Running up the white flag is traditionally a sign of surrender, but in Malaysia, as the pandemic bit hard, it has become a symbol of community. As suicide rates skyrocketed in response to the crisis individuals and families enduring tough times were encouraged to post a white flag outside their door to show they were running low on money and food. The idea was that those with food or resources to spare could then donate and share the care with those in need.
The white flag initiative was a step in the right direction, but one with hurdles in the path to providing support. Aside from the enormity of putting pride aside and admitting that you’re struggling, there were the logistical issues involved in matching would-be donors with families needing help. Families in need were typically to be found in neighbourhoods with others suffering similar problems. Those with available resources were often in different parts of the city. Would-be donors were also justifiably hesitant about making deliveries to other households in the midst of a full-blown pandemic. The scale of the problem called for broader thinking, it meant reaching beyond immediate neighbours and calling on a wider community.
It was time for another flag to fly: and fast.
Cadbury, working with Ogilvy and local tech partners Terato Tech distributed both purple flags to be flown by those with resources to spare, and an interactive online map. Virtual pins of both colour flags made it possible to work out the pick ups, drop offs, and most efficient routing to get goods from donors to those in need.
“We effectively bridge the gap between the donors and recipients, and by doing so, we hope to encourage more folks to come forward to help,” explains Zara Aida Razali, CEO of Terato Tech, the Selangor-based developers.
Logistics were always going to be the key hurdle to overcome. “While the idea sounds really simple, the logistics were much tougher than we thought,” explains Jaz Lee, Creative Director, Ogilvy Malaysia.
“We knew we needed to get the idea up and running as soon as possible because so many people were in dire need of help but we underestimated the complexity of orchestrating everything – from analysing the Purple Flag and White Flag pins in real time, liaising with the donors and victims on pick-up and delivery times and the actual fulfilment of those deliveries. So, in our pilot run of the project, we were still troubleshooting, learning and solving problems as we went on.”
If there was ever a time for Agile to deliver on its promise, this was it, and the team’s response showed true agility in its original sense as well as the team management methodology.
Marketing got moving. “From the marketing team in Malaysia, we had Rahul, Selene, Keane and Yvonne working very hard behind the scenes in close collaboration with Stacey to bring this idea to life,” explains Arpan Sur, Marketing Director, MYSG.
That urgency, and will to deliver continued to pick up speed from that point.
“The idea was pitched and approved within a day” recalls Nikhil Nicholas, Marketing Lead for Chocolates, SEA at Mondalez . “I think this is a testament to both the power of the idea and the trust that’s developed over the years.”
We take care of us
The result was the website KitaJaga.co, which takes its name from the Malay phrase Kita jaga kita (we take care of us).
“KitaJaga.co was founded by our developer, Achan. He teamed up with others at Terato – Edo, Basyrun, and Hisyam – to build the product during their weekend break,” explains Terato’s Zara Aida Razali. “The web app was initially developed as a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) for the team to test out if the concept of putting up a white flag on a digital map, with a clear call to action, would enable people to more easily provide or seek help. To date, almost everyone at Terato Tech has contributed to the development of KitaJaga.co. We keep polishing the platform and run multiple campaigns to address a social issue in Malaysia.”
Although primarily motivated out of humanitarian concerns the project was notably on-brand since Cadbury was founded with the concept of providing the best living conditions for workers. But while the brand’s trademark purple, a symbol of generousness was used for flags, any other branding was carefully avoided.
“We did not want the brand to distract from the good we were trying to do in the middle of the campaign.” confirms Nikhil Nicholas.
A common cause, a shared sense of communal responsibility, and a light-footed approach to implementation paid off across the board.
“This project was a culmination of different parties coming together and going the extra mile for a good cause,” sums up Nizwani Shahar, Chief Executive, Ogilvy Malaysia. “The team at Terato Tech were great collaborators and instrumental in bringing this to life. Our clients at Cadbury Dairy Milk clients believed in the idea and the stress on agility over perfection, in making this happen. And the team here at Ogilvy Malaysia and Singapore gave it their everything to bring the idea to life.”
Since its launch on July 5, 2021 KitaJaga has seen over 96,059 white flags raised on the platform and more than 28,651 help providers participating. The platform has seen over 1.5 million visitors and rising, but more funds and support are always in demand.
Zara explains that the number of white flags on KitaJaga.co outnumbers purple flags at a ratio of 17:1. “This shows the pressing need for more donors to come forward and help those in need by ensuring their pleas do not go unnoticed. We are actively seeking funding to keep the platform alive and continuously running a campaign to address community issues in Malaysia.
Anyone wanting to help keep the purple flag flying can donate here.
The campaign, called Flags of Generosity, won Gold at Cannes.
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