The pandemic posed significant challenges for Indian-owned SMEs, as they lacked the digital skills needed to compete in an evolving market. Struggling to stand out against well-funded giants, their sales plummeted, compounded by a muted festive season that further diminished their visibility. With Deepavali holding tremendous significance for small Indian businesses, accounting for approximately 40% of their annual revenue, this was a prime opportunity for these enterprises to regain their losses. 

As Malaysia’s leading telecommunications company, Maxis has been at the forefront of empowering small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) through digitalisation. Recognising the urgent need to support local Indian businesses, Maxis embarked on a mission with a clear objective: Put a spotlight on SME businesses and equip them with essential digital skills, ultimately elevating Maxis’ brand health score among Indians by at least 10%, forging stronger brand perception and deeper connection within the Indian community. 

Our strategy was focused on promoting SMEs and highlighting the tireless efforts of these overlooked local businesses who contributed greatly to their communities during the pandemic. 


As the home of Indian entertainment, Astro commands a 87% TV penetration rate in Indian households and 86% for radio and digital platforms. We executed a comprehensive 360° content integrated plan to promote, engage, and inspire the community to support local businesses, while expanding their reach across multiple platforms including TV, radio, digital, and social media. The execution of the campaign consisted of three phases: Recruitment, Amplification, and Training & Development. 

The concept we created – Lighting Up Possibilities (Saatiyanggalai Oliyuttugirathu), signifies how a single action can light up hope for an entire community. We wanted to translate this concept to showcase how people could make a positive difference to their community through their Deepavali shopping. This idea quickly evolved into digitalising the traditional Deepavali shopping experience.  

We created “Maxis Olirkiratu Marketplace” (‘Olirkiratu’ meaning ‘light’), a virtual platform hosted on Maxis’ website. This platform served as a digital directory and marketplace, allowing consumers to reach and search for products and services with a click of a button. Businesses could increase their digital and social presence, reaching customers beyond their storefront while customers get great deals with convenience, enhancing their online shopping experience. 

Phase 1: Recruitment (14 Sept – 1 Oct 2022) 

To encourage online registration, we utilised various channels: 

  • On Raaga radio, during the morning talk segment, radio DJs discussed the campaign and encouraged their listeners who had businesses to register their interest through the SYOK app. 
  • TV played a role as well, with Astro’s Vaanavil & Vinmeen featuring segments on the recruitment drive, supported by 30-second branded promos. 
  • Additionally, digital and social media channels, including Raaga and Astro Ulagam’s websites and social media platforms, directed audiences to register via the SYOK app. 

Phase 2: Amplification (1 – 14 Oct 2023) 

During this phase, we focused on promoting the digital marketplace and generating support for participating businesses: 

  • Raaga continued to play a significant role, featuring DJ talk sets, live liners, and live reads that spotlighted the campaign. They also integrated participating small businesses into their 8-week Hypermalaai SME program. 
  • Television amplification included special news reports on Vaanavil and Vinmeen channels, extending the campaign’s reach. We strategically placed 108 lower third banners during highly-rated programs (mostly Indian movies and musical shows) across Astro’s Indian channels, showcasing different businesses and directing viewers to the online marketplace. 
  • Digital and social media promotion involved launching the ‘Maxis Lighting Possibilities’ brand film and music video closer to Deepavali. Cross-promotion across Astro and Maxis platforms, including a call to action and a link to the marketplace, further engaged the audience. The Deepavali song, “Innaivom, Innaipom,” enjoyed high on-air rotation on radio.  

Phase 3: Training & Development 

Maxis offered a special Deepavali edition of its eKelas Usahawan program, which provided entrepreneurs with a comprehensive digital marketing curriculum.  

  • The curriculum covered topics such as photography and image editing, digital marketing strategies, ad campaign planning, and copywriting.  
  • This workshop equipped businesses with digital tools and skills, strengthening their online presence and expanding income opportunities through hands-on learnings. 


The campaign was met with an overwhelming show of appreciation and support from the Indian community and SMEs. Businesses who participated in the campaign gained a much needed exposure, with some claiming up to 10% increase in customers, post campaign.  

Maxis Brand Health score recorded an uplift among Indian consumers.  

  • Brand preference score of 33 (Q4’22) vs. 21 (Q3’22).  

Positive responses as measured by Ad Test results, revealed high scores across 2 key metrics:  

  • Brand Likeability – 60 vs. benchmark of 55 
  • Brand Persuasion – 72 vs. benchmark of 5  

[Source: Brand Health Tracker, 2022] 

Overall, the recruitment phase received encouraging responses with 139 entries submitted (+39% higher than KPIs set), prompting us to increase our selection to give more businesses the opportunity to take part in the campaign.  

On digital, we achieved 3.05 million reach, outperforming KPIs set prior to the campaign by 15%. Our Deepavali brand film cum music video amassed 7.3 million views during the campaign period, high VTR of 58% versus benchmark 35%. On social media, the campaign recorded an impressive Engagement rate at 0.44% on Facebook (higher than industry benchmark at 0.06%), while Instagram reported 2.07%, compared to industry benchmark at 0.67%. Overall the campaign recorded 28.5% CTR on our website and social media promoting the link to the marketplace, outperforming industry benchmarks at 0.90%. This proved our campaign effectively encouraged audiences to engage with the brands featured on our platform.  

Radio’s exposure reached 2.93M listeners with 17.3x average exposure during campaign period, 14 Sept – 30 Oct 2022. (GFK Radio Audience Measurement (RAM), Wave 1 2022).  The campaign was exposed to 1.29M audiences on television, reaching 85% of total Indian 4+ audiences. (AGB Nielsen 26 Sep – 30 Oct 2022. Base: 1,515,000)   

The anticipated impact of this campaign was substantial. By enhancing the digital presence of Indian SMEs, we successfully expanded their reach and elevate their brand visibility, reinforcing Maxis’s commitment to assist SMEs towards a digital transformation.