Agency turns mud into “gold” for Malaysia’s flood-relief efforts

Following Malaysia’s worst flooding in recent years, one agency has created a campaign to aid disaster relief efforts.

Late last year, Malaysia saw its worst flooding in decades, with more than 120,000 locals forced out of their homes. The worst hit areas were the northern states of Kelantan, Pahang, Terengganu and Perak.

In a project driven by the agency, Naga DDB has created a campaign to raise funds for the re-building efforts.

Executive creative director Alvin Teoh said that instead of working on annual festive greetings, the agency decided to put its efforts towards easing the calamity.

Working on the Kuala Kerai area in Kelantan, the agency chose a kampung kindergarten to aid. “Most relief efforts focussed on the bigger schools so this small one received very little help. The entire school, except the roof was under water and the entire compound, which is the children’s playground was covered with mud. Plants died, furnitures rotted and everything was a mess,” said Teoh.

“When we were in Kuala Kerai, teachers told us that you could touch the bulbs from the street lamps. And it was evident that the mud that came with the floods covered and damaged everything it touched. By some estimates, the water rose 40-50 feet. We saw debris on the roofs of 3-storey buildings and many trees had chairs, tables, clothing and even a refrigerator left on its branches,” he added.

The agency started a campaign creating “gold” ingots from the mud in the affected area, moulding 500 ingots by hand. These are then sold on a microsite to raise funds at Chinese New Year themed prices of RM88, 128 and 168.

“In shifts, and over the course of 6 days, we moulded 500 ingots by hand. Each took 25-30 minutes to get right. Then there were constant patch up work before it went into the furnace. At this time of writing, batches are still being fired up. We’re using 900 degrees of heat and need another 24 hours to cool down before we can pack them and ship them”, said Teoh.

According to Teoh, sales are still coming in and the agency is exploring further phases of the campaign.

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