How Netflix’s biggest series ‘Squid Game’ became a cultural phenomenon in Malaysia and the rest of the world

PETALING JAYA : More than a month since its release, the Netflix hit K-drama Squid Game continues to take Malaysia and the rest of the world by storm.

Squid Game was officially inducted into the cultural zeitgeist after viral trends inspired by the series began sprouting in every corner of the globe.

It took almost no time for Malaysians to shuffle into their kitchens to recreate the Honeycomb Candy Challenge which is also known as Korean Dalgona Candy that’s found as a street snack in South Korea.

The South Korean dystopian survival drama garnered 111 million views within 17 days of its release. — Picture courtesy of Netflix
The South Korean dystopian survival drama garnered 111 million views within 17 days of its release. — Picture courtesy of Netflix

Fans have been making this sweet treat to carve out a shape from the delicate creation but unlike the show, no one will be subjected to death should they crack the candy.

On social media platforms such as TikTok, vloggers have been cooking up a mixture of melted sugar and baking soda to replicate the game and the hashtags #dalgona, #dalgonachallene, #dalgonarecipe and #dalgonacandy have reached more than one billion views. 

Those who need more than a sugar rush to fix their Squid Game cravings have resorted to other means to experience the deadly game.  

How about dining in a café where you can play the now-famous ‘red light, green light’ game? 

A Jakarta café saw its earnings triple after patrons were given the chance to dine and take part in the playground game that involves running through a course and freezing upon command. 

Squid Game trends have also infiltrated the beauty sector and a manicure salon just outside Kuala Lumpur nailed it when it started offering customers painted and press-on designs including the show’s red jumpsuit or pink-ribboned coffin. 

The ‘red light, green light’ giant doll is now in Sunway Pyramid. — Picture courtesy of Netflix
The ‘red light, green light’ giant doll is now in Sunway Pyramid. — Picture courtesy of Netflix

Netflix recently placed the giant ‘red light, green light’ doll in Sunway Pyramid for fans to be a part of the Squid Game universe. 

The 12-foot-tall doll is accompanied by her own crew of mask-clad game managers to welcome fans of the series from now until October 31. 

Yes, just in time for Halloween. 

Fans can recreate their own less-lethal version of the game by heading over to Sunway Pyramid’s LG1 Atrium, opposite Costa Coffee, where the imposing doll watches eerily over a replica of the show’s playground. 

The doll is even located at selected entrances in the mall where temperatures are scanned – only those with green light may enter.

Squid Game is a dystopian survival thriller that sees 456 players in debt risking life and limb to win 45.6 billion Korean won (RM161 million) by participating in a series of challenges inspired by children’s playground games. 

The allegorical tale about class disparity in South Korea quickly became Netflix’s crown jewel after it hit 111 million views within 17 days of its release.

Last week, Bloomberg reported that Netflix’s biggest original series launch is estimated to be valued at a whopping US$900 million. 

The show was made with a budget of US$21.4 million. 

The figures that were pulled from an internal Netflix document revealed that 66 per cent of viewers finished watching the series in the first 23 days and it’s also the first Korean drama to make the top spot in the US, even spurring interest in learning Korean. 

To say the least, Netflix has struck gold with its latest Korean language original. 

Whether it’s a video game in the making or a real-life game, the possibilities seem to be endless for the Squid Game intellectual property (IP) that has left other streaming platforms green with envy. 

In China, Squid Game is a hit even though Netflix isn’t available in the country with millions watching the show through illegal distribution, according to various media outlets. 

The news prompted the South Korean ambassador to China to ask Chinese authorities to act against the piracy, AFP reported.

Squid Game’ fans recreating their own less deadly version of the game. — Picture courtesy of Netflix

Once an IP is released into the public sphere and exposed to the masses, the IP can become vulnerable to infringement or profiteering.  

Creators and owners can safeguard their intellectual property assets by exploring various means of protection.  

Henry Goh & Co provides IP services to diverse clients from all sectors of industry; be it sole proprietors and start-ups to small-medium enterprises and multinational companies.

The Malaysian firm is a recognised expert in patent, trademark, industrial design and copyright protection.

*This article is brought to you by Henry Goh & Co.


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