HuatAR, says Maxis as it uses AR to bring the lions on its Ang Paos to life

Maxis is re-imagining the way consumers experience the lion dance with the HuatAR Ang Pao. This is an ang pao (red packet) that helps bring ‘Ah Huat’, the lion, to life using augmented reality (AR). Beyond watching the lion dance, consumers can be part of it – through the Maxis HuatAR App.

It worked with Ensemble Worldwide, IPG Mediabrands Malaysia’s creative agency, for the campaign with the aim of bringing  blessings (‘Huat’ in Hokkien) to many, and make the culturally significant lion dance more accessible to masses through the use of augmented reality (AR) technology. Users are able to download the Maxis “HuatAR” app and collect unique ang pao packets from any Maxis store and through AR, the scanned ang pao packets will transform and activate an interactive lion that users will be able to engage with.

The app itself was developed from scratch with The Ministry Experience. According to the agency, the in-depth research went into studying lion dance movements to make the experience as realistic as possible, with the lion developing pet-like behaviours, and animated movements to have a mix of traditional and millennial interactions.

Executive creative director of Ensemble Worldwide, Chan Woei Hern, said, “Ang pao packets are the one commodity Malaysians look forward to from big brands during Chinese New Year. This year, with the help of technology, we get a chance to give Malaysians that little bit extra in their red packet.”

The team worked with several parties to bring this to fruition, including Kun Seng Keng (KSK) Lion and Dragon Dance Association who acted as a cultural advisor. KSK has been a pioneer in lion dance, and shared insights about its evolution and future in Malaysia, including the challenges of economies, space and availability of lion dance troops during the CNY period.

Chan added, “There have been attempts at pocket-sizing the iconic lion dance into mobile before, but with the progress in scalable AR technology, we wanted to push the level of interactivity even further. The team has included lots of features to make it fun for the entire family, and we can’t wait to see how Malaysians play and create their own content with it. This however is just stage one. As we see AR seep into more of our daily lives, we want to see how brands can infuse technology into every bit of their funnel, from e-commerce to education to story doing.”

Head of marketing services at Maxis, Tai Kam Leong, said, “Following the cult success of PokemonGo, and Hotlink Pokemobile, we were excited to integrate the beauty of AR with the culturally relevant lion dance. The idea that our users would be able to have a lion dance within their pocket was powerful, and we are excited to partner Ensemble to bring this to life.”

The HuatAR app is available for download from the app and play store today, and on iOS next week. There are three ang paos available at Maxis stores, with each initiating a unique lion named ‘Ah Huat’ who will perform a distinctive dance move.

Check out the campaign below:


Here’s how the HuatAR ang paos work:

  1. Upon receiving the ang pao, scan the QR code located on the flap to download the HuatAR app on Google Play Store or Apple App Store. Alternatively, you can go to
  2. Install and open the HuatAR app and scan the front of the ang pao
  3. Ah Huat is immediately brought to life on the mobile screen.

Maxis’ HuatAR ang paos come in three designs– red, gold and pink – inspired by key aspects of life. Each ang pao design initiates a unique ‘Ah Huat’ with its own special dance move.

Meanwhile, Maxis had a fair bit of shuffle on its marketing team last year. Head of marketing services Sulin Lau left the company to join Facebook as head of agency, Southeast Asia in December and is now based in Singapore. Meanwhile the telco's head of marketing communications Bernard Lee, joined competitor DiGi Telecommunications.