This Deepavali, Taylor’s is pushing the envelope to explore yet another difficult topic in its festive ad. In keeping with the Deepavali message of light triumphing over darkness, Taylor’s explores the harsh realities afflicting communities in Malaysia when it comes to education.
A report back in 2018 stated that the Indian B40 community (IB40) suffers from high dropout rates in schools and low employment rates by the labour market leading to higher crime rates compared to the national average.
The short film starts with a suspicious-looking Raju, as he looks towards a handphone shop where the shopkeeper was talking to a vendor with a trolley of box filled with smartphones.
Noticing that the two were distracted in a chat, Raju quickly grabbed one of the smartphones as he hurriedly walked past the shop. Before he could walk any further, he heard the shopkeeper furiously asking him to stop.
As the shopkeeper, nicknamed Uncle by Raju later in the film, interrogated him for theft and threatening to call the police on him, Raju explained that he needed the smartphone for his classes as his family only has one to use but that his father works till late at night, thus hindering him from attending his classes during the day.
As Uncle listened in on Raju’s plight, he offered to borrow his phone to Raju with the condition that he only uses the phone at the shop.
In the following scenes, Raju is seen attending to his classes, but was noticed by Uncle that he was having a hard time hearing his lecturer on the screen, which prompted the shopkeeper to share with him a pair of headset.
As dusk sets on them, Uncle then invited Raju for a quick break to eat where they began to immerse in a delicate yet eye-opening conversation surrounding education and a better future for the community.
“We came across numerous uplifting stories of students, teachers, and parents throughout the last 18 months, as the pandemic disrupted learning for five million Malaysian students. This combined with the insights from IB40 report sets the direction for our Deepavali film, this year”, said Taylor’s University Group Chief Marketing Officer Ben Foo.
According to Foo, the ad hopes to invoke a sense of awakening on pressing societal issues.
“As educators, we want our students to be able to discuss sensitive topics that are centered in their own values and those of their classmates. Similarly, we reflect this notion through our festive films recognising the importance of these discussions to understand the underlying struggles, in order to tackle the root cause of the problem. I believe our role as adults is to pave the way for the young generation, like how “Uncle” supported “Raju”,” added Ben.
“As we explore the topic of unequal access to education and the lack of interest thereof, it is important to present an understanding that we can change the course of our destiny with education. The understanding that ignorance should not be bliss, but enlightenment will triumph over the darkness that we have begrudgingly allowed to shadow our light”, Ben concluded.
Towards the end, the video cuts to 20 years in the future where Raju is now a successful young entrepreneur at the opening ceremony of a learning centre. When asked by a reporter why he decided to build the centre, Raju explained the adversity faced by the Indian community caused by lack of access to education.
“Opportunity. The same opportunity given for me many years ago by a kind man. An opportunity given for me not to become a thief or an uneducated Indian boy. An opportunity given for me to pursue greater heights in life and the desire to change the lives around me,” the video explained.
Submissions Deadline: 15 November 2021
Announcement of Finalists: 29 December 2021
Judging & Presentations: 25 & 26 January 2022
Winners Announcement: 22 February 2022
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APPIES Asia Pacific is an annual event that presents a rare opportunity for creative, media, digital and marketing agencies or brands to present their best campaigns to the industry.
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