Panasonic CNY video discovers the hidden meaning behind a commonly asked question

Chinese New Year is one of the biggest and most celebrated festive seasons in Malaysia. It is the time where families come home for a reunion and a lot of questions will be asked.

Culturally in an Asian family, love and care is never said out loud. It is always hidden in gestures, actions and even certain phrases when we talk to each other. Using this insight, the team came up with the idea of using a very common question ‘Sek Bao Mei’ (Have You Eaten).

In Malaysian Chinese culture, this question is asked around a lot. Especially by your family members. What seems like a simple question actually has a deeper meaning tied to it – It becomes a form of expression for love and care shown by family members.

The film follows the story of Bobby who just came back to his hometown from KL for CNY. Throughout the film, everyone around him just asks the same question: ‘SEK BAO MEI?’ (Have You Eaten?)

So what we as the audience hear is just one question, repeated over and over again. But the subtitles in the video reveals the different meaning behind the question.

“For this CNY piece, we wanted to build brand love among our audience by finding the common message that both our idea and Panasonic share. As a household brand that prides themselves of caring for one’s family, we knew the overarching message should be about showing love and care this festive season. By using the simple and catchy question of ‘Sek Bao Mei’, we managed to bridge the idea and brand all while making the film a conversational piece that families can talk about during Chinese New Year.”, said Florence Lee, Creative Group Head of Naga DDB

“As in the classic saying of Min Yi Shi Wei Tian(民以食为天), ‘Sek Bao Mei’, a very common and spontaneous phrase used among Malaysian Chinese community whenever people meet, has a deeper meaning than the literal meaning of “Have You Eaten”. It signifies warmth, caring for others, and in hindsight, reflecting the hardship one has to go through in earning a living (to feed oneself).

At Panasonic, it is our fervent hope that this Chinese New Year, Malaysians from all walks of life will come together to celebrate, foster unity, and greet our visiting home guests with the warm wishing of ‘Sek Bao Mei’!”, said by Mr Chew Keng Heng, the General Manager from Marketing Innovation Department of Panasonic Malaysia.

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