Indonesia – McDonald’s Indonesia has revealed its new J-Pop advertisement jingle titled ‘Nihon No Fureeba’ written fully in Japanese, to promote the relaunch of McDonald’s ‘Taste of Japan’ burgers.

‘Nihon No Fureeba’ is a full, untranslated Japanese pop song made to promote the comeback of McDonald’s Taste of Japan burgers in Indonesia. The song’s lyrics talk about crispy nori and yakiniku sauce, ingredients highlighted on the fast food chain’s Japanese flavoured-inspired burgers. 

Written in a completely different language, the message the advertisement jingle aims to highlight is that even though some might not understand McDonald’s onigiri-looking burgers, they’ll love the taste anyway. Just  like they love Japanese songs. 

Advertising agency Leo Burnett’s cultural findings on Indonesians’ adoration for Japanese pop songs propelled the idea of creating the jingle. The agency tapped Indonesian-Japanese singer Ica Zahra to create the song, which was released as a Japanese single without subtitles.

Within one week, the music video was watched more than three million times. The song became the talk of the radio, and hundreds of covers and TikTok dances were made. 

Soon after, the agency and the singer revealed that the song, which most people didn’t understand but still listened to, was actually an untranslated ad to promote McDonald’s product relaunch. The jingle has topped the country’s music charts and become the #1 search on music search application Shazam causing a huge jump on the burger’s first-week sales. 

With the launch of ‘Nihon No Fureeba’, people’s curiosity towards the burgers spiked so fast that first-week sales surpassed those of the past 3 years. 

“Because no one knew that it was an ad. The lyrics were in Japanese, untranslated, and  people thought that it was just a nice feel-good J-Pop song!” explains Ravi Shanker, chief creative officer of Leo Burnett Indonesia on how an ad became a popular favorite pop song in the country. 

“Japanese pop culture is strong in Indonesia. People love Japanese pop songs and put  them in their playlists, sing along, even wearing cool t-shirts with Japanese letters—all  without understanding what they mean,” he continued. 

Meanwhile, Michael Hartono, marketing director at McDonald’s Indonesia, said, “At the end of the  day, the campaign is making people love not only the burgers but also the brand. Even after people realized that it was an ad, they still continue doing karaoke with it, and  the song–I mean the jingle–is now in thousands of Spotify playlists to this day.” 

Manila, Philippines – As a predominantly Catholic country, most brands based in the Philippines still shy away from talking about gender inclusivity, fearing backlash from the conservative audience. With a growing LGBTQIA+ community in the country, how can brands use ads to fight alongside with these communities for inclusivity and equality?

This was the latest ad from global fast-food chain McDonald’s in the country, who recently launched a full-on campaign in celebration of Pride Month. The ad, conceptualised by TBWA\ Santiago Mangada Puno (TBWA\SMP), is a feel-good spot showcasing the brand’s commitment to promote gender equality in society.

The ad features a sweet story between a skater girl repeatedly passing thru a McDonald’s drive-through window: just to see her crush who works at the McDonald’s branch. Moreover, the ad–which has seen organic virality over the past few days–caught the attention of the masses as it featured an inclusive story between two women.

When asked about the creation of the ad, Adi Hernandez, corporate relations director at McDonald’s, shares, “Despite its rare representation locally, it was more important for us that who we are as a brand, which is a brand that welcomes all, is reflected in the stories that we share just like this one. Our commitment to diversity and gender inclusivity is an overall brand experience that we aim to improve from our employees and to our customers.”

Hernandez also added that the casting for the actors in the ad were made alongside TBWA\SMP to feature true members of the LGBTQIA+ community.

“No matter who you are, you are welcome and safe to come back here again and again – that’s what we wanted our audience to know. Which is why this is a part of a broader initiative of McDonald’s Philippines to show our commitment to ensuring we continue to be everyone’s happy place,” he added.

Manila, Philippines – Grab Philippines has recently released a public statement amid the ongoing issue of homophobic remarks from its partner delivery riders that netizens have pointed out regarding the launch of the McDonald’s x BTS meal in the country.

Netizens have raised the alarm after a handful of deliver rider partners of the app posted homophobic statements against the popular K-pop group BTS, calling them ‘BTS Biot’ or ‘BTS gay’, labeling BTS as a group of gay people.

The influx of these homophobic statements comes after a rise in food deliveries of the BTS McDo meal across Grab deliveries in the country, which consists of a 10-piece chicken McNuggets, medium fries, and Coke, as well as McDonald’s South Korea’s two popular dipping sauces – sweet chili and cajun. 

In the statement, Grab Philippines stated that “inclusivity is one of Grab’s core values, and we have a zero-tolerance policy for inexcusable behaviors.”

They also added that they have immediately suspended the delivery-partners in question and will continue to work hard to maintain an inclusive and diverse platform.

“Our delivery-partners continue to provide significant services for our kababayans (countrymen) during these trying times. We hope that our consumers will not let the actions of a few select individuals affect the livelihoods of the many delivery-partners who rely on the Grab platform to support their families,” the company added.

Despite the statement, netizens continue to raise concerns about delivery riders of Grab who are still not given appropriate action.

Twitter user @vmindables stated that the attitude of these select riders are very much ‘disturbing’, but their co-delivery riders ‘tolerating’ such acts are even more gut-wrenching.

“All we wanted was to enjoy this short season in peace. This isn’t just about the hate against BTS but also the mockery against the LGBTQ+ Community. Educate your riders. Stop making ‘biot’ or other third-gender terms an insult and a figure of fun and mockery,” the user added.

Meanwhile, Twitter user @yeontaeberrykim commented that said action is not only applicable for the sake of BTS, but also the use of slurs against the members of the LGBTQ+ community.

“It is also important to remind the delivery partners to act accordingly. There is no place for prejudice. As you said, inclusivity is one of your core values and this should be reflected by your partners and their services towards your customers,” the user added.

Malaysia – Gong xi fa cai! With Chinese New Year a monumental celebration across Asia, brands didn’t waste a second making the most out of the festive holiday, pulling out the theme to showcase each of their creative advertisements. 

In Malaysia, brands across all industries flexed their red-accented and gilded films on YouTube to ring in the year of the Metal Ox, and the platform has just revealed the CNY ads that made it to its top 10 this year.

The ads were chosen not only based on views but also watch time and audience retention. Take a look at the list, arranged in alphabetical order.

1. Celcom Axiata: Double Your Joy with Any 2 Phones @ RM188

Celcom Axiata: Double Your Joy with Any 2 Phones @ RM188

In a simple but graphically endearing ad, telecom Celcom Axiata drew in Malaysian viewers not just with its creatives but with an attractive offer letting customers nab 2 phones at RM188, from a slew of mobile models such as Huawei, Vivo, and Realme.

2. Daikin Malaysia: Daikin CNY 2021: The Extraordinary Family GO

Daikin Malaysia: Daikin CNY 2021: The Extraordinary Family GO

Air condition manufacturer, Daikin Malaysia, stresses the importance of family this CNY through a comedic short film, bringing the message through the all-too-familiar and anxious scenario of a guy’s courtship to a girl’s parents.

3. McDonald’s Malaysia: Golden Prosperity Burger

McDonald's Malaysia: Golden Prosperity Burger

Global fast-food brand McDonald’s is known for regularly sprucing up its food offerings to align with current cultural celebrations, and this CNY, it offered Malaysian customers a special ‘Golden Prosperity Burger’ to add to their momentum of festivities.

4. NESCAFÉ Malaysia: Happy New 牛 Year ~ NESCAFÉ

NESCAFÉ Malaysia: Happy New 牛 Year ~ NESCAFÉ

With a straightforward sing and dance video, NESCAFÉ in Malaysia delivered its greetings by partnering with famous personalities and performers Pong Pong, Jestinna, DJ Perry Kuan, and Ariff Bahran.

5. Shopee Malaysia: Shopee CNY Sale is Happening Now! 

Shopee Malaysia: Shopee CNY Sale is Happening Now!

With a quirky and cheery acoustic performance, Shopee in Malaysia released its share of the 2.2 sale ad, which offered eight-themed marketing deals such as its daily RM8,888 Shopee Fortune Box, and daily 88% Off Vouchers.

6. Tenaga Nasional: TNB CNY 2021 – Nian-tastic New Start

Tenaga Nasional: TNB CNY 2021 – Nian-tastic New Start

Still within the message of family and togetherness, electricity giant Tenaga Nasional goes all the way back to give audiences a piece of the origins of the celebration.

7. Tesco Malaysia: The TESCO ONG Medley 2021

Tesco Malaysia: The TESCO ONG Medley 2021

Through a jovial medley, grocery chain Tesco in Malaysia reminded how through its range of fresh produce and food products, customers can achieve a fruitful celebration this CNY.

8. Vivo Malaysia: Vivo CNY Huat Cow Cow 2021

Vivo Malaysia: Vivo CNY Huat Cow Cow 2021

With a brief 15-second but upbeat music clip, Vivo Malaysia invited viewers to learn how to Huat Cow Cow, or how to bring in ‘maximum prosperity’.

9. Watsons Malaysia: Watsons CNY #HappyBeautifulYear​ 2021

Watsons Malaysia: Watsons CNY #HappyBeautifulYear​ 2021

Much like others in this list, health and beauty retailer Watsons in the country made use of a musical short film, featuring a star-studded cast including Summer Grace, Danny Ahboy, and Jenn Chia among many others.

10. Yakult Malaysia: YAKULT新年2021 ‘Miles apart, but close at heart’

Yakult Malaysia: YAKULT新年2021 'Miles apart, but close at heart'

Even before the pandemic struck, family members are forced to spend time apart for a number of reasons such as those that choose to work away from their hometowns for better opportunities. In a touching short film, Yakult Malaysia showed that there are still ways for families to send love albeit from a distance this CNY.