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Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Astro’s Raya movie chronicles deep coming of age story

Malaysia — It is the time of the year again with a heightened interest for IklanRaya and brands and agencies are tinkering to create entertaining videos to capture the attention of audiences. Due to this, Astro embarked on a grand plan to launch a Hari Raya movie instead.

The movie was done in collaboration with Naga DDB Tribal and is entitled ‘Tujuh Hari Di Bawah Matahari’. Directed by acclaimed film director Razaisyam Rashid, the film will be premiering nationwide exclusively on Astro GO on the evening of Hari Raya at 8.30 pm and then on the 3rd day of Raya at 8 pm on Astro RIA, PRIMA, WARNA, CITRA, CERIA. The film will be released on the 6th of May on YouTube as well.

Having a runtime of 21 minutes, the movie is breaking away from the usual formula of Raya TVCs. The movie chronicles the Ramadan journey of the protagonist through hardships; a mirror to the production of the movie which was fraught with hurdles due to the limitations of the COVID-19 pandemic. But, like a famous adage once says; most things that are worth doing are hardly ever achieved easily. The arduous journey depicted in ‘Tujuh Hari Di Bawah Matahari’ is a story of perseverance, a celebration of human will, and coming of age.

Erman Basiron, creative group head of Naga DDB Tribal, points out that a story that communicates good values is a story worth telling and that has always been the guiding principle when we work on our festive communication for Astro and any other clients for that matter.

“These days, it is common for the younger generation to gauge success simply through material success and seek validation of their self-worth from peers and society via social media. Caught up in material-world pursuits, it is all too easy to forget the true spirit of Ramadan and Hari Raya,” Basiron said.

Shiraz Faruqi, creative director of Naga DDB Tribal, commented, “This coming-of-age road trip story of a young guy who Balik kampung by cycling 500km with a cat while fasting during Ramadan and learns that “the most important things in life are not things” presents a rich storytelling opportunity that deserves more screen time on a much bigger platform. It simply makes sense for Astro, as the premier Malaysian entertainment content provider, to entertain its audience with a Hari Raya film.”

According to Tammy Toh, director of group marketing and communications of Astro, “Astro has a tradition of harnessing its multiple platforms to open minds for a brighter future. This mission to do good and contribute to the social engineering of the country is an ongoing effort. And the approach is to entertain, enlighten and empower.

Toh adds, “While insightfully tapping into the zeitgeist to entertain our audience, Astro also enlightens and empowers viewers with nuggets of wisdom to shed light on issues and remedy ignorance that currently affect society at large.”

According to an intelligence website platform, there was a marked increase in consumption of content during the period of Ramadan-Raya from April to May 2021. Users also tend to spend longer durations on those sites during each visit. Therefore, it made for a strong case to create content rather than a commercial for the benefit of Astro’s brand equity and business objectives.

Another driving factor behind the decision to ‘upsize’ a Raya TV commercial to a short movie is to appeal to a younger audience. Youth-oriented content is well received on Astro and this gave Naga DDB Tribal the confidence that a coming-of-age story would strike a chord and resonate well with a younger audience. So, instead of running the usual Raya greetings on TV and social media, this year those spots will be filled with trailers to promote the movie.

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Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Naga DDB Tribal appoints Farrah Harith-McPherson as new chief growth officer

Malaysia – Marketing communications agency Naga DDB Tribal has appointed Farrah Harith-McPherson, former managing director at media network M/Six in Kuala Lumpur, to step into the newly created role of chief growth officer.

Harith-McPherson is a branding and communications specialist with over 20 years of experience, and has served in a diverse range of roles in a leadership capacity. Aside from her previous role at M/Six, she has also held roles at BBDO Malaysia and M&C Saatchi.

In her new role at Naga DDB Tribal, Harith-McPherson will be reporting to Kristian Lee, Naga DDB Tribal’s CEO, and will work closely with Clarence Koh, the agency’s COO, Alvin Teoh, the agency’s CCO, and Alex Goh, the agency’s CSO, as well as Nik Radzi, the agency’s ECD. She will focus on driving the agency’s action goals focused on developing new services in pursuit of new business as well as organic growth. 

Moreover, Harith-McPherson will aid in charting the direction of the agency in identifying horizontal and vertical growth opportunities to elevate the diversity and level capabilities of its service offerings to existing as well as to its potential clientele. Her role also entails sharing responsibilities with the COO in streamlining the agency’s internal processes, managing key department operations, and providing guidance and leadership to agency staff members.

Commenting on her appointment, Harith-McPherson said, “I am thrilled to be joining an agency with such a strong legacy for building enduring and memorable brands. I look forward to continuing the strong growth momentum as well as being a part of the team that charts this next chapter to drive organic and new business growth for Naga DDB Tribal through new offerings and strategic collaboration.” 

Meanwhile, Lee stated that the hire was an indicator of the agency’s intent and ambition to continue to strive towards pursuing positive evolution to attain its goals of becoming an agency that truly understands and meets the marketing needs of brands of all sizes local and regional alike.

“With her experience, drive, and proven leadership qualities, Farrah brings not only vision and skill but importantly a strong voice that complements our management team perfectly. We could not be more thrilled and excited by her coming on board,” he said. 

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Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Prudential Assurance Malaysia releases new norm-inspired brand collection

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia — Prudential Assurance Malaysia, an indirect subsidiary of Prudential, has released their annual brand collateral collection — the highlight of which were table-top calendars that took inspiration from something Malaysians was accustomed to every day during the pandemic: the QR Code. The campaign was done in collaboration with ad agency Naga DDB Tribal.

According to Prudential, they were inspired by the resilience in the ‘new norm’. Hence for 2022, the company set out to turn everyday pandemic obstacles we’ve come to normalize into wellness opportunities that refresh and rejuvenate.

Naqib Shamsuri, associate creative director, said, “We realized that the QR code had become part and parcel of our daily lives. From check-ins to menus, it served as a constant reminder of the pandemic. And since we all have our QR camera handy, why not give Malaysians something positive to do with it.”

The project entitled ‘Code to Wellness’ unlocks a wonderful world of wellness not just for users of the calendar and other brand collateral, but for all Malaysians through its online website, Prudential Malaysia’s social media platforms, as well as their official health and wellness app ‘Pulse by Prudential’. By scanning the QR Code every month, customers are granted access to wellness advice, activities and even rewards to transform their year into an exciting journey of wellness.

Angeline Tung Tze Ling, head of brand and communications of Prudential Assurance Malaysia Berhad, said, “As a brand, we’re all about giving our customers the opportunity to live with confidence. This calendar gives us just that with a year’s worth of health and wellness activities to help transform our lives for the better.”

The campaign is available on Prudential’s website with a monthly promo activation.

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Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Sports candy Himalaya Vajomba launches V-day campaign with mascot Himalayeti

Malaysia — Himalaya Vajomba, an extension of Himalaya Salt Sports Candy, has launched a Valentine’s Day campaign on social platforms, dating apps, and ventured outdoors with their mascot – Himalayeti. This unique creature of folklore popular in the region is Himalaya Sports & Himalaya Vajomba’s brand ambassador. The campaign was done in collaboration with advertising agency Naga DDB Tribal.

Andrew Lim, head of sales and marketing at Nicko Jeep Manufacture, said, “Instead of pushing something tactical and adding to Valentine’s Day clutter, we trust the creative team from Naga DDB Tribal and decided to take a slightly different approach.’’

Hajar Yusof, head of digital experience at Naga DDB Tribal, commented, “We wanted to use this sweet occasion as an opportunity to reach a new pool of audience, but not just as a sponsored ad. So we thought to ourselves – what if our brand ambassador Himalayeti looks for a Valentine? Imagine swiping on Tinder and seeing a fluffy, white creature holding a bouquet of candy for you. I’d swipe right on that.”

The massive mascot whose covered head-to-toe with fur went on the popular dating app Tinder to test his luck on with its pick-up lines. In just 4 days, Himalayeti got 100 matches on Tinder and lots of pick-up lines in return. Naturally, Himalaya Vajomba took that chance to brag about it on social media, which in turn kick-started even more organic conversations online. 

The brand ambassador also went on to the popular social media platform Instagram to slide into people’s dms with some cheesy lines. Many influencers from the sports and lifestyle category responded namely Amira Ayob, Irfan Shamduddin, Amanda Imani, Ira Roslan, Daniel Cheang, Marisa Soraya, and Malaysia’s own movie star, Erra Fazira.

Himalaya Vajomba gave out sweet bouquets to all of Himalayeti’s Valentines as a sweet ending to the campaign, creating even more traction and ending it with a total engagement of 29,471 people, an uplift of +41.7% in follower growth, and 141k of earned media reach. 

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Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Astro MY tugs heartstrings with emotional CNY campaign

Malaysia — TV and radio operator Astro in Malaysia, in collaboration with advertising agency Naga DDB Tribal, has launched a festive campaign ahead of the Chinese New Year to raise awareness on the challenges of local Chinese performing artists amidst the pandemic.

Entitled ‘A Tiger’s Heart’, the film centres around the theme of finding hope and positivity amidst trying times. The film also featured one of the top Malaysian lion dance troupes to create a more realistic representation of the hardships performers endure during a time when the performing industry is struggling. The story starts with a lion dance troupe losing its heart during the pandemic before ultimately finding its footing through the sheer tenacity of one character.

Benedict Tan, Naga DDB tribal’s associate creative director, commented, “Society needs artists, just as it needs doctors, engineers, scientists, professionals, workers, fathers and mothers. We as a society owe it to these gifted and talented artistic individuals, as without the influence of performing arts and culture, one can only imagine what our world will be. And that became the inspiration and reason behind this film.”

Astro started the year with the UHuu Be Strong! campaign. Through the campaign, Astro assisted the local Chinese performing arts community with various initiatives. Aside from the film, Astro has also created a documentary entitled ‘Performers on AEC’, underscoring the journey of grit world-renowned Malaysian performers experienced. The agency also donated RM10,000 to support performing art associations.

Gavin Teoh, business director for Naga DDB Tribal, commented on the continuous support the agency is giving to Malaysian communities, saying that they will continue to use their platforms to open the minds of Malaysians — to raise awareness on cultural issues, challenge societal expectations and champion the right causes for the nation and its people.

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Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

Digi reflects on the true pulse of society this CNY

Malaysia – In conjunction with the upcoming Chinese New Year (CNY) celebration, Malaysian telco Digi has released a new short film, aimed at reminding Malaysians from all walks of life that ‘love’, ‘compassion’, and ‘understanding’ begins with family.

The short film, which was developed in partnership with marketing communications agency Naga DDB Tribal, highlights the importance of being flag-bearers of hope for one another.

Titled ‘The Undivided Heart’, the film tells the story of Amy, a young lady who inherits the family restaurant in the most challenging of times. This leads to friction between family members who run the business with her. Ultimately, she learns that the love of family is the cornerstone in times of adversity.

Cheng Weng Hong, Digi’s chief sales officer, shared that the telco wanted to inspire Malaysians to remain hopeful and optimistic during these new beginnings that bring families closer together as one. 

“On behalf of Digi, we would like to wish all Malaysians a very Happy Chinese New Year and to stay safe this festive season while adhering to strict standard operating procedures when spending quality time reconnecting with loved ones,” said Hong.

Meanwhile, Loo Chun Guan, Naga DDB Tribal’s creative director, commented, “This true-to-life story brought to life by the team at Naga DDB Tribal and Mojo Films reminds us that above all family is our true wealth. We would also like to take the opportunity to wish all Malaysians and their families a Happy Chinese New Year.”

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Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

WATCH: Watsons MY’s CNY film a splice of kung fu, comedy, and music

Malaysia – The celebration of Chinese New Year has not been the same for everyone since the pandemic hit in 2020. Seeing that most of us have been unable to ring in the new year as we once did for the past two years, many are now eager to kick off 2022 with the best possible Chinese New Year festivities. 

With this in mind, marketing communications agency Naga DDB Tribal and Watsons Malaysia have collaborated to release a festive piece based on the common sentiment of wanting to amplify the celebration this year — by welcoming the new year with a sense of revitalized hope and energy, making it “a grand and epic celebration.” 

Titled ‘大阵仗过靓年’, which translates to ‘Celebrate The Grandest #HappyBeautifulYear’, the short film is inspired by the Mandarin word, ‘功夫’ (gong fu), which could either mean ‘Kung fu’ or ‘effort’. Naga DDB Tribal said this gave the team the freedom and idea to play with the word’s double meaning, which also became the premise for the film’s main message to Malaysians – keeping them entertained and engaged in a martial arts comedy that communicates the messaging — a wonderful #HappyBeautifulYear awaits as long as we put in the effort. 

Caryn Loh, MD of Watsons Malaysia, explained, “After almost two years of battling the pandemic, Watsons, as the No.1 health and beauty retailer in the country, returns with the grandest celebration for Chinese New Year. Through this, we hope to inspire everyone that the grandest celebration comes from our hearts, and it’s with whom we celebrate that makes the celebration grandest. Together, we can embrace each other’s strengths and overcome any challenges to make this year’s celebration a grand one.”

Watsons Malaysia’s CNY campaign is further amped up with special appearances from an all-star cast which includes Han Xiiao Aii, Phei Yong, Amber Chia, Jinnyboy, Julie, Meeki, Mei Fen, Smashpop, and Wilbur.

Raphael Ang, head of Chinese copy of Naga DDB Tribal, said, “The star-studded cast, Watsons’ signature CNY melody, high production value, and the entertaining plot have made Watsons Malaysia’s CNY film the most anticipated CNY content over the years. For many viewers, content from Watsons during CNY is synonymous with the arrival of Chinese New Year and as such, we are mindful that our CNY film has a social duty in spreading good values and positive messages among Malaysians.”

The agency’s COO Clarence Koh also commented, “We believe that driving real-world business results requires us to create experiences that resonate with the audience through the conversion funnel. The film is a good starting point to generate interest and buzz for the brand but it’s not the only thing that mattered to us.”

Aside from the main film, Watsons Malaysia also produced a series of short video assets for the various digital platforms to highlight the wonderful deals that are available in-store and online. Watsons members stand a chance to win prizes worth over RM2.8 million when they purchase any Watsons products during the promotional period. Terms and conditions apply. 

Watsons’ Grandest Celebration #HappyBeautifulYear, ‘大阵仗过靓年’, has accumulated over 6 million views on both Watsons’ YouTube and Facebook platforms at the time of writing.