There have been past controversies about the use of images of animals considered unclean in Malaysia, such as dogs, in Lunar New Year decorations and greetings. Interestingly, the Chinese zodiac for this year happens to be the pig which might be considered taboo to some in Malaysia.
Inspired by this, Naga DDB Tribal decided to create a stock library named "Pigxel", which is filled with more than 200 non-offensive, pre-censored pig images to usher in the Lunar New Year. The censorship-friendly "pigture perfect JPigs and Mpigs" hope to provide the zodiac the limelight it deserves.
The agency even created a video to showcase the "transformation" of a pig into Pigxel. In the film, a cute pig is seen sobbing over the fact that for 11 years, she watched her friends bask in the limelight while she is unable to "shake it like I just don't care".
"They say I'm not even nationwide friendly. What does that even mean? Look at me, I'm adorable. But a trotterful of people just find me offensive?" the pig said. Thankfully, the Fairy Kai Ma Godma swoops in to save the day and turns her into a non-offensive Pigxel.
Check out the video below to gain access to the stock library:
In a statement to A+M, Naga DDB Tribal’s ECD Alvin Teoh said, "We 3D-modelled a pig made from pixels literally. So there are 200 Lunar New Year images of pigxel for people to use ‘unoffensively’." According to Teoh, the agency decided that a little graphic treatment can do the trick and the pig can be awarded its "rightful place" in Lunar New Year decorations.
"We weren't hoping to change the world. We just wanted to put a smile on everyone's face and help a zodiac fulfill its true destiny," Teoh said.
While it is not necessary for brands to work with the image of the pig this Lunar New Year, Teoh said it should not even be an issue to begin with if brands choose to.
"It’s a cultural thing and we do live in a multi-cultural society where we give and take and try to be respectful of other people’s beliefs and practices. A cultural image itself is completely harmless," he said.
When asked how the agency takes into consideration certain cultural sensitivities this upcoming Lunar New Year, Teoh said that it has been "doing fine" for several years. He added that it is neither propagating any beliefs nor tempting others into practices they consider immoral. Hence, there is no need to worry and give in to those who are offended, and that there are "bigger issues" to deal with.