Malaysian radio station BFM89.9 partnered with independent advertising agency Fishermen to self-fund and produce a street-food video highlighting the diversity and richness of its cuisine, as well as the local vendors behind famous street food operations.
The video, released yesterday (16 September), is part of a larger campaign called #BersatuforMakan (directly translating to Unite for Food) and a response to Malaysia being left out of the Netflix documentary, despite the country being known for its food. Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, and Philippines were among the countries featured.
The campaign also collected more than 70 brands to sign a petition to call for the inclusion of Malaysia in the series. So far, the petition has garnered over 19,000 signatures since it was launched on August 23.
Malaysia Airlines came on as a flight sponsor, and Tune Hotels as an accommodation sponsor. According to a release, "many passionate Malaysians" also contributed to the project by donating on change.org. Meanwhile, Rantau Golin signed on as a PR agency for the campaign.
"We were tired of seeing how Malaysia is always overlooked in many aspects. Additionally, Malaysia doesn’t have that much PR to market our culture and food," said Mark Darren Lee, managing director at Fishermen.
"It was a breaking point when we saw Netflix’s series featuring street food in Asia, but Malaysia was left out. We weren’t the only ones, though. A lot of Malaysians were upset."
Meera Sivasothy, general manager at BFM, said that the station hopes to work with Netflix to stream the episode. The video was filmed in the same style and format as the original Netflix production.
"It’ll be great if Netflix adds our video to the series," said Lee. "It’s a great platform to create awareness about Malaysian culture, but making them angry was never our objective. We are all still Netflix subscribers."
Your move, Netflix.