The leading agency for thought-provoking and innovative marketing solutions, Shift Integrated, shone brightly at the recently-held 2023 Dragons of Asia awards in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Since 2000, the Dragons of Asia have been recognising the very best in results-driven marketing communications, by agencies and clients, across all countries in Asia. The agency was awarded the Blue Dragon for the ‘Best in Country (Sri Lanka)’ for its Seylan Bank campaign, which encouraged Sri Lankans to sing the National Anthem in both Sinhala and Tamil on the 75th National Day. The execution was also awarded the Gold Dragon under the category, ‘Best Small Budget Campaign”. Shift Integrated’s idea for Seylan Bank is a continuation of the theme the agency developed for celebrating National Day, which began with the question “What does it truly mean, to celebrate National Day?” The award-winning idea consisted of two videos, released on 4th February, featuring two groups of children singing the Sri Lankan National Anthem – one group in Sinhala and the other in Tamil. The end of the videos reveal that the group that sang the Sinhala version are children whose mother tongue is Tamil, and the children that sang it in Tamil, are actually Sinhala-speaking children. Furthermore, the Tamil version of the National Anthem was published in leading national Sinhala-language newspapers, as a Sinhala transliteration, asking Sinhala speakers to learn the National Anthem in Tamil as well. Similarly, the Sinhala version was published in Tamil language newspapers, as a Tamil transliteration. The campaign was ideated and created by Shift Integrated, while the launch on digital channels was handled by Shift Solutions and mainstream media rollout run by Third Shift Media.
Commenting on the Dragons of Asia honour, Selonica Perumal, Chief Executive Officer at Shift Integrated said, “The campaign’s success at this prestigious event is a testament to our client, Seylan Bank’s courage to try something different, and also mirrors our agency’s philosophy to ensure effectiveness of our creative executions. At Shift Integrated, we consider our ultimate reward to be that the campaign has won the hearts and minds of the nation and created a positive perception of the brand. These awards are an affirmation of our purpose of ‘making work that works’, the ethos that has characterised our journey as we celebrate the 15th anniversary of our operations this year.”
“Expanding further on our concept for Seylan Bank on the occasion of the National Day to encourage all Sri Lankans to learn both Sinhala and Tamil to achieve harmony and unity, we took it a notch higher this year. This year’s National Day campaign for Seylan Bank was to directly address the sensitive issue of singing the national anthem in both Sinhala and Tamil, and our campaign depicted this idea in a very strong manner,” added Sandun Lakmal, Group Vice President and Chief Creative Officer at Shift Integrated.
Further, Asiri Abhayaratne, Assistant General Manager of Marketing and Sales at Seylan Bank PLC said, “In post-conflict Sri Lanka, language has been identified as essential for reconciliation. Sadly, this challenge has not been realized by most of us. By breaking the unstated convention that brands need to be apolitical and neutral, we went ahead with this initiative because we, as the bank with a heart, believe that the diverse ethnic backgrounds that make up our culture is Sri Lanka’s biggest strength as we navigate the biggest crisis in our history. We appreciate the tireless effort and creativity by Shift Integrated to help us communicate this message to the public. I would like to congratulate the entire team from Seylan Bank and Shift for walking away with honours at the prestigious Dragons of Asia 2023 awards.”
The campaign achieved its objective as it generated significant social conversations around harmony, unity and the need for learning both languages as well as improving Seylan Bank’s brand equity. The campaign has received praise from the business community, artistes, social activists and international journalists. Shift Integrated is an independent, fully-fledged creative agency based in Colombo, Sri Lanka.
Image 1 – The Agency Team accepting the award at Dragons of Asia