KUALA LUMPUR: The TV commercial entitled Tan Hong Ming, conceptualised and directed by local advertising creative director and filmmaker Yasmin Ahmad, has won three awards (two gold and one bronze) at the 2008 International ANDY awards in New York.
The commercial has in total won 13 awards worldwide, after making its mark in March at the Asia Pacific Advertising Festival in Pattaya, Thailand, and at the 29th Malaysian Advertising Awards last November.
The commercial was one of a three-part TV campaign in conjunction with Merdeka 2007 for Petronas, produced by Leo Burnett Advertising Sdn Bhd. It was Leo Burnett’s headquarters in Chicago that entered the commercial for the ANDYs.
“I had no idea they had entered it. I was surprised when I received a phone call from a Japanese director friend telling me that I had won three awards at the ANDY awards,” she said yesterday.
The commercial is a cute little vignette about a little Chinese boy, Hong Ming, who has a crush on his Malay schoolmate, Umi Qazrina.
Yasmin recalled that the commercial was not at all difficult to shoot. “A month before the shoot, we contacted the schools in the Klang Valley to set aside students aged between seven to nine whose best friends are from another ethnic group. Out of 46 students, eight stood out – Hong Ming was one of them.”
She had a 15-minute reel of Hong Ming telling her of his crush on his best friend, Umi, which was filmed at Hong Ming’s school in Taman Tun Dr Ismail.
“It was edited down to a 90-second commercial, and is available for viewing at Yasmin’s blog yasminthestoryteller.blogspot.com
“People see advertisements as a nuisance, but with Petronas’ Merdeka ads they have become something to look forward to,” she said.
Yasmin admitted that this particular ad has cut through all kinds of barriers, because the two are so real.
“I had lunch with Hong Ming recently and he said his schoolmates still tease him about the ad.”
And yes, Hong Ming and Umi are still best friends.
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