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McDonald’s Malaysia, AirAsia, and Vivo Malaysia drive high reach and impact by taking over the internet

This post was done in partnership with Google.

Imagine having your brand’s ads simultaneously displayed across YouTube, and other Google platforms such as search and display. Imagine it reaching and being seen by millions of Malaysians for an entire day or two.

With the aim of reaching and capturing the attention of their most valuable audiences, this is exactly what AirAsia, McDonald’s Malaysia and Vivo Malaysia did in their latest marketing approach by taking over the internet.

With over 70% of audiences across life stages: single professionals, couples and parents, accessing YouTube on a daily basis in Malaysia, these brands adopted a digital-first strategy by anchoring their creative campaigns on YouTube, with adaptations across other Google platforms for wider reach. 

McDonald’s Malaysia engaged with K-culture enthusiasts by capturing the Korean content market on YouTube; AirAsia rode on the hype of Crazy Rich Asians during 11.11 making it the talk of the town; while Vivo Malaysia launched the latest S1 by connecting with its intended audience through videos centred around a stylish and lifestyle-focused generation. 

Here’s how their digital takeovers, honing in on a specific audience, content and moment, delivered their desired results, and more.

Content takeover: McDonald’s Malaysia sells out of Spicy Korean Chicken Burgers by taking over Korean content on YouTube

Love the melodramatic antics of Korean movies and dramas? McDonald’s Malaysia hoped that you would. After a successful launch of the Spicy Korean Beef Burger in 2017, McDonald’s sought to introduce a new version to increase sales by targeting Malaysia’s ever-growing K-fan base.

“We’re seeing a surge of interest in Korean culture, with popular content and music videos constantly appearing all over YouTube, and even the radio,” said Eugene Lee, marketing director at McDonald’s Malaysia.

Tasked with a short window of time, the campaign began with several cinematic teasers. This was followed by a series of mini Korean drama-inspired videos blasted across YouTube, search, and display for two days.

The exaggerated scripts and comically engaging outbursts of My Big Secret, Forget Me Not, and Spicy Love Triangle kept viewers intrigued without needing to showcase the product until the very end. 

And the results were stunning:

In addition, search interest for the Spicy Korean Burger experienced a significant spike during the blast, with its effects lasting several days. The Spicy Korean Chicken Burger sold out, with overall sales exceeding the target by 10% within just two days.

The creativity of the videos resulted in an impressive content takeover of Korean fans in Malaysia. Paired with solid co-ordination across multiple platforms, and an effective targeting strategy, the McDonald’s campaign not only trended, but solidified its brand presence across the nation.

Moments takeover: AirAsia rides on the popularity of Crazy Rich Asians to drive ticket sales during 11.11

As the last quarter of 2018 drew to a close, AirAsia launched its final Red Hot Seat Sale of the year in the Philippines on one of the world’s most popular online shopping events – 11.11, also known as Singles’ Day.

“With so many major brands competing for attention during this critical period, we needed a more effective way to increase sales through maximum exposure, and to help cement a more positive brand impression,” recounted Ravi Shankar, AirAsia’s group head of digital marketing and analytics.

Starting with a little teaser the day before, AirAsia took it a step further by taking over the internet for two days with a music video-inspired ad.

Using an addictive jingle, paired with distinct references to the popular Crazy Rich Asians movie, its #RedHotSeatSale Video was blasted across YouTube via TrueView while being supplemented by display banners that ensured a “#RedHotSeatSale everywhere” effect.

After the two-day takeover, the video and display ads continued to run at a lower frequency, helping sustain demand and to close the sales loop. Countdown ads were also used during the last two days of the sale to drive a sense of urgency, encouraging higher click through rates (CTR).

According to Natalia Del Rosario, head of marketing for Philippines AirAsia: “We wanted to do something different to disrupt our digital audience and capture their attention through a catchy jingle and a dance video for our Filipino users.” 

By effectively taking over the internet and leveraging on current trends, AirAsia’s video achieved a 63% conversion rate within a short time, and successfully promoted a positive buzz and brand impression with consumers.

This strategy not only helped AirAsia overtake its competitors in search during the blast period, but it also resulted in a 24.4% ad recall, plus a 23% increase in visitors compared with a similar period the year before. 

But what was even more amazing was the jump in sales obtained during this short period of time. “We aimed to increase sales, and we achieved more than we could have expected,” Shankar said.

Audience takeover: Vivo exceeds sales targets by appealing to young and trendy consumers in a stylish vivo S1 launch

In its latest bid to stand out among the competition in the mid-tier smartphone category, and shift brand perception, Vivo took advantage of a targeted audience takeover directed at young, trendy consumers.

It drove attention to the vivo S1 phone through a two-day blast of display ad banners and various YouTube ad formats, including the YouTube Masthead – a digital billboard placed on YouTube’s home page.

Aimed at widespread awareness and a targeted consumer base, Vivo Malaysia incorporated the use of videos centred around a more lifestyle-focused generation through bright colours, catchy tunes, and attractive features.

“We wanted to play on the importance of the vivo S1’s display, the option of personal style, and functionality to fully capture our intended market as a more upscale brand in the mid-tier category. We hope this change in direction and strategy will help drive higher sales for the vivo S1,” said Mike Xu, CEO of Vivo Malaysia.

Through capturing the attention of its intended audience, the vivo S1 video campaign reached over 8.5 million Malaysians in just two days. Search results for the vivo S1 also continued to take the top spot for several days, even after a two-day search peak. 

Overall, the effectiveness of its strategy resulted in Vivo selling 2.5 times more phones in comparison to its previous ranges. And to top it off, it also managed to hit its two-week sales target within the first six days of the launch itself, solidifying the success of its campaign.

According to Xu: “We’re amazed at how quick and effective the results were. None of us had anticipated surpassing our two-week sales targets within just the first week of the launch itself, but that’s exactly what we did.”

The key to reaching your most valuable audiences? Capture their attention across multiple platforms all at once. 

By taking a cue from AirAsia, McDonald’s Malaysia, and Vivo Malaysia, here’s how brands can leverage on targeted consumer marketing behaviours and maximise brand exposure:

  1. Use and combine various platforms to take over the internet, audience or content over a short period of time
    Launching a new product? An effectively co-ordinated and well-timed strategy will ensure fast, maximum reach and exposure for brands.
  2. Ride the momentum of follow-up periods
    Follow up your campaigns after a short takeover with a longer targeted engagement period of several weeks to close interest loops and drive intended actions. Using a countdown campaign towards the end is an effective way at driving urgency into action.

About the event
The YouTube Festival is back in Malaysia (previously known as YouTube Week) with a series of exciting events in celebration of all things YouTube. For more information, visit