Short films as branded content in Malaysia: a brief study

 In Brands

While the concept of content marketing is only recently gaining traction in Malaysia, some brands have already been creating online content since the dawn of the social media age. Particularly, content that comes in the form of short films.

Bred from the same collective intention of achieving ‘viral’ status that drove the creation of many video ads at the time, the short film format sets itself apart in its lack of product sell. They instead attempt to sell the brand’s philosophy.

By our estimation, it wasn’t the only aim. Judging by the noticeable pattern of many of these branded shorts created as season’s greetings, a certain message is carried through each of them. Most of family, some of nationality, others of diversity.

These overlaps eventually became what appears to be a race among brands to see whose heartfelt film gains the most traction.

Published by Maxis on Aug 25, 2014

Published by Digi on Aug 25, 2014

Though it isn’t likely that these brands were knowingly trying to outdo each other, these videos are still an indication of an obligation to address their audiences during festive seasons.

The tendency to make short films based on observances extends to more than just Malaysian holidays. Here’s one done for Mother’s Day.

Published by Knife Delicious on Apr 30, 2015

By comparison, short films as branded videos released by our neighbours do not necessary coincide with national celebrations.

Published by Google India on Nov 13, 2013

Published by Thai Life on Jul 29, 2011

Perhaps marketers saw that Malaysian audiences, as segmented as they are, are receptive to dramatic pieces of high moral fibre. And judging by the high viewership, it appears they do.

Should all brands create short films?

Not all trends need to be followed. Marketers should start from what their marketing objectives are, to decide if a branding exercise is a worthy investment. Even so, they would risk having to compete for attention on the same space and period, should they also decide to create a season’s greetings.

Perhaps they would fare better creating on-going video content, instead of one-offs. It all depends on the desired outcome.

Should brands try creating more short films outside of festive seasons? Let’s discuss this in the comments.

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