KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 8 ― For a Malaysia Day advertisement, it was no surprise that it showed Malaysians being brought together in friendship… over some food and drink.
After all, we do love to eat. The nice surprise though was that this was more social experiment than scripted commercial.
Wittily titled “KFC presents The Bucket Sessions”, the experiment involves pairs of Malaysians sitting on a sofa and being served some fried chicken (KFC, of course) and soft drinks.
The five pairs: a 15-year-old girl and an old woman (Aryssa and Imelda); a dikir barat performer and a teenage beatboxer (Ayee and Simon); two barbers, one Indian and the other a hipster (Barathan and Be); two middle-aged men ― one Chinese and the other a Sikh (Chua and Guison), and two tattoo artists (Vicky and Allan, who is a Sarawakian).
The magic happens when they start talking to each other as they eat and drink.
“Trying to be united in a diverse nation can be a challenge,” Alvin Teoh, executive creative director of advertising agency Naga which conceptualised the campaign, told Malay Mail Online.
“There’s a lot of misunderstandings, sometimes we pass judgment through our filtered lenses. But we still have so much friendliness embedded in our DNA so to speak,” he added.
Teoh said that all it took to dispel suspicion and to break the ice was a simple hello and an invitation to a meal since Malaysians loved food.
“All of the people were the same. When food is on the table, they'll automatically invite each other to eat,” he said.
Teoh added that those featured in the video were just prompted with one or two questions and the video makers “let that friendship take a life of its own.”
“It’s totally unscripted”.
In the video, the barbers and the tattoo artists cut each other’s hair and design tattoos for each other respectively, while the two middle-aged men are seen grabbing a cup of teh tarik at a stall after the shoot.
The KFC video, which has 68,000 views on Facebook at the time of writing, even calculated how many pieces of chicken it took for each pair to “turn strangers into friends.”
A nice nod to the commercial part of the “social experiment” but it really underlined how quickly two strangers can become friendly.
“Food is a uniting force and especially in Malaysia. KFC is grateful to be part of many bonding moments that have transcended differences and made friends out of complete strangers.
“In this season of celebrating the nation, this film is KFC’s tribute to Malaysians for their innate warmth and inclusiveness,” Merrill Pereyra, CEO of the restaurants division of QSR Brands (M) Holdings Bhd, said in a statement.