the world an avenue to understand the traditional elements of Malaysia’s culture in a modernised society. Bonds strengthen when we are able to understand each other better, therefore festive campaigns could act as a catalyst in improving international relations and increasing economic opportunities.

So, what do you have in mind for your brand this Hari Raya? We’re only a call or email away so contact us if you require qualified services for your upcoming traditional and digital campaign ideas!

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