2021 | Finalist | Execution— Branded Content
Advertiser: U Mobile Brand: U Mobile Creative Agency: TBWA Credits: -
Objective & Challenge
The Unlimited FUNZ Pack was introduced around July to August 2019 as a refresh to U Mobile’s Unlimited Power prepaid pack. As with any new product, we needed to build awareness quickly, but Unlimited FUNZ was launched in a challenging environment where the telco market was saturated and new launches were often received with strong negative sentiments from a cynical market accustomed to voicing their disenchantment on social media. To succeed, we had to not only introduce Unlimited FUNZ to the masses but do so in a way that would drive positive sentiments to combat the negativity accompanying the launch.
Insight & Strategy
As U Mobile’s prepaid subscribers mainly consist of young and trend–savvy digital citizens, the communications had to not only resonate with the prevailing zeitgeist, but also with the celebration of Malaysia’s National Month that coincides with the launch period, and ultimately National Day. We identified three pillars that resonate most with the Malaysian public when it comes to showing their Malaysian pride; the food, the culture, and the shared languages. The idea was to produce a feel– good music video in tandem with the brand’s current and trendy image. With this in mind, we created a cause and a medium for our audience to converge and be a part of something bigger than themselves. Hence, by weaving the message of the Malaysian spirit into a catchy tune and close–to–home storyline, Only U was born. To ensure Only U would resonate with our audience, we leveraged on a social listening tool to monitor conversations on social media and identify trends related to the three chosen pillars – food, culture, and shared languages. Besides identifying commonly used phrases and words like “bojio”, “macha” and the ubiquitous “lah”, there were also mainstays like nasi lemak and roti canai, among others. All these phrases had to be tastefully integrated into the song’s lyrics without losing all the beautiful context. The next step was to source the right musical talents who could elevate the song and at the same time represent personas relatable to our multicultural audience. To this end, we partnered with three young, new generation artists; Naim Daniel, Santesh Kumar and Priscilla Abby. The resulting music video was very light–hearted but relatable – three friends embarked on an epic road trip while experiencing the unique Malaysian touches like cendol, durian, and the neighbourhood ice cream man. All the niches were interspersed with popular digital activities, social media, mobile gaming and online streaming – the main offerings of Unlimited FUNZ. To invoke interest and further engagement from the music video’s audience, a question was prompted to them, “What makes Malaysia unique to U?” Each of the artists uploaded the video to their social platforms and asked the question to their fans. These comments were then compiled to create three additional acoustic jams that were performed by each artist as impromptu public performances. This not only allowed our audiences to engage further with the brand and artists, but to provide them an opportunity to put a part of themselves in the music that followed.
The campaign was launched in 4 phases, staggered in bursts of 2 weeks. Phase 1 (early August) was the launch of Only U music video (https://youtu.be/lMfM4vbVZ3Y) on U Mobile’s and artists’ social channels (YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, & Twitter) simultaneously – go–to social platforms of our target market. The call–out to the audience is to reply in a comment: “What makes Malaysians unique to U?” The comments were then compiled to create three acoustic tunes that would be performed by each artist in later stages. The song was also released digitally on Spotify by Sony Music – and even made it to Naim Daniel’s Top 6 ‘Popular’ playlist. From Phase 2 to Phase 4, the three unplugged versions of Only U were released in phases on the social channels of U Mobile and each artist. Each video featured the comments that inspired each unplugged tune, with a call out to stay tuned to the next video to find out whose comments made it in. By staggering the release, the campaign retained the interest and talkability of the product in association with Only U for over a month. The first to release was Naim Daniel’s version (https://youtu.be/yXImkzAWoLk). His video was shot in a Starbucks outlet near UiTM Shah Alam – a strategic location heavily frequented by a young Malay crowd. Following Naim was Priscilla Abby’s video (https://youtu.be/hdgLuVtffUQ), where she performed in the Sunway Lagoon theme park surrounded by fans. To drive foot traffic and buzz for this, a word that Priscilla would be making a surprise appearance at Sunway Lagoon was seeded in her fan club, prompting her followers to come and participate. The final video to roll out was Santesh Kumar’s (https://youtu.be/avbAX8qQquM), which was saved for last to allow him to gain interest and buzz for his performance, in reality show Big Stage that was airing during that period. His unplugged video featured him serenading diners at Tapak KL, a food truck food court in the heart of KL.
In total, the Only U music video on YouTube and the three artists’ unplugged videos achieved over 4.4 million views with 106,700 hours of cumulative watch time with a like–to–dislike ratio that was 13.1% higher than the channel’s average. Meanwhile, on Facebook, the videos garnered a total of over 1.5 million views while amassing 7.3k comments and over 2k shares. All this resulted in a surge of interest in Unlimited FUNZ – U Mobile’s prepaid pages saw a massive 172% surge in unique traffic during the campaign month compared to the preceding month, which more importantly translated to a strong 6% growth in overall prepaid subscribers in a stagnant telco market. We also succeeded in driving 6x more positive conversations about the brand and Unlimited FUNZ pack. The Only U videos managed to drive buzz and relevance not just by tapping into sentiments surrounding the Malaysia National month, but also into the trends and tropes that define today’s generation of mobile data users looking for a telco that matches their lifestyle.