Ramadan-Raya roundup: Brands' films portray a different festive celebration

Hari Raya is around the corner, and Muslims worldwide are celebrating it in a very different setting this year. Without the family gatherings and the house visits, families celebrating Hari Raya have to adapt to new norms and seek other options to celebrate together. Similarly, Ramadan and Hari Raya are a time when brands would usually demonstrate creativity with their highly anticipated films, and this year they had to seek other alternatives to produce their Ramadan or Hari Raya films. 

From using stock images to creating animated ads, here are some of the video campaigns that the team at A+M saw across Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore:

Astro Malaysia

Astro's Raya campaign features its first-ever animated spot titled "Cerita Raya Dik Non". Done in collaboration with Naga DDB Tribal, the campaign aims to instill positive thinking within all Malaysians to promote the joyful spirit of Raya while embracing new norms during this period of uncertainty and disruption. The spot tells a story revolving a cheerful little girl named "Dik Non", who is on a mission to inject a more cheery atmosphere in her village for the upcoming Raya celebration. Her efforts are fully supported by her father, Pak Mail.

Although Pak Mail always has a serious look plastered on his face, he goes all out in helping Dik Non complete her mission because of his love for her. Pak Mail is voiced by Astro’s vice president, chief of Malay and Nusantara, content management group, Khairul Anwar Salleh.

Boost

Axiata Digital's lifestyle e-wallet, Boost, rolled out a music video titled "Raya tetap raya, buat baik dengan Boost", featuring individuals preparing for their Raya celebrations. The video was filmed using smartphones at each home during the Movement Control Order (MCO). It aims to remind consumers that while festive celebrations are not what they used to be, the meaning behind is still the same and that consumers should focus on strengthening relationships and their health.

Boost's director of product and marketing Ungku Norliza Syazwan Ungku Halmie told A+M in a statement that the team had a long discussion on how it could still create the same "Suasana Hari Raya" despite being in lockdown during Ramadan and Syawal. "We want to bring back the cheer, the hope, the smile, the laughter and the spirit of Hari Raya although in a slightly different manner. That’s where we thought about the concept of Raya Tetap Raya where we can all still celebrate this special occasion with everyone no matter where you are," she explained.

Digi Telecommunications

Telco company Digi highlights the significance of Hari Raya- a season of coming together and giving- with its Raya video “Menyulam Budi” (Embroidery). The video is told through the eyes of Norfarrah Syahirah, a special person with disability (PWD) who did not let her limitations deter her from being one of the many Malaysians who have contributed and made a difference to the fight against COVID-19. Norfarrah was inspired to put her skills of sewing to good use and volunteered to sew protection gowns for the frontliners in Teluk Intan Hospital and Klinik Kesihatan Teluk Intan instead of the usual Raya apparels for this season.

Bernard Lee, Digi’s head of marketing services said Digi hopes to share these heartwarming stories to inspire Malaysians to continue to play their part in helping the nation through these difficult times. It also hopes to keep the spirit of Raya alive even though the means of celebrating is going to be different this year.

Grab Malaysia

Grab completely re-designed the messaging and shoots of its Ramadan campaigns to be shot entirely from home, in support of Indonesian and Malaysian governments' call for safe distancing. While brainstorming for the campaign concept, regional country marketing head, Sulin Lau, told A+M that the team in Malaysia analysed Google Trends data to see what consumers generally searched for during Ramadan, especially during the MCO period.

Props had to be delivered and the director had to direct the talent virtually. "We initially had a slightly different idea approved in early March when the world at that time didn’t look like what it does today. When the MCO was implemented in Malaysia, the only location we could do the filming at is at Search's own family home. We simplified the films to be VLOG-style, lighter on equipment and his family helped out with recce by taking photos of the different rooms in the house. There was a lot of 'DIY-ness' in here," she explained.

Heinz ABC Indonesia

Heinz ABC Indonesia's campaign champions togetherness and spread a message of hope and resilience to Indonesian families observing the holy month of Ramadan during the COVID-19 pandemic. Done in collaboration with VMLY&R, the campaign sees Heinz ABC reassuring Indonesian consumers that its factories will remain open throughout Ramadan, so that the Heinz ABC products that Indonesians love will stay available to help people cook together while staying home during the month of hope.

Communicating the message that "We step out, so you don’t have to", the Heinz ABC family conveys that it is doing its duty as a part of the larger Indonesian family by going to work, so everyone else does not have to.

Kraft Heinz CMO, Asia Dhiren Amin said as it has proved time and time again, cooking is an excellent way to bond with loved ones, and there is no better time than during Ramadan.

“We set out to create meaningful Ramadan campaigns with family as the central focus, aiming to remind people of the true meaning of this time, while underlining the positive message of staying together and staying resilient in the face of tougher times,” Din Sumedi, VMLY&R Indonesia's chief creative officer, said.

Indosat Ooredoo

Indonesian telco Indosat Ooredoo launched its Ramadan campaign by producing a song with four young Indonesian singers - Hindia, Sal Priadi, Kunto Aji and Yura Yunita. Titled ‘Silaturahmi Setiap Hari’ which means friendship every day, the song aims to bring hope to Indonesians and lift everyone's spirits amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Adhering to social restrictions, the campaign from planning to execution was done without a single physical meeting between the clients, crew, agency, director, cinematographer and talents. 

Fahroni Arifin, Indosat’s SVP brand management and strategy said that within 50 hours, the spot garnered 3.7m view on YouTube and generated 3,000 positive comments. According to Arifin, the whole process from ideation took about three weeks, while the shooting itself took about five days in total. At the time of writing, the video had attracted 7.9m views.

Ikano Centres

Ikano Centres' latest Raya film features a TikTok integration and a dance challenge. Ikano Centres is part of IKEA Southeast Asia and its #TipTokRaya campaign engages Malaysians to participate in a dance challenge through the #TipTokRaya brand film. The film features three elder generation ‘Toks’ who give advice to their younger generation family members to help keep family and cultural traditions alive.

#TipTokRaya is also the first ever Raya brand film with a fully mobile optimised vertical 9:16 cut for viewers to enjoy. Users can further view the three instructional dance videos on the activation page, alongside customised AR filters and stickers and a specially composed #TipTokRaya song. The spot was done in collaboration with Ensemble Worldwide and Directors ThinkTank. 

IKEA Southeast Asia's head of marketing (shopping centre), Andrew Yeoh, said the campaign is full of cheeky yet clever word play and brings home the message of respect for elders and traditions playing an important part in our culture. "In addition, to honour and help our less fortunate Toks during these tough times, we will also be working with the Lost Food Project to donate food, medical equipment and supplies to nearly 1,000 elderly families in the Lembah Pantai PPR area," he added.

Meanwhile, Ensemble's GM Phang Mei Jeng said as Raya is celebrated differently this year with the ongoing movement control order, its insights indicated that a lot of grandchildren will be left clueless about the necessary preparations to get Raya-ready. 

"Each ‘Tok’ represents an expert on a specific tradition typically carried out during Raya – making dodol (a traditional coconut candy), tying the sampin (the traditional hip scarf worn by men) and cleaning and decorating. The 'Toks' devise a clever way to connect with the younger generation by demonstrating their Raya prep tips through unique #TipTokRaya dances on TikTok," she added.

KitKat Malaysia

KitKat, together with Wunderman Thompson Malaysia, is encouraging Malaysians to take a break to ease the discomfort of separation from loved ones, especially in this Raya season. People all over the world are experiencing distance from loved ones at this moment in time. And it is even more challenging for those who ordinarily would be about to celebrate Hari Raya with their families and friends but now, are unable to.

KitKat sought to sweeten the situation a little by collaborating with local artists to rally Malaysians to still enjoy the coming season with their family, albeit being physically apart, and to celebrate the little breaks wherever possible. The campaign, #RayaBersama KITKAT, conceptualised by Wunderman Thompson Malaysia, is available on YouTube, Facebook and Instagram.

Maxis

Maxis' latest Raya film combines its first ever 8D audio film launched earlier this week, called Suasana Syawal Sempurna featuring the voice of young Haziq, with scenes of real-life Malaysian festive stories from the past and present. The images in the film, now accompanying the 8D audio narrative, show that Malaysians have experienced imperfect Hari Raya circumstances before – from natural disasters and distanced loved ones, to underprivileged and unexpected locations – yet have had joyous, perfect celebrations.

In the audio, Haziq shares how consumers can celebrate Raya with a full heart, for there is beauty even in adversity. According to Maxis, the audio is best experienced with earphones.

Tai Kam Leong, head of brand and marketing, said it wanted to stir the listeners' imagination to picture the perfect Raya in their own ways, as everyone has a unique take on what makes the occasion meaningful to them. Hence, it launched the 8D audio film as a prelude. "The full film, with images of past celebrations and present circumstances, serves to celebrate and salute the Malaysian spirit where we have always celebrated Hari Raya with enthusiasm, love and appreciation undiminished regardless of the situation,” Tai added.

Perodua

While this year's Raya festivities might be different from last year's, one of the constants that remain is Malaysian's love for Raya songs. Regardless of circumstances, there will always be a handful of classic Raya songs that get people celebrating and reflecting. 

Inspired by the kindness of Malaysians, Perodua together with SPIN Communications, Fuse and Clic Production, released a Hari Raya music video that instils messages of positivity. It also reminds consumers to be grateful for every little blessing they have received during this special month.

With vocals by Alif Satar, Jumpa Lagi reminds Malaysians that with love, kindness and gratitude towards all those around them, they can bring out the true meaning of the celebration today, and look forward to better times ahead. Since festive songs are synonymous with Raya, SPIN wrote the song and came up with this music video for everyone, especially for those who may not be able to get back home in time.

PUB Singapore

Public Utilities Board (PUB), Singapore’s national water agency, has launched a campaign this year to shed light on the challenges of fasting during Ramadan and the circuit breaker period for Singapore’s frontline workers. Conceptualised by Tribal Worldwide Singapore, the campaign shares stories of Muslim colleagues on the frontline as they take that first sip of water when breaking their fast in the evening, and aims to encourage others to share their thoughts when taking their #FirstSipOfWater.

RHB Bank

RHB Bank's Raya film "Hikmah" reflects on the changes that millions of Malaysians are coming to terms with while ushering Ramadan and Raya this year. Created with only stock images and footages, RHB hopes to convey the message that behind the adversities lie silver linings that enable us to discover new hope and strength in one another. The minute-and-a-half film was done in collaboration with ad agency FCB Malaysia, and narrates how Raya will be differently celebrated this year due to the MCO restrictions, but it is also filled with meaning and heartfelt blessings. It ends with the caption "progress is about seeing hope in adversity".

Safi

Personal care brand Safi has partnered with Malaysian singer Alif Satar for its Raya campaign video this year. The video showed Alif with his family going about their daily lives, and how different Safi products can be used for every day. It also featured a song sang by Alif himself. The video is accompanied by the caption "the Aidilfitri celebration is more radiant with moments of joy shared with the family." It has garnered 1,299,004 views on Safi's YouTube channel at the time of writing.

SP Setia

While circumstances might be different, the spirit of Raya will always be the same and SP Setia aims to convey that message through its Raya film. Co-owner and CEO of FCB Malaysia, Shaun Tay, told A+M that this particular video stands out because the animation is part of the original concept to show the imagination of the child and how he sees a different Raya.

"We didn’t use animation as an alternative way to execute the story. It’s only towards the end that you realise what is taking place, which is fundamental to storytelling - draw the audience in right to the end," he added.

Tay also explained that for consumers to connect with films even though they were shot virtually, the work has to be born of a compelling insight. He added that it is the insight that creates the connection between the audience and the story created.

"In our case, it is how the innocence of children always make us realise what true joy means. As reflected in the child's drawings, this Raya will not be as different as we fear, because we are more connected than usual during these unusual times. The true meaning of Raya is about spending time together with our loved ones, and that is something distance can never take away," he explained.

Sun Life Malaysia

Insurance company Sun Life Malaysia unveiled an animated Raya video titled "Gemerlapan Sinar Aidilfitri" (which translates to "glittering rays of Aidilfitri"). Done in collaboration with M&C Saatchi Malaysia, the video aims to feature Hari Raya traditions and celebrations while driving home a message of hope and togetherness. This is despite Malaysians having to spend what is probably the first Hari Raya away from their extended families.

The video is supported by a holistic digital campaign featuring its brand ambassador and movie star, Hairul Azreen, along with micro-influencers in a "#OOTDSLM" contest that tasks Instagram users to dress up in their Raya outfits and share their most creative reasons for a chance to win prizes. At the same time, Sun Life Malaysia also launched mini-videos by Hairul that shared the history of those Raya traditions and also a pelita (lamp) making tutorial to equip Malaysians with techniques of making their very own pelita using items that are readily available at home.

Tehbotol Sosro

Beverage company Tehbotol Sosro's Ramadan campaign titled "Memberi Kebahagiaan adalah Kebahagiaan" (to deliver happiness is happiness) is fronted by a minute-long commercial ad featuring frontline workers such as healthcare workers, delivery couriers, supermarket cashiers, and social workers. Done in collaboration with Indonesian creative agency Flock Creative Network, the ad is accompanied with the caption "This time, Ramadan feels different. However, when meeting is not an option, there are those at the forefront, willingly connecting ties. Whatever they do, they all know that giving happiness is happiness. Let's share the goodness in Ramadan."

Tenaga Nasional

Tenaga Nasional's (TNB) Raya video titled "#SemangatRayaEpikFantastik" is a compilation of different short clips showing families spending time together doing various activities. These include cooking, getting haircuts, and putting up Hari Raya decorations. Done in collaboration with Reprise Digital, the video also showed families taking pictures with their relatives while connecting with them online, ending with the phrase "may this Aidilfitri teach us the meaning of gratitude under any circumstances". The social post is also accompanied with the caption: "They said distance makes the heart grows fonder. When you’re together by heart, distance doesn’t make a difference after all."

TNB's chief corporate officer Wira Roslan Ab. Rahman said the MCO has given Malaysians a new lease of life. "Things that were previously taken for granted are now appreciated, and in its place, we are becoming more creative, compassionate and giving. It has given Malaysians a chance to rediscover new purpose and nurture family ties, and this is something we all should view with gratitude," he said.

Meanwhile, Reprise ECD Kevin Le explained that there is a quirky, whimsical and amusing quality that has come to be a trademark of TNB festive films over the past few years. "This year’s film shows a slightly restrained, yet light-hearted tone due to the stay at home order. It sought inspiration from all the talents and skills that Malaysians were picking up and sharing online and represents that sense of looking on the brighter side of things," Le said.

Tesco Malaysia

Tesco and Naga DDB Trial partnered to produce the “Raya Jimat, Raya Selamat. Bersama Walaupun Jauh” campaign, aimed at allowing families to be together this Raya despite being apart. Through creative involvement of household members in its video production, a perfect Raya message was sent across to the celebrating families in the spirit of Raya. The video showcases the intimate moments that surfaced during Raya festivities, and combined creativity with technology to celebrate important traditions online. 

Vivo Malaysia

Despite current social restrictions, vivo Malaysia produced a light-hearted Ramadan film highlighting the importance of family connections. Titled "#RayaStyleLain", the film was done in partnership with VMLY&R Malaysia and reminds viewers that hope can be ignited especially when they know their friends and family are safe and sound. The film was uploaded on vivo Malaysia’s YouTube and Facebook channel, and has garnered more than six million views and three million views respectively last week. The video was then uploaded on all of vivo Malaysia’s social media platforms, gaining approximately 32,000 likes, reactions and shares with tons of positive responses from the audiences.

Brandon Lim, vivo’s regional marketing and strategy director, said the film is not the typical, tear-jerker that consumers used to seeing each year. "It is about seeing the best of our circumstances and celebrating despite not being able to physically be with family. VMLY&R’s insight into the mindset of Malaysians during this time and their inventive approach to creating a film remotely has made them an ideal partner for us," he added.

VMLY&R Malaysia's MD Eric Ho said it wanted to show how, even if consumers are at home, they can still connect with family and that Raya can still be celebrated, even when families are apart. "We took it as an exciting challenge to create the entire film with all of us staying in our own homes, and this has shown us what we can achieve when we think outside the box," he added.

Watsons Malaysia

Watsons Malaysia's Raya campaign titled “Jauh di Mata, Tetap Beraya” reminds Malaysians that they can still celebrate Raya amidst the social distancing. The campaign comprises a main film, as well as a TV commercial and a set of extension videos which highlight the products that will be on sale at Watsons this Raya. Done in collaboration with Naga DDB Tribal and film company Graph Studio, the three-minute film shows a young girl being worried that she will not get to celebrate Raya. Watsons’ ambassador, Ayda Jebat, then appears, showing the young girl how the spirit of Raya can be maintained through video conferencing and delivery services provided by Watsons.

It also featured celebrities and personalities including Jalaluddin Hassan, Yaya Zahir, Nazrudin Rahman, Alyssa Dezek, Sean Lee, Jinnyboy, Amber Chia, Fiqrie and Nithya who participated in the filming via video conference call. 

Yoodo

Yoodo's Raya ad was inspired by the exploits of 15th century Malay warriors coloured through modern lenses. It showcases five legendary warriors - Hang Tuah, Hang Jebat, Hang Lee Kiu (Lekiu), Hang Cashturi (Kasturi) and Hang Lekir in classic garb over a video conference call – an ingenious reference to the very real situation that all Malaysians are facing currently. 

While the five warriors catch up over the video call, things take a sour turn due to a misunderstanding and jealousy between Hang Jebat and the rest of his "gang". Ultimately the spirit of Hari Raya shines through with compromise and forgiveness saving the day and resolving the misunderstanding. The ad was done in collaboration with creative agency 4 Thirteen. 

Head of marketing Chow Tuck Mun said while planning for the ad, the team wanted something that matched its brand philosophy and reflected the reality of this year’s Raya. "This year’s Raya may be quite different but there is nothing that prevents the human spirit from connecting and sharing in the joy of this meaningful occasion, even if it means relying on technology to bridge the physical distance,” Chow said.

4 Thirteen's lead strategist Jan Lee said the initial version of the script was set in a kampung house but the team had to change course swiftly when the pandemic broke out and the MCO was announced, scuppering any plans of having normal production for the advertisement. Hence the entire script and premise was rejigged to have all the characters interacting over a video conference call before Raya.

On shoot day, each talent was sent a simple camera set up, which then was broadcast to the director and agency who remotely directed the shoot. After shooting each talent separately, the entire video was seamlessly edited to resemble a video call, despite the cast not having any actual interaction or visual cues between each other during the shoot.

Related articles:
Top 10 Ramadan and Raya YouTube ads that stopped the thumbs of Malaysians