Malaysian Media Awards Winners Showcase

2023 | |

Hotlink’s ‘NFT Shades of Sabah’ with Kenji Chai

Advertiser: Maxis Broadband Sdn Bhd
Brand: Maxis
Credits: -


Objective & Challenge
Drive local growth Hotlink as a nationally established brand seems to enjoy reasonable awareness, but locally in Sabah the consideration levels painted a grim picture. Hotlink needed to accelerate growth in Sabah by improving brand recall for higher consideration rank against competitors as well as brand likability to reinforce brand sentiment that will stand against competitive pricing. Youth is the primary target for Hotlink, they are late Gen Y and Gen Z digital natives, whose primary media channels are social media and digital videos. However, localization is dictated by traditional media domination vs quasi-local national mass platforms like Social and Video. How do we then drive resonance with local youth for a national brand using non-national media? A unique challenge demanded a unique solution.

Insight & Strategy
Local impact with sociable OOH The different shades of Sabahan youth subculture needed to be deciphered to effectively articulate Hotlink’s brand into their psyche. Unemployment rates in Sabah had soared to 9%; almost double of national average of 4.7% rendering the youth in Sabah looking for avenues of support and inspiration. It was imperative that we needed a ‘local’ voice which inspired and resonated with the youth. The youth in Sabah are also supremely social beings, with 30% of their time spent online being driven by social media consumption and sharing. On the localized media platform front, with markets re-opening, revenge shopping and outings on the rise, footfalls and eyeballs were both peaking when it comes to OOH as a media choice. Hotlink needed to articulate a message at the intersection of three key shades: Local voice of inspiration + Social shareability/mileage + OOH prominence. To drive a locally relevant and inspiring voice and build social shareability as the cornerstone of the campaign, Hotlink chose to partner with a renowned ‘son of the soil’ artist- Kenji Chai – a Sandakan-born misunderstood graffiti artist and muralist who ended up as a contributing artist for TIME’s NFT series. Kenji embodied the spirit of Hotlink #bikinsampaijadi and was the inspiring voice of youth with the mindset to hustle, survive and thrive.

Socializing Hotlink x Kenji With locally voiced Street Art as the brand story, Hotlink needed the right canvas to paint the story permanently. Hotlink identified Wisma Sabah as the strategic location close to the city center with 1.3 million monthly traffic and opposite local youth’s favorite hangout spot – Suria Sabah mall. Painting a 4-storey building was not an easy task, but Kenji took on the challenge to make a statement in his homeland. His illustration is inspired by the nature and the diverse ecosystem with the use of the falcon, leopard and black marlin that demonstrates the fastest animal in land, sea and air. The concept behind the artwork, ‘Only the Strong Survive,’ was a nod to the brand’s fast and strong network and resonated with the local youth as a constant inspiration. Hotlink then started to socialize the OOH communication. But we needed to go beyond and drive permanence. NFT was chosen as a final nod to the ‘local Sabahan spirit powered by Hotlink’. Hotlink created a NFT integration artwork as a permanent spot on the blockchain, making it a unique and valuable addition to the ‘Made in Sabah’ NFT collection. Leveraging on this uniquely local brand articulation, we leveraged on multiple local and national media channels to build buzz and prominence. While the Artwork OOH itself was a massive social content draw, driving loads of shares and posts, Hotlink broadened the impact with youth lifestyle media (Says and Sirap Limau), infused local pride deploying local and national online news – Borneo Post, Utusan Borneo, See Hua Online, Daily Express, Harian Express, OCDN and Berita Harian. To top it all, Hotlink developed a social video that encapsulated the #bikinsampaijadi proposition with Kenji and demonstrated through an emotional connection beyond the ordinary telco war of price and GB messaging angle. With that Hotlink captured the (NFT)Shades of Sabah as the most locally relevant and prominent and possibly permanent brand interaction.

Set new benchmark The campaign delivered phenomenally with 78% likeability (2x higher than norm), 53% brand recall and 59% likelihood to find out more about the brand amongst the audiences who saw the mural. The total video views combined with Youtube, Facebook and advertorial garnered more than 3 million views. The advertorials itself overachieved 200% reads for each site. The mural in Wisma Sabah garnered overall 42% seen rate among East Malaysia (65% seen rate among Sabahan) with strong likeability. Gained uplift of 45% in social brand mentions as the campaign created buzz on social media, with people sharing pictures of the artwork and praising Hotlink for their initiative. The ‘Made in Sabah’ NFT collection received positive coverage with one of the NFT sold more than RM10,000.