Lepastu TNB Raya Ad 2016

Touching hearts with Hari Raya ads

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IT has become the norm for various organisations to come up with advertisements that touch one’s heart every festive season.

Hari Raya is no different.

The advertisements have also evolved from appearing on television to being a short web film on YouTube.

This year, pharmacy chain Watsons Malaysia started the season with a kerfuffle when it released a star-studded video of its Legenda Cun campaign and received public backlash over its use of blackface and alleged sexist theme.

Malay Mail looks back at some memorable advertisements that were made by the late Yasmin Ahmad and other creative minds in the industry, which left its mark in our hearts.

Petronas, 1998

The story in Why It’s Hard To Ask For Forgiveness” is about how a mother raised a daughter and how their bond grew strong. They fight leading to her leaving the house.

After many years, she decides to come home to ask for forgiveness from her mother. She panics upon seeing many people at her hourse, thinking her mother has died.

She cries her heart out, thinking she is too late but later finds her mother is still alive. Yasmin wrote that story based on her own relationship with her mother.

Bernas, 2012

The Journey directed by Hafiz Ibrahim from Reservoir Production, features two orphans, Ahmad Abdul Matin Asmadi who is deaf and Amirul Hafizi who is blind.

It tells of two orphans who embark on a journey on the eve of Hari Raya, and face many challenges to fulfil their obligation of unconditional love where all they want to do is to visit their parent’s grave on the first morning of Hari Raya.

Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB), 2016

It focuses on a little boy who asks for forgiveness from his father for all the “wrong” he did in the past year. The short video delivers a simple message of forgiveness, reminding that there’s no wrong that cannot be forgiven.

Nissan, 2014

It is a story of family and love revolving around a grandfather (Atuk) and his grandson, Man. Both take a journey, one down memory lane when Atuk lets go the memory of his deceased wife while Man has self-discovery. In the end, both find comfort and become the pillars of strength for each other.

TNB, 2017

A young woman named Aida is desperately trying to leave her job after being given extra work to spend Hari Raya with her family. She loses her bus ticket and Hari Raya clothes, but returns home to a very forgiving family. The story was also based on a true event. Since its release on June 14, the Facebook video has had more than 9 million views and nearly 800,000 views on YouTube at the time of publication.

TV3, 2017

This four-minute commercial focuses on a single mother working two jobs to raise her young children after her husband leaves her. The story is filled with elements of humour and joy to counter what could have been a sad family story about abandonment.

ON FESTIVE advertisements

Reservoir Production founding partner and film director Ismail Kamarul said in the “early days, a viewer could just change the TV channel if they saw something they did not like.

“Today, netizens have all the power, and they can be the harshest critics.”

He said society, regardless of community were easily offended by commercials deemed degrading and offensive.

“I see this as a good thing. Let the people be the judge to rule our advertising morals. We (ad people) cannot and should not get away with offensive and tasteless ads.”

As a producer, writer and director, Ismail said he loved touching people’s hearts and sending a positive message for Malaysians so their festive experience is a little better.

“I always tell people that when I’m doing a festive ad, my true client is not the brand or the agency. My true client, is all of Malaysia,” he added.

Leo Burnett creative group head and copywriter Jovian Lee, who used to work with Yasmin, remembered how she was the only creative director at the time who did no use a story board when she pitched an idea to clients.

Lee added she used to bring the clerk, office boy or receptionist with an interesting story and made them tell it to the client.

“Yasmin was fearless, even in front of clients. To her, if the client did not like her stories or accept her ideas, then it was just not meant for her. That was before.

“Now, everything has changed. Yasmin is no longer here, and we no longer can do what she used to, as people on the client side has also changed,” Lee said.

He added topics and subject matter deemed provocative or sensitive, had also changed with time.

“The truth is, we can never keep up with the changes and everyone should be like fearless just like Yasmin.

“Things are not going to be sensitive if the intention of tapping on it was meant to be educative and the message is clear.”