Merdeka Day 2021 roundup: Brands put a twist to the celebrations

Merdeka Day 2021 roundup: Brands put a twist to the celebrations

share on

With Merdeka Day around the corner, Malaysia is not allowing the pandemic to dampen celebratory spirits. Putrajaya recently lit up in the colours of the Jalur Gemilang as part of its annual Night Lighting Programme. According to The Star, Putrajaya Corporation decided to go with red, blue and yellow this year unlike the colourful lights in previous years. At the same time, Malaysia will also be playing two new patriotic songs - Keluarga Malaysia (Malaysian Family) and Menang Bersama (Winning Together) - during tomorrow's National Day ceremony, The Star reported.

This year's National Day celebration will also be based on the mixed reality concept which combines physical presentation with AR and extended reality. Quoting Information Department director-general Mohd Sukari Ab Hamid, Bernama said the use of these technologies will give viewers the impression as if they are watching the performances on site. Meanwhile, brands are also doing their part to liven up the mood and commemorate Merdeka Day. Here is a roundup of this year's Merdeka Day ads.


Celcom’s Merdeka campaign-themed “U Ok Tak?” encourages Malaysians to reconnect with someone in their lives through a simple check-in. The idea of the campaign is to translate a simple phone call or text into a series of video shorts that captures the uniqueness of each interaction. Ultimately, warming the heart of the receiver and bringing smiles to faces. This demonstrates that locals are able to stay connected, and have meaningful interactions over a phone call, text, or video. Through a short yet meaningful phone call, text, or video, Malaysians would be able to sincerely support one another during these challenging times.


Additionally, Celcom is also introducing engaging ways for Malaysians to reach out to others with ease. Netizens are able to download a check-in template from the company's Instagram page, customise and share it. In order to drum up more awareness, the company has also released a downloadable profile picture on Facebook, encouraging locals to use it as a display picture for social media platforms.


Digi's Merdeka Day video titled “Teladan was inspired by the children in the pandemic and shows how aware the children are of the everyday struggles of making ends meet in the family. It was also a homage to the values of diligence and determination, as well as the kindness and generosity showed to those more in need. Often, this can have an enduring influence on these children, instilling important values that remain with age.

Forced to adapt to a new routine, these children also learned to be more appreciative of the meaningful moments that have now been relegated to the digital world, from missing school time to yearning for the simple joy of playing with friends or spending waktu rehat (break time) together. As the children watch their parents find creative ways to make ends meet and give back to the community, head of marketing services Bernard Lee said they too will adopt this spirit of perseverance and compassion. 


Hoping to inspire Malaysians to "start moving the good way", Jacob's launched its #GerakanKebaikan64 Merdeka campaign in commemoration of Malaysia’s 64th independence day. In a four-part video series, the campaign featured a new rendition of the patriotic song "Tanggal 31 Ogos" by the late singer Sudirman. Using the cream crackers as a canvas for the animation, the video features a stop-motion series of figures working out in various exercises such as planking, push-ups and yoga. Through this initiative, Jacob's aims to help to locals snack better and live healthier lives. The campaign was done in collaboration with Leo Burnett Malaysia.


At the same time, it also rolled out its new Instagram AR filter to get locals moving and live active and healthier lives. Also utilising the hashtag #GerakanKebaikan64consumers were encouraged to record themselves performing simple movements and sharing the videos after.  


MILO Malaysia worked with Reprise Digital for a fully animated film to commemorate the upcoming Merdeka and Malaysia Day celebrations. Inspired by the "Malaysia Boleh" spirit, the film "Tetap Di Sisi Walau Berganti Generasi" shows a series of motivational messages with MILO as a symbol of strength that has stayed with the locals over many generations. Through the campaign, MILO aims to trigger a sense of belonging, relevance and nostalgia in Malaysians’ hearts. To go back in time, the team asked people who lived in that era about the memories each of them had with the MILO cans. 

The brand also reimagined its iconic tin by working with a local designer from Loka made to create limited-edition commemorative tins. The tins come in two designs portraying the intrinsic culture of Malaysian’s heritage and lifestyle, both in and out of home. Utilising an AR element, a QR code was incorporated on the tins portraying the designs on the warung and the kopitiam

The idea of taking the AR route came to MILO as an intention to bring the whole warung and kopitiam experience to Malaysians. As the consumers reminisce on all the great memories they have with the culture, it also portrays how "intrinsic MILO is to Malaysian's culture and heritage", MILO's spokesperson told A+M

Commemorated through multiple touchpoints, the brand's film videos recognises strength, unity perseverance and the tenacity of the locals, which are the "core values of MILO". The film also highlights MILO's iconic tins and how it has a special place in the local's daily lifestyle. 

Ensemble Worldwide and PETRONAS

PETRONAS and Ensemble Worldwide has released an animated film, “Demi Cinta'' (In the name of love), to commemorate the Merdeka and Malaysia Day celebrations. 

The film is a meaningful reminder for Malaysians to face the challenges ahead with resilience and love. Composed by Malaysian composer Mohariz Yaakup and singer Vanessa Reynauld, the film follows the stories of Malaysians facing challenges from different walks of life. Reminded of the love from their children, family, and country, the individuals in the video have their spirits lifted throughout these dark times. 

PETRONAS senior GM of group strategic communications, Datin Anita Azrina Abdul Aziz said, “We wanted to continue our storytelling journey through progressive means while staying true to our signature of evoking profound emotions to promote unity in Malaysia. A love song that is dedicated to all Malaysians, Demi Cinta is a theme song that symbolises the strive and strides when overcoming challenges, progressing “as one big family,” she explained.

Shopee Malaysia

Shopee Malaysia teamed up with rapper Kayda Aziz for a special song this Merdeka Day titled #ShopeeSapotLokal. The music video depicts an animated version of six members of the local seller community on Shopee in an outer space theme as a way of paying tribute to how they aimed for and landed on the moon with their businesses. Metaphorically, that is.

The sellers are Amirah Norman (PotonGuler), Zeeda Aziz (Pasar Kedah), Jamie Thoo (Babymart), Juhairi Aziz (Viraller), Farah Suhaimi (Intan Kek Lapis Sarawak) and Kiridaren Jayakumar (Kedai Buku Bibliophile) with unique, inspiring stories to tell. With lyrics written by Kayda herself, she raps about the efforts and eCommerce journey of these sellers, while reminding everyone to not give up and believe in themselves. The animated music video is part of the #ShopeeSapotLokal initiative which Shopee has launched to provide dedicated assistance and to celebrate the local seller community

Meanwhile, Shopee also had a Merdeka-themed creative contest internally which has resulted in some interesting designs from its employees, such as a Merdeka clothing series. Employees were tasked by the HR team to creatively incorporate the four colours of the Malaysian flag in the submissions.


Yoodo's Merdeka campaign "Bila Larut Lockdown" depicts a Malaysian living alone during the lockdown, who after rejecting multiple attempts from his friend, finds himself talking to the furniture. The video aims to highlight the feeling of isolation. that has enveloped Malaysians as a result of the recent recurring lockdowns. Utilising social platforms such as YouTube, Facebook and Instagram, the company hopes it can drum up awareness for more locals to help each other during the pandemic. As Malaysians are typically communal people, the company wanted the video to encourage locals to continue to reach out and check on each other even as times are hard, said Chow Tuck Moon, head of Yoodo. 

Saw any other interesting Merdeka Day executions? Share them with us at [email protected].

Photo courtesy: 123RF

Join our Digital Marketing Asia conference happening from 9 November 2021 - 25 November 2021 to learn about the upcoming trends and technologies in the world of digital. Check out the agenda here. 

A+M's Marketing Excellence Awards is back for the ninth year. There are 40 categories this year for brands to showcase your creative excellence, successful strategies and effective delivery. Click here to register! 

Related articles: 
Raya 2021 roundup: From hilarious and outlandish to heartfelt, brands go all out this festive season
Regional CNY roundup: Brands usher in an Ox-picious new year
Merdeka Day roundup: Brands push for positivity and hope amidst challenging times

share on

Follow us on our Telegram channel for the latest updates in the marketing and advertising scene.

Free newsletter

Get the daily lowdown on Asia's top marketing stories.

We break down the big and messy topics of the day so you're updated on the most important developments in Asia's marketing development – for free.

subscribe now open in new window