Seylan Bank PLC

The National Anthem as a Means to Social Harmony

Agency: Shift Integrated

One Meaning | One Emotion | One Anthem

One Meaning | One Emotion | One Anthem


What does it truly mean to celebrate National Day? This was the question Seylan Bank wanted to answer. In post-conflict Sri Lanka, language has been identified as essential for reconciliation. Sadly, this challenge has not been realized by most Sri Lankans. By breaking the unstated convention that brands need to be apolitical and neutral, we wanted to make people understand the importance of learning the National Languages - both Sinhala and Tamil - as first-step towards true national reconciliation, by focusing on the extremely sensitive topic of singing the National Anthem in both Sinhala and Tamil.

The two films feature two groups of children singing the Sri Lankan national anthem; one group in Sinhala (the language of the majority ethnic group) and the other in Tamil (the language of the minority ethnic group). It is revealed at the end 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.

“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/Head 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."

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 artistes, social activists and international journalists.

Further the campaign was awarded the Blue Dragon for the ‘Best in Country (Sri Lanka)’ and the Gold Dragon under the category, ‘Best Small Budget Campaign' at the 2023 Dragons of Asia awards in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

“The campaign’s success 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," said Selonica Perumal, Chief Executive Officer at Shift Integrated.

The campaign was ideated and created by Shift Integrated, while the launch on digital channels was handled by Shift Solutions and mainstream media roll-out run by Third Shift. Shift Integrated is an independent, fully-fledged creative agency based in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

This professional campaign titled 'The National Anthem as a Means to Social Harmony' was published in Sri Lanka in February, 2023. It was created for the brand: Seylan Bank PLC, by ad agency: Shift Integrated. This Digital, Film, and Print media campaign is related to the Finance industry and contains 3 media assets. It was submitted 2 months ago.


Client: Seylan Bank
Advertising Agency: Shift Integrated
Chief Executive Officer: Selonica Perumal
Chief Creative Officer: Sandun Lakmal
Chief Strategy Officer: Ikram Mohideen
Associate Group Head: Niroshan Shanthan
Senior Copywriter: Dilshi Thathsarani
Senior Brand Manager: Dilukshi Simon
Agency Producer: Gimhani Idam Mudalige
Video Production: Cherry Isle Productions
Producers: Mahinda Perera & Mehnaz Ilhamdeen
Audio Production: RedFox
Music Director: Pasan Liyanage
Singers: Miyesi Arana Music Academy & Swaralaya Shethra Music Academy


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