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My favourite ad campaign of all time: Go-Jek’s recent ‘Cari Pahala’ work

Indonesian tech start-up Go-Jek’s recent Ramadan campaign went where few brands dare to go by exploring the audience’s’ religious motivations, and they did the work in-house too – writes Suffian Rahman of Zeno Malaysia

I have a confession to make. My new favourite thing is watching brands make it on their own.

It sounds a little crazy, considering that my ‘rice bowl’ is my ability to sell ideas and execute campaigns on behalf of clients, but I’d be lying if I said that I don’t feel a little excited whenever I see brands bringing their own big ideas to life.

It’s great to see it happen without the intense meddling of advertising, branding, digital, media and public relations agencies. And Go-Jek did that with a truly effective, albeit simple, campaign earlier this year.

Go-Jek’s ‘Cari Pahala’ campaign was about helping people to find ways to do good, whether it was finding the nearest mosque to perform the obligatory prayers, how to give donations to the needy or simply how to say a proper thank you to Go-Jek drivers.

In fact, I really like the simplicity and straightforwardness of the campaign a great deal. It is refreshing in many ways. And I think that the ability to connect people with your brand philosophy and your product is always a win, no matter what the brief is.

All it took was a great television commercial, some branded content and 16 billboards that lined the streets of Jakarta and beyond, broadcasting calls to prayer or letting people donate money by scanning a QR code.

And that’s basically what the month of Ramadan is all about; doing good things so that you can be a better person. The phrase Cari Pahala itself means to seek reward, in Bahasa. Understanding these simple concepts, especially in a nation of 225 million Muslims, was key to the central campaign idea.

Indeed, the in-house creative team, led by former BBDO Malaysia executive creative director VJ Anand, did very well to understand what people really wanted to do. And then they just made it easier for them to do it.

If that isn’t good advertising, then I don’t know what is.  What’s even better is that the clients did it themselves. Quite an achievement in these times. 

Rahman appreciates great in-house work. Picture credit: Mike Campton

Suffian Rahman is creative director at Zeno Group Malaysia, a communications agency

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