Merdeka LHS shows advertising can be a force for good with #kitapendatang


Merdeka LHS recently released a shareable social greeting for Malaysia Day that called for Malaysians to reclaim the word "pendatang" and make a pledge on social media using the hashtag #kitapendatang. The hashtag embraces and welcomes all those who contribute to make Malaysia shine.

The visual mimics a passport visa stamp and asks Malaysians to stand in solidarity with all those, Malaysian-born and visitors alike who share common ground in their love for the country.

Merdeka LHS' chief creative officer Hwa Huang said it wanted to make a statement that shows that advertising can be a force for good.

"We believe we should celebrate all the different cultures that make Malaysia so unique. The word pendatang has evolved into something controversial, used in a derogatory manner and sensitive, especially in recent times. But Malaysia is a melting pot, and we believe that our diversity is something that makes us stronger," Hwa said.

Hwa added that as the nation looks towards 2020 and the upcoming Visit Malaysia year, Malaysians will need to decide how they want to project themselves to the world.

"Is the narrative of our nation one that is open and tolerant and thrives using the flow of ideas that comes from a diverse society? Or are we a nation that rejects and denigrates those we perceive as outsiders?" Hwa said.

Hwa also explained that the future generation has made clear that they do not appreciate discrimination and they favour ideas that create opportunity for all in Malaysia.

Meanwhile, its branding and design associate, Vinod Manoharan, said Malaysia Day was the right time for the agency to dedicate some energy into Brand Malaysia.

"We simply felt that it was important to offer a counter narrative to negative sentiments fuelled by vested interests. They have no place in Brand Malaysia. We are a culturally diverse team at Merdeka LHSS but regardless of ethnicity, we love Malaysia and our job is to work together to create strong and impactful Malaysian brands that our country can be proud of," he added.