Malaysia's shipping line MISC has put a twist to its Merdeka Day message recently by launching it in morse code via a print ad. The ad ran on The Star, The Edge and Harian Metro. MISC also posted a video message on its LinkedIn explaining that the video is not a showcase of some random dots, squares and dashes but a message in morse code. Morse code is an international encoding system used by navigators to transmit messages from sea to shore and between vessels when at sea.
MISC said it felt strongly about putting out a message that inspired Malaysians, both the public and its seafarers. MISC's brief to The Chariot Agency was to create a print campaign that was out of the ordinary. It wanted something that differentiated MISC's ad from every other print ad in the national papers, one that was just as native on digital as it was on print.
"It was the first time that we would take out an ad and not feature our vessels or seafarers. It was an opportunity for us to step out of the box and yet have our brand DNA firmly imprinted," MISC explained. It added that most importantly, the company was able to deliver a Hari Kebangsaan message that was not tied down to a language. Instead, it was in a universal language.
Additionally, it presented the company an opportunity to truly measure the impact of its ads on print, especially during this pandemic when the print distribution has declined. As the nation adapts to the pandemic and shifts towards digital, Malaysians have grown to have a universal familiarity and adoption of QR codes, MISC said. As a result, MISC was able to turn the Merdeka print into a digital footprint, which was a first for the company.
MISC added that The Chariot Agency "literally pulled a rabbit out of the hat for this one", explaining that the agency got a B2B brand to step out into the light generally reserved for B2C brands in terms of creativity. "The Chariot Agency is proof that if clients and agencies integrate on long-term brand journeys, creativity can thrive irrespective of industry verticals. The relationship matters, because that’s where differentiation is truly possible," the company explained. Aside from the print ad, MISC also created a video with the morse code. It declined to reveal the monetary value of the campaign.
The Chariot Agency's ECD Jarrod Reginald said the message for Merdeka Day was clear from the get go - rallying Malaysians and seafarers to stick together during these unpredictable times. Then came the execution. "We can't keep using stock images, and no, not another illustration piece," Reginald said. Hence, the team went back to the medium and asked themselves: "How do we really stand out this year?"
"What if we kept it really simple? What if we put out an ad that doesn't look like an ad? What is something that's synonymous to MISC?" Reginald said. Based on this, The Chariot Agency came up with the idea of using morse code.
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