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Raya 2021 roundup: From hilarious and outlandish to heartfelt, brands go all out this festive season

Raya 2021 roundup: From hilarious and outlandish to heartfelt, brands go all out this festive season

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Malaysians are once again celebrating Hari Raya this year under another round of Movement Control Order, marking the country's third to date. While festive celebrations for this year might be muted, brands remain positive and upbeat, pushing out heartwarming Raya films and emphasising the meaning of family and unity. Some even took the liberty to tackle gender stereotypes in Raya videos. The road ahead might be challenging but it never hurts to have a good laugh and reflect upon the good times that we have. Check out the list of films this Raya that have tickled consumers and tugged at their heartstrings.


Celcom’s latest festive instalment seeks to turn consumers' gaze towards hope for the future by looking back at the past with the help of technology. Hasrat Syawal Tok revolves around a family of four and the matriarch, Tok, preparing for Raya in the next normal. A peaceful Ramadan is disrupted by the reveal of Tok’s intention to get vaccinated, putting a strain on her relationship with her family as most of them are unsure of its safety. As the big day draws closer, Tok’s doubts and worries grow, but it’s evident she still longs the warmth and togetherness of past celebrations. This inspires the perceptive grandson to help strengthen Tok’s resolve by putting his tech skills to the test. His solution? A VR headset that brings Tok back to the good old days - the last Raya they spent together with relatives and friends. M&C Saatchi was involved in the production of the film. 


This Raya, Digi echoes a simple message of lending a helping hand to those in need as we reflect inwards on our words and deeds. In collaboration with Naga DDB Tribal and Mojo Films, Digi launched this year’s Raya short film, titled “Andaian” or “Assumptions”. The film depicts a simple tale of a generous father and the misunderstanding between his daughter. Aliyah, a university student living in the city, is under stress from money troubles and confides in her dad who cuts her off to complain about his business woes. She fumes when she heads back home to find her dad putting strangers’ needs before his own daughter’s. When Aliyah learns the truth behind his actions, she realises her assumptions were wrong all along and she finally understands her dad’s true intentions - and that every life lesson is a priceless gift that we will carry with us forever.


U Mobile's e-wallet GoPayz has launched the Tekan-Tekan Je (Tap-Tap Only) campaign in collaboration with Reprise Digital, BPN and Minerva Boys Production. The campaign seeks to push Raya related services such as paying zakat (Islamic donations), e-duit Raya (cash gifts), for shopping and insurance to make life easier. The Mat Lengah Banyak Alasan (Mat Lengah with lots of excuses) films see the protagonist, Mat Lengah, procrastinate over tasks while his wife urges him to tap on the GoPayz app to complete them with ease. The digital-only campaign includes videos on Facebook and Instagram alongside Instagram stickers, contextual video ads, display banners and social media content to amplify and augment the messaging.

Grab Malaysia

Grab's "Bukan Sekadar Pesanan" film showcases how every Grab order benefits those around us - from traditional vendors earning a living to hardworking delivery heroes supporting their families. Done in collaboration with Fishermen Integrated, its Raya brand film shows how each order helps to bring Raya joy to many this festive season.

Ikano Centres

Ikano Centres' Raya film "Raya Kau Kaw Kaw" sees Mak Jemah pushing herself to the limits to make this Raya the very best. She does so by immersing herself in festive preparations and celebrations, despite the absence of her children. In the process, they connect with her through time and space for the ultimate Raya celebrations. Done in collaboration with Ensemble Worldwide, UM and Directors Think Tank, the film's title is translated as an all-out Raya for all shopping centres under Ikano Centres including Toppen Shopping Centre, IPC Shopping Centre, MyTOWN Shopping Centre and Batu Kawan Link Building. The team decided to include outlandish ideas such as cowboys, astronauts, and rockstars to make it lighthearted and memorable.

Julie's Biscuits

Julie's Biscuits' Raya campaign tackles issues around gender equality by taking an inside look at the production of typical Raya ads of the past, where women have been cast in stereotypical roles. In Ini Iklan Raya, Tau? the women break from script to raise questions to the director on why they are given certain stereotypical roles. Done in collaboration with GOVT Singapore, Julie's said women certainly play an important role in every aspect, including its Raya ad. The ad features notable names in the Malaysian acting scene such as Fauziah Nawi, Sharifah Shahira, Batrisyia Razak and Amerul Affendy.


Maxis's Raya film weaves in shoppable ad features in an effort to spotlight local micro-entrepreneurs to help them unlock their rezeki (income) potential through eCommerce. The web and TV film turns a typical video into a shopping catalogue for entrepreneurs to promote and sell their products and is part of a campaign done in collaboration with Shopee Malaysia. Head of brand and marketing Tai Kam Leong said the team leveraged shopping features on Facebook and Instagram that allow consumers to watch the campaign while scrolling through the carousel of products featured in the films at the same time. More than 40 different SMEs are featured in the film and consumers can choose from over 3,000 products.


Maybank's heartfelt Raya ad tells the story of a father who goes to live with his daughter in the city to assist her with taking care of the house and her child while her husband is away on business. The daughter is named MAE-sara, a nod to its app MAE by Maybank2u. Having lived in a kampung for most of his life, the father has trouble getting used to life in the city. For example, he refuses to use the ATM out of fear that his duit Raya might be stolen. He also prefers using the broom to the Roomba. With MAE-sara also working from home, tensions between her and her father rise as they seem to get in each other's way. One night, the father is finally able to put his wayang kulit skills to good use and aids her in creating her first solo exhibit. The film was done together with The Clan.

McDonald's Singapore

McDonald's Singapore's 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 a realistic image of the virtually-reunited family sharing a meal together.


In its rousing Raya ad, Netflix tells consumers that having accompanied them over the past year with series and movies such as Vincenzo, The Queen's Gambit, Emily in Paris and Lupin, it is time for consumers to #ChupNetflix and spend time with family members instead. "Don't press play, pause and celebrate your Raya," Netflix said. The video was done in collaboration with Fishermen Integrated.


OPPO is using its Raya spot to showcase technology in a comedic yet touching way. Titled "Kasih Dari Hati" (Picture hearts together) and done in collaboration with Ensemble, the film is an extension of the OPPO Reno5 campaign product tagline of "Picture life together". The film unfolds with the story of daughter Fatin gifting her father Tok Maslan an OPPO Hari Raya bundle containing the latest Reno5, Bluetooth earphones and OPPO Watch. The brand wanted to tell a story reflective of its new reality, where the simple act of returning home has become a tall order. Its message is that the Internet of Things and smartphones allow consumers to stay close to their loved ones, and these technologies allow them to go deeper in their interactions with one another.


PETRONAS's Raya film "Syukur Raya" explores themes of compassion and kindness through a fun and cheeky seloka (Malay poetry put to music that carries life lessons). The narrator, a spotted dove named Syuk-kur – a wordplay of ‘syukur’ (thankfulness) and ‘tekukur’ (the Malay word for dove) –acts as witness to the goings-on in a local neighbourhood. The main character Poji, a delivery rider, misses his hometown to the point he envisions his fierce next-door neighbour, Mak Jah, as his own mother. Done in collaboration with Ensemble, the film sees the charismatic bird narrate the feelings of Poji and his friends alongside Mak Jemah and their neighbours. Initially disheartened about the aloofness of Mak Jah, and being unable to go home to family, they finally revive their festive spirit by a gift of ‘rendang’ (traditional festive dish) by her.

RHB Bank

Titled "Sempurna" (Perfect), RHB Bank’s latest Raya film, which was conceived and created by FCB, tells the true story of Nuramira Binti Mohd Amin, a 21-year-old who, despite not suffering from hearing disability, creates and shares videos of herself performing sign language covers of songs, so that the deaf community can enjoy the meaning and emotions behind music. Whilst in keeping with RHB’s tradition of telling real challenger stories, Sempurna was created as a musically driven spot, centring around Nuramira’s relationship with her best friend and the narrator of the film, Izzatul. While the duo’s shared love for music serves as the foundation of the story, it’s Izzatul’s sudden loss of hearing that ultimately inspired Nuramira to learn sign language from scratch, so that she could help her friend and even the deaf community enjoy the emotions behind a song through her sign language covers. The latter part of the film, which documents Nuramira’s journey in helping her best friend regain what had been lost, is narrated through a powerful, original song that was purposefully composed for this story.

SP Setia

SP Setia has utilised one of the longest standing Raya traditions - the traditional way of cooking rendang - as the central pillar for its Raya ad. The campaign focuses on a father and his son, Yusof, and their 10-hour journey of keeping their Raya tradition alive by preparing homemade rendang from scratch. In an “old versus new” scenario, the father tries to instil traditional values in his son, essentially that even though there are easy ways to cook rendang with plenty of shortcuts - order it through a food delivery service, buy it off a roadside stall, or buy ready-made paste - the tradition lies in the time spent together and the adventures shared as father and son. The campaign was done in collaboration with Rouge by Entropia. It also runs on print and radio.

Taylor's University

Taylor's University's ad titled "Maaf" tells the story of a father apologising to his children over his perceived failures to adequately provide for his family. The video starts with a downcast tone and establishes that the main character as a single father, who instead of participating in the usual session of his children asking his forgiveness during Hari Raya, turns the tables and asks their forgiveness instead. The story shows the family’s troubles during the pandemic, such as the father losing his job, forcing his family to give up their home and move to a smaller residence. The team has also created an AR filter of a ketupat done up for Raya as another form of creative execution.

Watsons Malaysia

Watsons Malaysia has pushed out another star-studded festive music video for Raya which shines the light on an individual’s uniqueness and encourages everyone to celebrate their differences. Titled "Raya Unik Raya Ikonik", Watsons worked with Naga DDB Tribal and Real Time to remix its 2019 Raya theme song, turning it into a combination of traditional Malay instruments with popular music genres such as rock, K-pop, and hip-hop. In the film, relatives with different interests gather together for Raya. One family loves rock while the other two are into K-pop and hip-hop. Initially wary of one another, the family members eventually warm up and chat happily. This eventually turns into a full-blown performance to celebrate the festive season.


Yoodo has pit two famous kuih raya against each other in an electoral race - the pineapple tart and the kuih semperit - as each party tries to win voters over with enticing promises and some good old fashioned smear videos. Both candidates even have their own Instagram accounts where potential voters can check out the respective party’s manifestos. The two kuih raya use their Instagram accounts to highlight their respective backstories, character, and personalities. In this kuih-verse, the pineapple tart is a traditionalist who holds conservative ideals while Sam-perit is a modern candidate with more progressive views. The video was done in collaboration with 4 Thirteen Group and Pishang Creative.

Meanwhile, creative agency The Clan has also created a series of in-house Raya videos on Facebook titled "Raya Paling". The videos showcase common woes agencies face, such as having to be on standby to make changes for a campaign during a public holiday or even working during a public holiday to meet a tight deadline for a brief. Nonetheless, The Clan reminds viewers not to let their emotions get to them but instead, celebrate safely with gratitude.

Photo courtesy: 123RF

Related articles:
What types of Raya promos are Malaysian and Indonesian consumers drawn to?
MCMC clamps down on another gambling-themed Raya ad

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