Besides being known as the Festival of Lights, Deepavali is the time of the year where you pack on your eating skills, crunching on that tarts and murukku, dress up in vibrant traditional clothes, drink (obviously!), occasionally avoiding questions from kepohchi relatives but most importantly, spending quality time with your loved ones.
Cover image credit on the left : Youtube and right: Vimeo, uploaded by Reservoir Production
Also another aspect that is a staple of Deepavali when it comes to the Malaysian media entertainment is the Deepavali ads being produced by big companies. Lots of people anticipate advertisement for Deepavali in particular to see the creativity and out-of-the-box ideas they come up with.
As an ode to Deepavali, let’s look back at some of the most iconic Deepavali advertisements that made us appreciate this festival more.
1. Family Mischief, TNB (2018)
In this advertisement by Tenaga Nasional Berhad, it focuses on the tradition of “thale deepavali” where in the first year of marriage, the husband has to celebrate Deepavali at their wife’s side of the family. This is where the family will pamper and gift the husband with gifts including gold too. The advertisement features a different and cheeky side to how the family is putting in effort to get a good gift for him that the husband is finding it all weird and wondered if there was something going on with the house itself. The message behind this was no matter how much gift he may have gotten, the best gift he’s ever received is the family itself.
Message behind the ad: No matter how much gift you may be getting, the best gift is always your family, no matter how ‘weird’ they are.
2. I Can’t Speak, Soya N Cincau (2018)
A rather hilarious and different spin to what a normal Deepavali advertisement would look like, this takes a dive into the stereotypes a person who couldn’t speak in Tamil would get on a daily basis. From getting mocked, discriminated and alienated by a community, it shows the deep impact it had on the young man acting in the video. However, when the young man arrives home, he starts lecturing his brother on Deepavali is more than just drinking, and eating, as it’s more of imparting the Deepavali values and traditions in your home and family.
Message behind the video: You shouldn’t allow language to define who are and your traditions.
3. Arathi’s First Love, Petronas (2017)
With it being an all children act as the star of the show, the message behind the video is a strong and impactful one. Arathi was being teased loudly by her close friends after it was revealed she had a crush on a boy named Ivan. Feeling embarrassed, Arathi decides to shut her close friends off and not accepting any of their friends apology. It all changed after her group of friends decided to share the Deepavali festivities by showing up at her house and celebrating with her.
Message behind the ad: The light shines brighter when you’re together with your loved ones.
4. Appa’s Cheeky Dancer, Hong Leong Bank (2018)
Instead of dialogues and acting, this advertisement showcases in a traditional dance (Bharatanatyam) and musical way. A father is dancing while his daughter follow the steps to his dancing. Along the way, she switched her dancing up with her own twist of hip-hop/modern dancing that is not pertain to culture. Her father gets upset and insists she follow his way. However, the father seeing the disappointed daughter, he adapted to her dancing styles and a few years later, the daughter becomes a dancer in her own way.
Message behind the ad: When you believe in something, it will shine brighter
5. My Deepavali Story, INTI International University & Colleges (2016)
The starting of the advertisement sounds like a fairy tale Deepavali scene where a girl is describing what she’ll do. From eating her sister’s signature mutton curry dish, her family dressing up, to bonding with her grandfather by eating sweets together. However, coming back to reality, the girl actually is dreaming of having Deepavali celebrated that way as she is in a children’s home for the orphaned. All she ever hope to fulfill that one way with a family member.
Message behind the advertisement: Your reality may be someone else’s dreams, so cherish your loved ones.
6. Boyz In Da Hood, Petronas (2003)
Dare I say the greatest Deepavali commercial of all time and it’s all from the creativity and genius mind of film director and writer, the late Yasmin Ahmad. This video alone is what made advertisements during the festive season to be more creative. Ask any Malaysians, and they’ll never forget Boyz In Da Hood commercial for Petronas. It’s hilarious ad for Deepavali 2013 becomes one of the most memorable scenes ever. One of the main characters in the video changed his original name to a more modern name after being asked by a grandmother on the streets who knew his family. The comedic side to this is the character development and funny scripts.
Message behind the ad: Some people will go the distance to deny their past, but rather we should all embrace our culture and traditions, which includes our name.
Here are some Deepavali ads you should be looking out for 2019 too!
Komala Is Cursed by KPJ Damansara Specialist Hospital
Soya Cincau by Enrico’s
Strength to Rise by RHB Group
Style Mannavan by Tenaga Nasional Berhad
Arvin’s ReDeepavali by CIMB
Geng Sakat Deepavali, Yakult Malaysia
Here’s wishing everyone a prosperous Deepavali Valthukkal!!