Digital Connections for Deepavali

As Deepavali completes its celebration, the festival of lights is only the beginning of festive ads for the months to come.

Take a look at how brands have taken advantage of the cultural holiday to strengthen connections with their audience this year.

1. Petronas’ webfilm goes back to basics

Petronas, after a maligned departure from their typical heartwarming tone and manner last year, returns to form with a moving 3-minute long webfilm serial. Titled “Our Deepavali”, the first webfilm introduces the story of Rani, a caretaker of the elderly, and her adventures with three elderly friends. Four webisodes detailing the journey of their friendship have been planned, with one webisode released each week of November on Petronas’ YouTube page. Together, the four friends travel to different parts of the country like Seremban and Penang to learn more about traditional Indian customs, delicious recipes and even about oil lamp production.  Petronas tells A+M that for 2013, the focus is on promoting social equality, tolerance and understanding. Besides the value of a particular celebration, campaigns all seek to highlight the common values shared and embraced across all races in Malaysia. The campaign is supported by print ads across all major dailies, with banners, adwords, bloggers and social media support online. The first video has received over a million hits on the YouTube channel. DNA360 took on creative duties while the film was produced by Reservoir Productions. The media agency for this product is Zenith Media.

2. Kita Kawan Mah spreads the light

Kita Kawan Mah, a social collective initiated by Naga DDB, organised cyclists online to deliver food to the homeless a week before Deepavali. Titled “Ride the Light” the campaign was created by Alvin Teoh, executive creative director of Naga DDB with food sponsored by Fierce Curry House. Cyclists were recruited from all over the Klang Valley to act as sponsors and delivery agents for food and light. Teoh, in a post event video says that this initiative is about using the internet to promote social welfare. The campaign’s message is literally spreading the light during the festival of lights, because each bike is equipped with a light bulb. “A rider’s goodness is represented by the light so symbolically we’re bringing lights all over the place." Kita Kawan Mah is a collective that celebrates real Malaysians and the values we all share. The core of the groups’ message is that we are all friends, and more same than we are different. When queried about the recent trend of social initiatives popping up all over the place in Malaysia, Chan Woei Hern, creative director of Naga DDB tells A+M that it is probably in response to the negativity that has plagued the country since the recent general elections. “As communicators, we feel obliged to spread cheer especially during the festival season.”

3. GSC’s modern greeting card

In response to customers becoming more digitally savvy, Golden Screen Cinemas (GSC) took the traditional greeting card and made it an interactive, animated experience for Deepavali. Entitled "Blossom the Kolam," users can send personalised e-greeting cards via Facebook or e-mail through GSC Deepavali 2013 from October 17 to November 12.  GSC tells A+M that the festive season is about connecting and getting closer with family and friends which is why the greeting card app spreads the message of an “everlasting glow of prosperity." Target audience includes business relations, customers, GSC website visitors and GSC Facebook fans. HTML 5 technology was used in building an app that could be accessed via any web browser on any personal computer, tablet or smartphone. Promotion efforts revolve around GSC touch points like the website, cinema locations, social media sites (Facebook / Twitter) and GSC Mobile Applications (iPhone / Android). GSC says that responses on the app are measured using Facebook Insights, Google Analytics and tracking tools and so far, the results have surpassed expectations. The campaign was created by Monster Interactive with GSC for 2013's festive campaigns.


The question in mind is whether this digital spend will pay off? Does the medium offer wider scope for imaginations to run free, or just larger headaches?