'Merdeka!' The signature cry of Malaysia's independence from the British Empire can be heard, echoing for the past 59 years, on Hari Merdeka - the day to celebrate patriotism, national pride and unity despite diversities.
Sadly, Malaysia is now facing racial division like never before. Politicians both sides of the divide frequently used race politics in their rhetoric and harped on racial sentiments to stoke tension. How meaningful is 'Merdeka' when people jumped to easy conclusions about each other without really trying to understand what the other person was feeling or experiencing.
But the reality is that Malaysia is a country of unique diverse heritage, and its people embrace this in their lives - the language they use, the food they eat, the friends they make. Their own lingo 'Manglish' consist of words created by mixing words originating from languages of different cultures. They eat round the clock because of their diverse food choices - Dimsum for breakfast, traditional Malay banana fritters during teatime and Indian roti for supper. Others go on roadtrips, Malaysians go on food trips. Cultural diversity is ingrained in them, they even have a term for it - "Rojak". Rojak is a local salad mixture dish made up of vegetables, fruits and fritters. So popular is this dish, Malaysians use the term "Rojak" when referring to anything that's mixed together.
This Merdeka, how can Maxis remind Malaysians to unite and celebrate "Rojak"ness in a way that's beyond conventional video ads featuring happy faces of Malaysian diversity?
How can Maxis bring alive what it means to celebrate Malaysian "Rojak"ness - to put yourself in others shoes and empathise with what they are feeling or experiencing - through story telling?
Instead of your run-of-the-mill smiley, heart-warming videos to show Malaysian diversity, Initiative decided to let Malaysians EXPERIENCE what it truly means to 'put yourself in others shoes'. It created Malaysia's first ever " Rojak360° " film series - a series of Malaysian stories, shot in 360° to allow viewers an immersive experience of being Malaysian, in different perspectives!
The agency partnered with YouTube and five homegrown, award-winning storytellers to tell real authentic stories. These five stories were a multi-location, multi-lingual collaboration between Maxis 4G and YouTube superstars The Ming Thing, Red People, Tamil hit movie directors Veedu, Busan Film Festival-awarded short filmmaker Junad Mohd Nor and award-winning commercial director Barney Chua. It was a celebration of colourful diversity, highlighting local dialects including Hokkien and Kelate (Kelantanese Malay), little-known cultural traditions and beauty in different corners of the country including Batu Caves, Kinabalu Park, amongst others. Every film carries a common theme - Malaysian "Rojak"ness - Malaysia's collective identity from a unique blend of cultures.
Through the 360° platform - " Rojak360° " enabled Malaysians to move their mobile phones in all directions and fully immerse themselves in the stories' settings, thus "Experience what being Malaysian means from All Angles". With that, it was able to make film-watching more inclusive than ever before, marrying classic storytelling with unmatched 360° video streaming experience via Maxis's 4G network.
Initiative partnered with content provider YouTube and engaged acclaimed local storytellers to create a series of 360° films that are uniquely Malaysian, broadcasted through YouTube's 360° immersive video-on-mobile platform. The end result - breakthrough stories designed to resonate and showcase Malaysian "Rojak"-ness. For example, "Lost and Found' follows the ups and downs of a group of friends lost in the Kinabalu Park rainforest as they went on an immersive trek. It reminds Malaysians that focusing on differences can make people lose their way, but embracing them is how they find it again.
Rather than screening the series to limited audiences in cinema halls, it launched the "Rojak 360°" film series via Masthead placement on YouTube Homepage. The magic of this banner is its great results - enabling "Rojak 360°" films to reach 15 million mobile screens in just one day!
"Rojak 360°" films were released on content channel YouTube, influencer networks and social channels on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Major national news channels and radio broadcasters on air and online reported of Maxis' "First in Malaysia, 360° film initiative" further amplified campaign.
To extend campaign reach and awareness, the agency gave netizens a taste of the "Rojak 360°" films through special 360° banner ads that allows the same, unique, 360° interaction, featuring films trailers through key display networks and 360° video posting ads on Facebook. "Merdeka" related searches on YouTube also drove interested users to the "Rojak 360°" YouTube channel.
1) Throughout the three week campaign period, "Rojak 360°" videos reached 4.18 million views, 82.2 million impressions across organic and paid efforts, over half a million engagement across social platforms and over $900,000 in earned media value - with media budget of just $52,000!
2) "Rojak 360°" videos cumulated over 16.3 MILLION minutes viewed with average 48% view through rate. These are strong results given that industry average rate is only at 30%.
3) Due to great results and high viewer engagement, the most popular amongst the five "Rojak 360°" videos - 'The Last Kite Maker' was awarded Best Tech, Best Storytelling, Best Long Form Ad and the most prestigious - Ad of the Year Award in the recent 2016 YouTube Ads Awards Malaysia, winning four out of a total of nine available categories and beating 400+ other video submissions!
4) Maxis brand imageries scores for "Innovative Brand" and "Best for Mobile Data" also increased 20% and 10% respectively compared to previous quarter.
5) The best testaments of all for "Rojak 360°" - Headline praises such as "A taste of Malaysia through Maxis Rojak 360°" and heart-warming audience comments "Well done, love this. Brings out the Malaysian in me".