McDonald's unites Malaysian staff stuck in SG for Ramadan with family

McDonald's Singapore has unveiled an emotional ad this Ramadan that "reunited" families across borders with its new initiative titled "My Happy Table". The ad featured three of McDonald's Singapore staff who have family in Malaysia and are unable to travel back during Ramadan to break fast with their families due to the current travel restrictions. These staff shared their experience of being away from their families for almost a year, and what they hope to do with their families once they are reunited. McDonald's then surprised these staff with a projection of their families seated in McDonald's Malaysia. The projection seems to be an extension of the table where the featured McDonald's staff are sitting from, creating an realistic image of the virtually-reunited family sharing a meal together. 

The ad has garnered over 8,800 positive reactions, 480 comments, and 6,200 shares. Many netizens shared that they cried while watching the film, while others left words of encouragement to Malaysian staff working in Singapore. One netizen commented: "To our Malaysia neighbors and friends, kudos and thank you for all your sacrifices. may you’ll be rewarded with good things in life. salute." Many netizens also commended on McDonald's on the ad, with one saying that it is a great ad as it does not overlook the contributions of Malaysian staff working in Singapore. Others also thanked McDonald's for the touching and sweet video.

The ad was done in collaboration with McDonald's Singapore's creative agency Leo Burnett. Besides Facebook, the film is running on Instagram and YouTube as well. 

In a statement to MARKETING-INTERACTIVE, Jennie Morris, Publicis Communications' chief creative officer said: “McDonald's is one of the few brands that can authentically participate in culture. My Happy Table is a wonderful example of meaningful creativity, where even just for a few hours, McDonalds could recreate the magic of sharing a meal together - showing that our spirit of Ramadan is definitely stronger than the border that divides us.”

Morris added that McDonald's Singapore is planning to provide the experience to others who want to connect with their family in Malaysia. "It will be the experience shown in the film, where we connect physical tables through video projection," she said. While the campaign is only running in Singapore, Morris said it is also gaining traction in Malaysia. 

Through the initiative, the intent was to bridge the distance felt by many with the border closure between Singapore and Malaysia by reuniting families at the Ramadan table, Morris told MARKETING-INTERACTIVE. The initiative is centred around a table as the table is at the heart of family gatherings.

"With each of us having our own separate lives during most of the day, the table at home binds us together. It’s where we meet, eat, laugh and create memories. It’s the focal point of celebrations, and it’s particularly important for Muslim families breaking their fast together during Ramadan. However, with COVID-19 international border closures in place, family gatherings in Singapore and Malaysia don’t feel like they used to – especially for the many Muslim Malaysians who either moved to Singapore for work, or (used to) commute every day between Johor and Singapore," she added. Given the situation, the idea for a reunion table was birthed. MARKETING-INTERACTIVE has reached to McDonald's Singapore for additional information.

Separately, McDonald's Singapore is also shedding light on changing consumers behaviour with its campaign "Night-In". The campaign aims to reflect how nights-in have become the new nights out and is fronted by a 45-second spot that mirrors the newfound joys of staying home. 

The ad is also edited into two separate 15-second versions, with one targeting at Gen Z and another targeted at Millennials. The ad for Gen Z is titled "#FOMO is out. #JOMO is in. Tonight. Are you in? McDonald's." One can only assume JOMO in this case refers to the "Joy of missing out", which contrasts the term "FOMO", or fear of missing out. Meanwhile, the shorter ad for Millennials is titled "Work out, chill out, go all out. Tonight. Are You In? McDonald’s." The original ad was done in partnership with director Roslee Yusof from Freeflow Productions, who said he wanted to create a distinct sound, scene and style for what a great night in Singapore might feel like these days. 

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