Merdeka LHS, Dentsu Aegis Network Malaysia’s strategic brand consultants and communicators has clinched Malaysia’s only award at Spikes Asia 2019 – bringing home Gold in the Digital Category at Young Spikes.
The creative duo, Valentina Ho, 23, and Ravin Shunmugarajan, 22, stormed to victory, claiming Gold for Malaysia with Silver awarded to Australia and Singapore bagging Bronze in third place.
Having impressed judges at Young Spikes Malaysia in August with their Air Asia Insta-Itinerary pitch – conceived in just 24 hours – they were flown to Singapore to compete against the best marketing and communications experts under 30 from across the region.
The winning campaign, ‘NSFW’ or ‘Now Safe From Waste’, was designed around the ‘Palau Pledge’, implemented by the Republic of Palau in 2017. Palau became the first nation on earth to amend its immigration laws to support environmental protection. Upon entry, visitors must sign a passport pledge, written by the children of the island, agreeing that they will act in an ecologically responsible way whilst visiting the island of Palau.
Merdeka LHS took the idea one step further by proposing a content filter on social media that can only be removed from photos when the pledge is signed – re emphasising to visitors that if they wish to enjoy and share photos of this exquisite destination, they have a responsibility to play their part to behave as responsible eco tourists and protect the island for its inhabitants as well as future visitors.
Commenting on their win, Valentina Ho, Creative Hybrid at Merdeka LHS said, “Competing in Singapore was daunting, but we gave it our best shot. When you’re competing for your country, the stakes feel higher. We knew we had to pull something impressive out of the bag for the judges in the face of pretty tough competition. We tried our best to pitch a campaign that communicated the message across in the simplest way possible.”
Ravin Shunmugarajan, also Creative Hybrid, Merdeka LHS, explained how they conceptualised their campaign, saying, “Ultimately, we knew that most Asian travellers these days who travel to a paradise island will want to share their shots on social media. By connecting the Palau Pledge directly with the beauty of the photos, it was really about confronting travellers with their real life eco responsibilities that go hand in hand with the social content they are creating.”
Hua Huang, Chief Creative Officer Merdeka LHS said: “We are hugely proud of Valentina and Ravin for bringing home Malaysia’s only Gold at Spikes Asia. This talented pair fought off the competition from the region with a disarmingly simple but effective campaign proposal that really holds up the idea that advertising within the social ecosystem can be a true force for good.”