Seylan Bank PLC

What Does It Take To Celebrate National Day?

Agencies: Shift Integrated Third Shift Media

Let's learn both national languages ​​to make the National Day meaningful!

Let's learn both national languages ​​to make the National Day meaningful!

Static post - Sinhala language paragraph with intermittent Tamil words which are transliterations of the Sinhala words.

Static post - Tamil language paragraph with intermittent Sinhala words which are transliterations of the Tamil words.

Print Ad


With the second highest media spends and undifferentiated nature, brand performance in the banking category depends on SOV. Seylan Bank cannot match the exorbitant budgets of the big banks and needs to utilize every opportunity - even hallmark days, creatively to drive brand salience and equity - both of which had remained stagnant over many years.

Given pandemic-fatigue and economic challenges in, Seylan Bank could have just added another “wishing ad” to the clutter about celebrating patriotism and independence. But for the 73rd National Day in Sri Lanka, Seylan Bank wanted to send a different message on what it truly means to celebrate National Day.

Due to political and social sensitivities that surround National Day, brands prefer to play it safe. Not even the government is brave enough to call 4th of February, 'National Day' - as constitutionally mandated. But continue to call it 'Independence Day'. Nobody wanted to truly reflect on what it means to celebrate a 'national day'. For the 73rd National Day in Sri Lanka, Seylan Bank wanted to send a different message on what unity should be.

In post-conflict Sri Lanka, language has been identified as essential for reconciliation. “Teaching Tamil to Sinhala children and Sinhala to Tamil children will result in greater understanding of each other’s cultures.” – reads the Lessons Learned and Reconciliation Commission. To a great extent this challenge has not been realized by most Sri Lankans.

People needed to be reminded on the importance of learning both national languages equally. But as people go along the struggles of everyday life, this message is not something that will easily resonate with them. We needed to demonstrate in our communications how limited they are in not knowing the other national language.

Idea: Make people understand the importance of learning the National Languages (Sinhala and Tamil) - as first-step towards true national reconciliation.

The main execution were digital films which encapsulated the big idea.

The first film depicted 2 children, one Sinhalese and the other Tamil reading a verse together. The verse was, in the first video, a Sinhalese text, but written using a mix of both Sinhala words and Tamil transliterations of the Sinhala words – so that in order to read the verse completely, you will need to be able to read and understand both languages.

In the second video, we had a Tamil verse with a mix of Tamil of words and Sinhala transliterations of the Tamil words – which similarly required our reader to be comfortable in both languages to read the verse.

The idea was extended as print ads and social media posts asking people to read the verse, and help those that couldn’t.

This professional campaign titled 'What Does It Take To Celebrate National Day?' was published in Sri Lanka in February, 2021. It was created for the brand: Seylan Bank PLC, by ad agencies: Shift Integrated and Third Shift Media. This Digital, Film, and Print media campaign is related to the Finance industry and contains 5 media assets. It was submitted 4 days ago.


Client: Seylan Bank
Advertising Agency: Shift Integrated

Chief Creative Officer: Sandun Lakmal
Manager - Brand Planning: Ikram Mohideen
Brand Director: Keshia Van Gramberg
Senior Account Executive: Ikhlas Shafeek
Associate Creative Group Head: Niroshan Shanthan
Associate Creative Group Head: Sahil Gunesekere
Senior Sinhala Copy Writer: Dilshi Thathsarani
Operations Manager: Krishan Yapa Bandara

Video Production: Cherry Isle Productions
Director: Manjula Wijerathna
Producer: Mahinda Premajeewa
Director of Photography: Shirly Sandaruwan


Sign up for our newsletter

Don't miss out. Receive our free weekly newsletter to learn about the best creative work from all around the globe. We're keeping your email safe and confidential.