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5 brands in Malaysia that hit the jackpot with social media marketing

5 brands in Malaysia that hit the jackpot with social media marketing

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The pandemic has accelerated the age of the consumer. For brands to survive, it is even more pressing for them to meet consumers' ever-changing demands and be wherever they are at all times. According to Talkwalker's "2022 Social Media Trends" report, TikTok will take over social media, leaving other platforms to adapt. At the same time, social ads will develop as a result of the deprecation of third-party cookies.

The report also highlighted that omnichannel engagement will change the way consumers engage with social media. Consumers are no longer loyal to one channel, resulting in content diffusing cross-platforms faster than ever. For brands that need inspiration to cope with the fast-changing social media landscape, the team at A+M has your back. 

We turned to our Marketing Excellence Awards Malaysia 2021 results to find out which companies impressed the judging panel with their social media marketing strategies. Listed alphabetically, the top five winners below won over our independent panel through the work they have done.

1. Malaysia Airlines

With lockdown plaguing most countries in 2021, travel seemed out of the question. While people could no longer travel as they wished, Malaysia Airlines sought to remedy this problem, as well as uplift those suffering from a different kind of cabin fever, by dazzling its customers with a new kind of product – The Sounds of MH, an Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR) audio track consisting of the various sounds of travel.

ASMR is a kind of brain massage that is relaxing and offers users a full-body massage-like experience. For this particular campaign, Malaysia Airlines found the perfect way to tend to travellers’ woes, a solution that would offer once more the experience of flying, albeit simply, through sound.

From the moment one enters the airport to embark on their next travel journey, they are greeted by thousands of sounds: of checking in, to security checks and boarding gate announcements to the Malaysia Airlines in-flight announcements, sounds of taking off, the dinging of the seat belt and more. 

The Sounds of MH is a 30-minute-long video that transforms one’s mind into a live theatre through the ASMR feature, and was uploaded on YouTube for all to enjoy. The company also utilised its TikTok, Facebook and Instagram channels as other mediums where it could market its latest innovation, done through short 15-second snippets of the audio track.

User-generated content was also used by the company to better engage with audiences. This included teleprompter challenges where audiences would be able to give their rendition of an in-flight cabin crew announcement or a pilot’s announcement. These challenges were also made in various languages to suit the demographic of Malaysians – English, Malay and Mandarin.

The campaign resulted in the company’s YouTube channel gaining over 100,000-subscribers, and the average view duration went up by 54%. While TikTok was a new platform for the brand, the teleprompter challenges led to the increase of new subscribers, starting at less than 500 and reaching 15,000 in the first four days of the challenge’s launch. The language flexibility feature also helped the brand receive over 1.8 million views and 9,749 participants across TikTok, Instagram and Facebook. Many celebrities also took part which led to free publicity.

Malaysia Airlines was also able to attain PR coverage from 33 news outlets locally and globally, leading to an increase in PR media value of RM3,426,690 and exposure through celebrities’ social media accounts, with almost zero budget invested.

2. Nando’s Malaysia 

Nando’s Malaysia worked with agency Fishermen Integrated for its re-celebrate campaign in 2020. The key objective of the campaign was to increase social buzz level and positive sentiment by 10% during the campaign period and increase dine-in sales by 5% by driving footfall to the outlets through its RM10 off Full Platter-for-Four promo redemption.

Due to the Movement Control Order in Malaysia preventing diners from dining in, Nando’s suffered a 74% dip in sales during this period and had difficulty competing with rival chains that had already established a strong delivery presence and were equipped with large marketing budgets.

To stay top-of-mind amidst big competitors such as McDonald’s, KFC, Pizza Hut and Domino’s, Nando’s looked to find a way where it could increase the brand’s affinity and social media presence while using a low budget. The key goal was to drive more customers back to Nando’s and dine in once more.

Nando’s research revealed some key insights regarding relevant topics, such as what Malaysians would like to post-pandemic. The three things Nando’s identified were meeting friends, spending time with family and dining out. Yet due to the pandemic, there were a lot of missed celebrations and Nando’s sought to pick the spirit of Malaysians up again through its "Re-celebrate 2020" campaign, which allowed for “everything you wanted to celebrate but couldn’t in 2020".s Nando’s then invites customers to do so at the food outlet itself.  

The brand utilised social media as its main marketing tool, and rolled the campaign out in three stages: teaser, launch and social PR activations.

The first part of the campaign teaser saw the brand post two greeting posts on its social channels, one celebrating Hari Raya and the other Chinese New Year. These were posted in September and did not align with the dates the festivities actually took place and were done intentionally to stir confusion and curiosity. Nando’s chose to post this on the Sabah state election weekend, which made people link Hari Raya to Pilihan-Raya. Unsurprisingly, many thought Nando’s had made a mistake and were sharing it, which generated online buzz, more so as Nando’s continued to keep its fans, and even brands and news portals, guessing.

Next was the launch video, where Nando’s owned up to its fans two days after the posts through a 60-second storytelling video, done via animation. Therein it revealed that it did not in fact mix up the dates, but just wanted to re-celebrate the year. Nando’s took this opportunity to offer a promotional meal, which included RM10 off a full platter for four. Not stopping there, the brand got its fans to celebrate the festivities by having them dress up for the occasion, and continued the conversation on social media, to build more brand love and buzz. It also did a surprise delivery to and NST to celebrate the new offices and 175th anniversary respectively.

Nando’s achieved its campaign target goals by increasing buzz by 20% and seeing 2,232 weekly promos get redeemed. Brand mentions and positive sentiment also increased by 119% and 2% respectively. Nando’s also topped Twitter’s trending charts and saw a 10 times increase in organic reach across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. The campaign also generated RM908,000 in earned media value, from 37 articles and 33 social postings. 53 brands, online media and KOLs also engaged with Nando’s through social postings and comments.

3. Taylor’s University

Taylor’s University looked to tackle the topics of inequality, discrimination and underrepresentation for its 2020 Deepavali campaign. These topics were chosen in light of social issues in Malaysia, particularly those affecting Malaysia’s Indian population. Taylor’s shared that as a minority population, Indians are more impacted by regulations and policies, which creates both socioeconomic disparities and social discrimination.

Karmveer Singh, doctoral candidate in Southeast Asian Studies with a specialisation in Malaysia, wrote about how Malaysian Indians are marginalised and excluded from the mainstream of national development. This includes basic necessities, fundamental rights, and equal opportunities for progress.

Taylor’s wanted to shed light on these issues and spark conversations around them, wanting to become key thought leaders that would champion such conversations. According to Taylor’s, this was an empty space that its peers were not occupying, so it wanted to own the space and trigger these conversations while raising awareness to Malaysians.

The campaign took form in a video and tells the story of a young Indian boy Kumar, and was made available on digital platforms such as YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn, and WhatsApp. Taylor’s cited how its community communicates with the brand through social channels, and how it is these channels that give the widest reach with the opportunity for conversations to flourish. “We wanted to get as many eyes on this as possible and believed that the content had the potential for high shareability,” said the brand.

A key challenge for Taylor’s was how to approach the tone of the video. With the aim of not sounding too crass or preach-like, it referenced content that was readily available online to see issues like such were portrayed. It found that beyond direct articles, these matters were raised through the expressions of music or comedy, and were made through personal appeal.

To further balance the weight of the message to the tone of its delivery, inspiration from shows such as "Kid’s Say the Darndest Things" and viral videos of toddlers swearing were taken into consideration. Taylor’s then landed on an idea to wrap these issues in the form of innocent questions that came from a genuinely curious child and injected some humour into the way it was presented to help with this balance as well.

As lights are a prominent symbol of Deepavali, Taylor's took this further by expanding the term to represent knowledge, that would illuminate the hearts and minds of people to battle injustice. Furthermore, as an education brand, it was an opportunity for Taylor's to provide that light on Deepavali.

Taylor’s worked with partners Imagineers Film for the video, preferring a seasoned partner that has developed a unique level of understanding of the brand’s goals, with a hand in hand approach to the project. The sensitivity of the messaging also required meticulous detailing, having the right actors and the right expressions for the roles. 

To create uniformity in its key message, the completed film was exported onto a variety of formats to cater to all platforms. Taylor’s identified its corporate website as having the highest reach, which led the brand to create a dynamic banner with snippets of the film and a call-to-action to watch the full film on its YouTube channel.

YouTube was the primary site for the video, where the brand utilised TrueView to maximise reach. On the community front, Instagram was the most active platform, and the video was uploaded to IGTV with captions burned onto the visuals, to maximise reach efficiency. Taylor’s also posted teasers on its channels prior to the launch of the film to build anticipation, using teasers optimised for mobile experience through a portrait crop, a 4:5 crop for Instagram posts and a 9:16 crop for Instagram stories.

This was a deliberate decision on Taylor’s part, as data showed that mobile was the primary consumption device for the brand’s content. The brand also utilised WhatsApp, and exported a lighter version of the video that would be WhatsApp friendly, for easy distribution to internal groups, agents, and partners.

The campaign garnered 1.2 million views on YouTube, over 47k views on Instagram, and close to 1.9 million views on Facebook. The video garnered much interaction with over 5.5k engagements on YouTube, more than 6k on Instagram and 16k on Facebook. There was a total of 9k shares across all platforms.

4. Berocca

Berocca, a healthcare brand under Bayer Malaysia, looked to alleviate Malaysians’ health during Ramadan by dedicating a campaign to energise Malaysians with its products. During Ramadan, Muslim Malays are required to fast every day from dawn to sunset and go about their daily routines despite not being able to eat or drink the whole day. Berocca identified that changed nutritional habits and sleep patterns during Ramadan can cause people to be extra exhausted, especially when fasting for 12 hours every day in tropical Malaysia. Berroca sought to find a solution to this by helping Malaysians stay energised and healthy throughout the entire Ramadan month.

The two key challenges Berroca had to tackle were establishing Berocca as suitable for daily use. With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, consumer shifted to taking more Vitamin C, thus the brand needed to drive usage in order to revive the declining multivitamin category. Secondly, it looked to strengthen and own the ‘energy’ equity, which then was a whitespace. Berocca chose Ramadan as the best time to do this, where they aimed to get Malaysians to take Berocca daily during the Ramadan month and convince them that Berocca keeps them energetic throughout the day, enabling them to do more for themselves and others – a key principle during Ramadan.

Berocca chose to align its campaign with these two goals in mind, and came up with the campaign Berhari-hari Bertenaga Bersama Berocca ("Be energised daily with Berocca"). Additionally is the campaign slogan’s local relevance, which uses the BER prefix that starts off the brand namel,also used as a prefix for Malaysian action words. Thus whenever Malaysians look to be active, they need to begin with a BER. Run → Running or in Malaysian Lari → Berlari.

The brand sought to develop social content that generated engagement with consumers for this campaign, and did this by designing a 30-day #BeroccaBERchallenge that would keep people active and energised during the Ramadan month, exemplify Berocca’s benefits in providing long-lasting energy during the fasting month, and serve reminders to consume the product and form a habit of daily usage by incorporating a “surprise” element that revealed a BER-activity every day.

The #BeroccaBERchallenge was implemented as a one-month campaign across multiple digital media touchpoints in three phases: driving awareness on the importance of ‘energy,’ create excitement and buzz from the challenges and maximise conversion to trial and sales of Berocca products. For instance, video ads were placed on YouTube, Video-on-Demand platforms, FTA and Pay TV channels, and a new BER-activity was posted each day on social media, with new challenges to stay energised throughout Ramadan.

Berocca also enlisted KOLs to take part, with surprise deliveries made of the 30-day #BeroccaBERchallenge Ramadan Calendar pack – each day containing an activity and a sachet of Berocca. This would encourage the KOLs to create content as they perform the various challenges.

Berocca also brought in Ustaz Don Daniyal, a prominent Muslim religious figure and a social media influencer, to host 12 episodes of 90-second videos explaining the religious and spiritual context behind the #BERchallenge words. Conversational stickers on social media sites also helped Malaysians express Ramadan greetings in a fun way and enabled Berocca to join in their everyday conversations with catchphrases such as “patience”, “let’s break fast”, “pray more."

To drive conversion, the same calendar pack used by KOLs was made available on eCommerce site Shopee, sold exclusively on the Bayer store. Additionally, a ‘live selling expert’ hosted 3 x 45-minute sessions to explain Berocca products’ benefits, answer queries about usage and promote the calendar pack while incentivising viewers to close the loop by providing rebate vouchers and Shopee coins on the app.

The campaign received 14.2 million completed views across YouTube, Facebook and entertainment platform Viu. As for engagement, Facebook and Instagram posts reach 28.7 million users reached and an overall engagement rate of 6%. The KOL’s daily #BERchallenge postings reached 824K people, garnering 535K engagements in total.

Berocca’s Facebook and Instagram pages saw its KOL’s posts led to increased interest in the #BERchallenge and its related contents on Berocca’s Facebook and Instagram pages, reaching 784K people overall. The daily #BERchallenge postings also generated an engagement rate of 36% (vs. an average of 3%) previously. Fishermen Integrated and MediaCom Malaysia were involved in the campaign.

5. RHB Banking Group

Several SMEs across the country were forced to take a hit during the pandemic, which only worsened with declining consumer confidence and endless lockdowns. As SMEs contribute 38% of the national GDP and employ 70% of the country’s workforce, financial institutions such as RHB Bank felt the need to take up ways to provide ample support aid financial aid to the struggling local businesses.

Even though RHB’s business had been on a downward trend ever since the pandemic hit Malaysia, the company did not turn a blind eye to its SME partners who were also struggling during this time. RHB thus devised a way they could support both their SME clients and their own business. This involved finding ways to quickly increase RHB’s market share among the SME segment, stimulate card usage and strengthen the affinity and trust Malaysians had placed in the bank during these trying times.

RHB Bank took to a two-pronged approach in aid dissemination, which involved the delivery of financial aid and increasing account openings, as well as helping SMEs gain traction by exposing them to fresh audiences to stimulate spending for RHB’s existing customers. This was termed ‘Project Open,’ described by the company as an end-to-end online initiative to keep Malaysia’s SMEs "open" during and after lockdown. "Project Open" would also serve to sustain RHB’s own business among key customer groups.

RHB conducted "Project Open" in a number of ways. First, the focus was on channelling RHB’s share of Bank Negara’s Special Relief Facility (SRF) of RM10 billion assistance funds to SMEs, and through digital channels.

The company also utilised a unique audience to gain better insight into SME Business Owners, by taking on the obligation of providing for families and securing employees’ future by encouraging motivation to "stay open", extending beyond merely making a profit. RHB's creative work reflected this sentiment and targeted three key SME segments – retail, services and manufacturing. Each ad contained a simple call for action: a QR code that linked to RHB’s dedicated SME webpage, from which the required support could be obtained.  

The group also launched its #JomSapot initiative – a platform for SMEs to enlist support from RHB debit and credit cardholders. Merchants from various sectors – including retail, F&B, hospitality, travel, fashion and entertainment – could list their businesses on #JomSapot, and RHB cardholders in turn could make digital pledges to support them. These pledges were then converted into free social media advertising for the SME businesses before ultimately becoming an actual sale when the cardholder fulfilled their pledge by making a purchase from that SME.

According to the brand, 7,000 Malaysian businesses and more were aided as a result, with the SRF accepting over 1,400 successful applications and RM1 billion given in aid over the span of four weeks. #JomSapot also succeeded in supporting over 5,700 retail outlets with a 21% increase in spending by RHB credit and debit cardholders. 

RHB received top marks from retail banking customers, scoring 90% as opposed to the industry average of 83% on awareness of COVID-19 measures, with a satisfaction score of 7.65 versus the industry average of 7.55. Project Open also propelled RHB to become the leader in debit card usage, with the gap in RHB’s share of debit card spend vs the industry’s growing from 3.8% pre-campaign to 16.3% by the end of the campaign. FCB Group Malaysia was involved in the campaign.

Photo courtesy: 123RF

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