Squid Game Hype: 7 Ways Brands Create Effective Content Marketing in Malaysia
What is the one TV series that everyone loves and can’t stop talking about recently? I’m pretty sure you’ve watched or even just heard of “Squid Game”, a Netflix’s original series that came like a bolt from the blue for viewers worldwide.
In case you’ve yet to catch on, the Korean drama is a thriller about 456 desperate debtors competing against each other in a deadly battle of seemingly innocent children’s games to win a cash prize of 45.6 billion won. Here’s the official trailer for you to catch a glimpse into this spine-chilling show:
Why 45.6 billion won? Watch to find out.🤐
Interestingly, the script written by Squid Game’s director, Hwang Dong-hyuk was rejected for 10 years as it was deemed unrealistically violent until Netflix picked it up — and the rest is history.
Squid Game has forced marketers to rethink what it means to go viral. Even without any pre-launch advertising, the once rejected script becomes Netflix’s biggest hit in history and the most viral topic of 2021. Here are some numbers to prove it:
- No.1 in 94 countries around the world
- 4.4 million paid subscribers to Netflix
- 111 million views in the first month
- Over 9 million social mentions (#squidgame)
As Squid Game dominates the globe, brands naturally jump on the immense buzz as part of their marketing strategy.
Before diving into the 7 ways brands in Malaysia leverage Squid Game’s hype through content marketing, let’s first discuss the 3 reasons why this series is getting so much attention from brands.
Why Use Squid Game For Content Marketing?
- Timely & Relevant
Brands that stay on top of hot conversations and connect with customers through innovative ways have a competitive advantage.
From flooding the internet with Dalgona candy recipes to trendy hilarious memes, Squid Game’s fan-made content have exploded in terms of relevance and popularity.
To effectively connect customers to your brand, humanise your brand and align your business’s offerings to your brand’s voice.
Emotion influences consumer behaviour and purchasing decisions.
Sharing relatable content referencing Squid Game’s characters, dialogues, or scenes, is one powerful way to drive emotional response from people.
When you tap into the ‘in-the-moment’ connection that your customers crave, it’s incredibly easy to steer them to the desired action.
Every piece of content you create is an opportunity to reach your target customers and get them to click, engage, and convert.
Squid Game is a word-of-mouth hit, with international viewers from different backgrounds engaging through Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, Youtube and even Linkedin.
Content marketers immediately create advertising using such trending topics, because they’re less likely to get ignored.
Now that we understand why more brands are capitalizing on the hype, let’s look at how brands in Malaysia leverage Squid Game’s success to improve sales and organic publicity.
7 Ways Brands Create Effective Content Marketing in Malaysia
Here’s a compilation of 7 best advertising techniques by brands about Squid Game:
- Retail Invite
Many brands tap into the Squid Game craze with a series of 3 simple geometric shapes — a circle, triangle and square, printed on a business card. Using this idea for social media content engages the audiences with their unique invitation style.
Taking inspiration from Squid Game’s invitation card, Family Mart replaced the 3 popular symbols with their flagship products: oden, onigiri and their packaging. Consumers are encouraged to fill up the slots by visiting their stores for some food hunt adventure!
MarryBrown also released a card featuring their burger, Nasi Lemak and a QR code. Making ordering as simple as possible, MarryBrown plays mind games with the public given that the choice to satisfy your cravings is in your hands.
Similarly, another fast-food outlet, A&W recreates the card by inviting Malaysians who have grown up to love this brand since 1963 with its classic coney dog, onion rings, and the Great Root Bear.
The minimalist, premium-looking card design with Nando’s logo included in all shapes highlights their signature flame-grilled PERi-PERi chicken. In a way, Nando’s is implying that you know exactly who and where to look for when it comes to a delicious chicken meal!
Inside Scoop hyped its advancement showing that they’re heading to the life-or-death game hoping to win some sweet treats. This plot indirectly acts as an invitation to their store. One of the followers also added that Inside Scoop’s ice-creams are to die for (get it?).
Petronas gets creative with one of the most memorable scenes in the first game of the series, featuring the giant robotic doll in front of Mesra Petronas store. The humorous caption has successfully put the spotlight on Petronas’s “Mesra-Visa Kasih Bonanza” campaign, attracting more consumers to spend and stand a chance to win cash prizes worth up to RM50,000!
The Malaysian fashion retail, Padini also joins the buzz by inviting their customers to shop safely under the supervision of masked guards in pink jumpsuits from Squid Game. This content combining two iconic elements from the show has boosted their engagement rate with over 10,000 likes and almost 170 comments.
Just in time for Halloween, the Squid Game madness runs at Sunway Pyramid until 31st of October. The 12-foot-tall creepy doll starring in the “Red Light, Green Light” game is brought to life, together with a team of bemasked pink officers stand ready to welcome fans at LG1 Atrium.
You will also see it taking your temperature at selected entrances. The response from the crowd was great, with a 10% increase in footfall in one day.
Check out how Sunway Pyramid utilise video as part of their content marketing strategy:
- Brand Awareness
Creating brand awareness allows more people to remember you, making you the consumers’ choice. The greater brand awareness, the more audiences will recognize your logo, message, or products. The Squid Game’s Dalgona candy game appeared to be the most common inspiration.
Heineken is a beer brand whose red star-shaped logo coincided with the symbol in the Dalgona candy challenge. For those unfamiliar, the game requires players to carve out one shape from a selection of four — circle, triangle, star, or umbrella. Heineken used this reference in their content marketing, hinting that their brand is the ‘best pick.’
Jaya Grocer aims to increase brand recognition with their logo stamped into the Dalgona candy. To push for sales, Jaya Grocer shared a step-by-step recipe for the candy using ingredients that can be purchased at their store.
- Contests & Games
Majority of people love to play games, and who doesn’t like to win something? That’s why contests and games are one of the best ways to excite your target audience, keep them hooked and stay engaged with your brand.
Squid Game’s doll being the latest main attraction in Sunway Pyramid; the brand sees an excellent opportunity to buff up their strategy with the “Snap & Win” game. To enter, shoppers need to submit photos with hashtags to be one of the 50 netflix gift code winners.
myBurgerLab hosted a “Sabotage Content”, where it highlighted the colloquial term “sabo”. The game involves tagging 2 friends to qualify and the comment with zero “like” wins four free burgers.
Homegrown e-wallet, Boost puts a smart twist to their social game by adopting a local marketing approach. The “Comment & Win RM40” contest gets consumers to share one game they could win from the four classic games — Gasing, Batu Seremban, Colek Lidi, Congkak, assuming Squid Game was held in Malaysia.
Leading online grocery platform, Happy Fresh gets creative with their visuals. A Happy Fresh’s mystery delivery rider covered in Squid Game’s guard mask invites consumers to share in the excitement through Instagram stories, and it comes with a surprise.
- Limited Products & Services
The sense of immediacy and exclusivity in limited edition offerings intends to attract more customers in a short period of time.
Malaysia’s financial service group also boarded the Squid Game marketing train to sell their cards. RHB launched a new, limited-edition design for its Visa Rewards credit card. The 3 iconic shapes printed on the card each highlights the main spending categories: dining, flights, and shopping.
A local manicure salon made a brilliant move to sell Squid Game inspired sets of painted and press-on nail designs for all nine episodes.
- Exclusive Deals
Another insanely effective way to boost engagement and sales is to blend entertaining content with exclusive deals in your content strategy.
Fans are rushing to Sunway Pyramid mall to relive their favourite horrifying Squid Game moments. If you go over to the pink officers, they’ll give you an invitation card to score discounts at participating Korean stores such as Innisfree, Kyochon, MyungRang and more.
The Malaysian bubble tea brand did something extraordinary to convey their promotional message. The Squid game theme card invites followers whose phone number contains “456” to enjoy a second cup at only RM0.10!
Receiving a Squid Game customized invite card to get a fantastic deal for two regular pizzas? Can this get any better?
As you can see, the shapes on the card are replaced by a regular pizza, a slice of pizza and their cardboard box.
Easy Parcel played up its promotion in a rather simple manner, with the RM5 shipping rate carved on a dalgona candy. This mainly suggests getting the cheapest shipping rate didn’t have to be hard.
The Malaysian fashion retailer brand posted an Instagram Reel, inspired by Squid Game’s first competitive event “Red Light, Green Light”. Just like the game, the idea is to act smart and move fast, in this case, for their 10.10 sale.
- Emotional Appeal Advertising
How do the content we see online everyday always manage to trigger a certain emotion that makes us want to take action? It’s all about the different types of emotional appeals used to captivate the audience’s attention.
When you create content that leaves the right emotional impact, your brand will stay in their hearts and minds.
Tertiary level education can be extremely costly. Instead of joining the Squid Game to fund your own fees, Malaysia’s university addressed this public’s concern using the series’ invitation card by offering financial aid programs to their intake.
No one wants to end up in the hospital. Sunway Hospital utilized the Squid Game-inspired card to speak directly to the public on the importance of good health and emphasised on their brand promise. That is, to deliver healthcare through their reliable support system.
Health cannot be replaced once it’s gone, and BerryC uses the fear appeal from the card to remind the audience to invest in their health, by offering different sizes of sanitiser products.
Malaysia’s public transport operator recreates one of the most iconic scenes in Squid Game to promote their train card. The video uses humor to encourage the commuters to use their MyRapid Cards instead of tokens for their train rides. Massive attention from social media users were received, with more than 250k views on Facebook and over 25k views on Tiktok at the time of writing.
Today, brands recognise the huge potential of marketing with memes as they’re culturally-relevant, refreshing and entertaining. They give your brand a human element, enhance social presence across the internet and reach an even wider audience.
Squid Game has many complex characters and plenty of visually striking scenes, so it’s no wonder that they’re meme-worthy. Here are some of the best ones.
Since myBurgerLab has always been known to be so interactive over social media, their customers have come to expect meme-marketing from them.
Throughout the Squid Game series, the elderly character is seen going from a happy, optimistic disposition to isolating himself in one corner looking very depressed. The use of both images together as a contrast represents customers before and after having their delicious burgers.
Nando’s got in on the fun too, using the honeycomb challenge scene in Squid Game as a meme to put a test on their customer’s loyalty. If you’re a real fan of Nando’s, you’ll definitely pick this shape for the game.
The Chicken Rice Shop
The homegrown food chain takes a creative twist in their meme, as it pairs two images to portray a similar situation from the game to reality. This is meant to tell customers that they don’t need an invitation to enjoy good meals at The Chicken Rice Shop.
Munchy’s meme game is on point, as it successfully bridges the gap between the brand and its consumers. They turn to Squid Game’s main character Gi Hun’s licking scene to imply that its biscuits are too good not to lick.
Aside from Squid Game’s immersive plot, there are some interesting marketing lessons that can be learned from these examples. Here are 5 takeaway lessons that every entrepreneur should take note of.
5 Lessons Squid Game Teach Us About Content Marketing
- Word-of-mouth is the Best Marketing Tool
Humans are inherently social; we’re wired to connect and share. So. It naturally piqued someone’s interest to learn what the hype is about when the Squid Game fever began to flood over all social media.
Due to the fear of missing out among peers, this almost forces everyone to join in the conversation so they can actually understand the memes and relate to the community on and off social media platforms.
We’ve never seen such popularity over a TV series growing this fast online, and Squid Game has proven that word of mouth is more effective than any paid advertisement initiatives.
- TikTok Trend is Powerful
Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, TikTok has become a hugely successful platform for user-generated content. Its #challenges marketing strategy appears to drive mass awareness and big results.
Squid Game has taken over the platform with massive engagement figures. The hashtag #SquidGame has been used almost 52 billion times, and over 15 million of users have attempted the #DalgonaCandyChallenge.
It’s so influential that you need to be more aware of its marketing potential, and direct your content strategy to these creativity crazed generations.
- Basic Human Emotions are Universal
Squid Game is definitely an emotional journey. The series continues to build tension as each challenge costs the deaths of the players.
Although international viewers are not particularly familiar with South Korean culture, Squid Game taps into the globe’s current financial pain and engages viewers on a basic emotional level. This way, everyone could relate to the characters’ extreme situations and feel connected with them.
The third and most important lesson the series can teach us is the art of selling emotion, not products in content marketing. Ultimately, human emotions are universal despite cultural differences.
- Concept Over Regularity
The formula of Squid Game’s marketing success is its rare, interesting and engaging concept.
There is a gap in the market as consumers are bored of the copy-paste-styled drama, so it’s refreshing to see an original series explode into the mainstream.
This goes to show that your brand needs to consistently find new ways to break the conventional norms and create something completely new for your content strategy.
- Strategy and Creativity Wins the Game
In each round of the game in the series, the players had to think out of the box in order to survive.
This applies to the digital marketing world as well, having well-thought strategy is half the battle won. The other half is creativity.
It’s simple: Your content serves as a magnet and attracts people to your business. If you’re not working on a creative content marketing strategy, your brand will suffer in the long run.
Your brand can use these 5 marketing lessons from Squid Game to increase awareness and ideally revenue.
Wrapping It Up…
You’ve reached the end of this article.
Along the way, Squid Game has made one thing clear: staying current with the latest trend is crucial in today’s hyper-connected world.
Squid Game is an insightful case study in marketing. We hope you find this article useful and inspire you to elevate your content marketing strategy for the next trendy topic!
Do you have a content marketing strategy in place yet? If you’re still unsure where to start, start by contacting us here.