Recognising the brands who left the biggest impressions on us this year
2021 brought with it new challenges, but also glimmers of hope as the world collectively looked forward to the future. As borders cautiously reopened and countries took encouraging steps towards recovery, we also saw some exceptional work from businesses this year. Whether it was impressing audiences with sincere campaigns that benefited society, or strengthening relationships with their customers, brands remained resilient through adversity, never shying away from being creative as they sought to connect with their communities.
Indeed, instead of bowing down to the uncertainty that shrouded much of the year, leading brands were unfazed and levelled up in 2021. From working with influential voices on Twitter, to identifying cultural moments that resonated best, brands tapped on various Twitter’s innovative solutions to launch campaigns and connect with their audience. Across Southeast Asia, marketers and advertisers showcased a wide range of new ideas this year, helping their brands secure a place under the spotlight.
Amidst all the ups and downs of 2021, these are the champions who fought off many challenges and Tweeted all the way to the crowns. From groundbreaking launches to the most creative use of Twitter, these winning brands made us laugh, cry, reply and Retweet.
In recognition of this extraordinary work, and as we reflect on the toughest of years, Twitter today announced its #BestofTweets 2021 Malaysia Awards to celebrate and applaud the brands that broke through the chatter to create standout campaigns.
⦁ Best Campaign for Driving Positive Change in Society
There has never been a more important time like now for brands to act upon ideas to give more positive impacts to society. Malaysia’s biggest telecommunications company, Axiata (@axiata) talk the talk, walks the walk with the launched of #AdvancingToZero campaign in 2021. Featuring Axiata’s employees at the heart of the campaign, Axiata set the goal of reaching net-zero carbon to combat the rising temperature of the earth for people and the planet to co-exist in a balance.
⦁ Best Brand Voice
Childhood memories at times will transform us back into the simplest treats that evokes happiness within us. Tapping into the element of childhood nostalgia, Milo Malaysia (@MiloMalaysia) launched a heartwarming campaign #TimeforMilo, just in time for the Merdeka celebration to mark Malaysia’s Independence Day. The campaign resulted in conversations and positive engagement on Twitter that brought joy to all Malaysians as they celebrated “the voice of a friend” from their childhood times. Though at times we are still undecided whether to pronounce it as Mai-lo or Meelo, it is pretty much agreeable that #TimeforMilo is what memories are made of.
⦁ Best Use of Video
As the world experiences a prolonged pandemic, brands evolved creatively to engage with their audience, including during cultural festivities. McDonalds Malaysia (@McDMalaysia) creatively captured the spirit of Ramadan as they transfer the offline experience to online with a series of video features “Syukur” in his journey to appreciate the values of the Holy Month. This campaign is a masterclass in using digital visualization to tell stories that connect with all Malaysians.
“McDonald’s Malaysia is honoured to receive the #BestOfTweets 2021 award, for the second year running. Being able to communicate with our customers and fans is important to us as we are always finding ways to speak their lingo and be where they are most active, including on digital channels. These unprecedented times have forced us to move away from the conventional ways of connecting with our customers and leverage the power of social media and Twitter specifically. Twitter has become a platform for us to engage with our customers and to understand what matters to them most,” said Hajah Melati Abdul Hai – Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of McDonald’s Malaysia.
⦁ Best Campaign from a Newcomer
Understanding that younger audiences turn to social media to find solutions for their skin problems, AikenMY (@AikenMalaysia) came up with a plan to drive sampling for their anti-acne skincare range Aiken Tea Tree Oil on Twitter. They asked Twitter audiences to Retweet with hashtag #AikenTeaTreeOil for a chance to win a product sample. The simplistic idea of the campaign, in mixing up the languages along with local lingo, resonated well with the audience and generated conversations across the country.
⦁ Best Launch on Twitter
In 2021, Netflix Malaysia (@NetflixMY) launched an activation that not only captured the eyes of the Malaysians, but also the ears. In conjunction with the release of “Money Heist” final season, they approached Malaysian superstar, Yuna (@Yunamusic) and Malaysia’s Philharmonic Orchestra to recreate the series’ theme song. The end result was a wonderfully interpreted and instantly iconic take on the song. At the same time, Branded Hashtag #MoneyHeistMY helped supercharge the heist-related conversations.
⦁ Most Tweeted about Brand
As it is the “new normal” of being home during the MCO earlier this year, many are looking for new ways to fill in their time. It is without a surprise that @NetflixMY emerged as the Most Tweeted About Brand. Malaysians came to Twitter to talk about the final season of Money Heist and Yuna’s take on its soundtrack. Throughout their campaigns, Netflix identifies local cultures and approaches that help people relate to a show, not only piquing their interest but igniting organic conversations around it, too.
⦁ Best Connection to Culture
Twitter is what’s happening in the world, and leading brands connect with people by aligning with passions that people care about. As the country celebrates Merdeka, Tenaga Nasional (@Tenaga_Nasional) paid an homage to Malaysians’ tenacity and generosity spirit with a touching short animation, ‘Celebrate Our Malaysia’. The video told stories of four Malaysians overcoming a myriad of pandemic-related challenges, while helping others along the way, regardless of ethnicity or background. Each story held unity at the heart, a message that resonated with Malaysians through and through – beautiful! This is truly the epitome of connection to culture.
⦁ Best ⦁ #OnlyOnTwitter
The challenge is set and clear drive subscription for their ‘Sports Pack’, despite various Olympic events and the #Euro2020 being available on the free channels. To complete the tasks at hand, Astro (@astroonline) turned into sports conversations on Twitter and gained deep understanding about the sports community in the country. They are patriotic and passionate about local sporting heroes. As an answer to the challenge, Astro crafted the Sports Pack campaign, with the hashtag #SokongMalaysia, to lead the #Tokyo2020 conversations and rally Malaysians to cheer their national athletes during the games. The end result was Gold for Astro!
“We are honoured to be presented with the best #OnlyOnTwitter award as part of the #BestOfTweets for our #SokongMalaysia campaign. Because no fans were allowed at the games, we felt the best way to get Malaysians to rally behind our national team at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 was digitally. We leveraged on Twitter to get the support rolling and it was amazing to see Malaysians sharing their love and support to our fellow athletes throughout the Games. Malaysia Boleh!” said Robert Middleton – Vice President, Group Marketing of Astro Malaysia.
“This year has shown us that creativity knows no bounds and we’re truly inspired by how brands throughout Southeast Asia leveraged our service to launch their campaigns and connect with their communities. The industry has shifted yet again this year; and marketers look to Twitter to break through the mold and drive conversations around their brands and products. This year’s winners raised the game on Twitter by tapping into insights from the talk on Twitter. They were not afraid to lead the conversations and not just follow. The winning brands also dialed up their innovation through experimenting with new features, as well as exploring bold and creative ideas. From groundbreaking launches to the most creative use of Twitter; these winning brands made us laugh, cry, reply, and Retweet. It’s one thing to be trending—another to leave a lasting impression. #BestOfTweets is our platform to celebrate those brands and we can’t wait to see what they do next in 2022,” said Avril Chua – Brand Strategist, Twitter NEXT, Southeast Asia.
This year’s list shows that brands should not be afraid to be different among the pack. As long as you get the pulse of your audience and the message you want to share, conversations and connections will surely follow. Cheers to this year’s best of the best!