A few weeks ago I tried accessing gua.com.my and got a “under maintenance” message. Then I was later told that gua no longer exists and has now been rebranded “tonton extra”. My heart sank. Never thought I’d see the day when the brand goes under.
It was in 2007 that we first started building this portal from scratch. It began with a strategy by Media Prima and its then-GMD Dato Rahman Ahmad. I was tasked with looking into building a new brand in the lifestyle and entertainment space.
I worked on the concept and built the portal’s content, piece by piece; thinking of each and every part of it and how to make it different and compelling (I went for a similar concept to Entertainment Weekly with witty lists and good interviews). As we also started building the team (I was the only fulltime new media guy in the beginning), the idea started to turn into something we could launch.
We outsourced the design and programming and on the morning of September 11th, 2007, I went on The Breakfast Show together with our head designer Nic, and announced the arrival of gua.com.my (although we had in fact revealed it during an event for clients a month earlier).
We also had a big do at Maison the same day and history was made. It was really some of the best years of my working life; giving birth to and nurturing this baby to something that became the talk of the town. I learned a lot myself about brand-building, creating content for the digital platform and a whole lot of technical stuff that went behind something like this (we were mostly traditional media people).
The forum became popular quickly; and for this I have to thank that special group of loyal gua supporters; some of whom are still my friends to this day.
But of course the biggest win for us was the online drama content. “Kerana Karina” is still remembered till this day, and we continuously broke new grounds with content that pushed the boundaries, be it in drama, horror or even comedy.
Then there was also the fun of promoting gua.com.my and going on roadshows, including Jom Heboh. A year after gua’s launch too, we unleashed guamuzik.com.my, a music download portal ahead of its time. We even had a massive show, the “Guamuzik Supergig” at Bukit Jalil which was indeed a special milestone for all of us.
Indeed I was the guy who was always in a gua t-shirt, speaking at press conferences and talkshows (I appeared on MHI so many times that they ended up offering me to host it!) Together with an awesome team, we lived and breathed the brand. We were “small” in the context of the Media Prima group (especially in terms of revenue), but we brought a certain value to the company.
So yeah, it’s pretty sad, personally, that something else pops up when I type in gua.com.my. But at the very least I could really say that I truly had the time of my life…
(To my former team members, contributors and all those who had supported the brand from day one, I just want to say, Thank You from the bottom my heart)