Advertising in Multi-Cultural Malaysia

AdvertisingCreating Advertisements that Resonate

Despite the concept of an all-encompassing Malaysian identity still being worked out, most Malaysians like to think of themselves as Malaysians first, rather than members of a particular culture or religion, or race. Given this, successful advertising in Malaysia has always centered around advertisements that emphasize a united Malaysian nation.  The Malaysian identity is made up of three major ethnic groups: Malay, Chinese and Indian.  However, regardless of their culture, studies have shown that Malaysians, in general, are passionate about two things: food and sports.  The key, then, is to leverage advertising services to create compelling advertisements that promote a unifying concept of Malaysia, rather than one individual group of people.

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Online Advertising Plays a Big Role

With their largely mobile lifestyle, Malaysians are redefining advertising in Malaysia.  The greater time spent online by most Malaysians, either in a professional or personal capacity, is driving advertising agencies to integrate both traditional and contemporary advertising services, so as to ensure greater engagement with the consumer.  Online advertising gets a major chunk of all advertising media, as brands have the opportunity to create multiple touch points with consumers, throughout the day, through online content and advertising, something that print media or television may not be able to do, owing to the lifestyle and habits of most Malaysians.  In a country where mobile phones rule, online advertising enables companies to reach consumers in ways that traditional media simply cannot, anymore.

The Role of Media in Fostering Unity

In a country that has been plagued by racial and religious tension ever since its independence, the role that mass media has played in promoting the unity of Malaysians has been phenomenal.  Used extensively by the government to promote the idea of one Malaysia, the mainstream media like television, newspaper and radio have been indispensable in promoting the concept of a united Malaysia.  This is where advertising transcends brand promotion, or an individual company, and moves on to something larger, in this case, uniting a nation.

In a nation such as Malaysia, riddled by political and racial tensions, advertising by promoting the concept of a unified Malaysia can be a powerful way to unite the various individual groups that join together to form this great nation.

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