High Five in association withThe Immortal Awards

High Five: Sri Lanka

London, UK
Creative director at Magic Mango, Andrew Ebell, shares five projects from Sri Lanka that he has especially connected with over the last few months

I am, and have always been, a sucker for a big idea. Research, technology and sometimes even final execution all take a backseat when compared to the magic of an idea, in my mind. And so, here’s my selection of five pieces of work that have really caught my eye over the past few months. I apologise in advance that most of these pieces don’t have English versions, but I’ll do my best to explain them...

Maliban Biscuits - 'Little Suran'

Agency: MullenLowe Sri Lanka
Production & Music: Saregama Productions

I love this piece simply because it challenges you to rethink everything you thought you knew. For context, this ad takes a song sung by almost every Sri Lankan at some point in their lives, and shines a light of the fact that its lyrics could be construed (in this day and age) to condone child labour. Using the same lyricist who penned the lyrics 50 years ago to rewrite the story to celebrate a carefree childhood was the perfect anecdote for a thoroughly enjoyable Children’s Day piece.

Kevilton - Renaming Golumadama Junction

Again, an extremely powerful and simple idea that challenges you to question everything that you’ve accepted in the past, if slightly let down by the lack of better execution. On the International Day of Sign Languages, Kevilton Sri Lanka reached out to the people of Sri Lanka with the simple request to challenge Google Maps to rename the 'Golumadama' (Deaf Orphanage) Junction to the less insulting name of Borupana Junction. As with the work I spoke about above, the beauty of this idea is that anyone who has passed this way referred to the junction as such, never before thinking twice about it.

Tokyo Super - 'Part of the Family'

Agency: Heensare
Production: Sky

I just love this ad because it’s such a beautiful and simple story, born of a true local insight. It's also the latest in a long line of emotional stories told by this brand. With this family having to wait to complete building their house, the bags and bags of cement have almost become a part of the family - used as a hiding place and eventually a safe haven for their dog to have puppies, leading to the children being unhappy when their parents are ready to build again, only to be told that their new home will have plenty of space for the whole family...two legged and four!

CBL Sera - 'Grand Theft Kottu'

Agency: Isobar
Production: Kaali Productions

What’s not to love about Sri Lanka’s first immersive eCommerce gaming experience? It sounds like an idea every adman (and adwoman) in the country has thrown up at some pitch brainstorm or the other - but they actually did it, and did it really well. By allowing customers to interact with the brand like never before, this super cool use of technology earned the brand - and the agency - serious cool points in my book. Recreating local monuments and characters was just the icing on the kottu.

Ansathu Oba - 'You Belong to Someone Else'

Production: Nimna Dewpura Films

This is my most left field choice for two reasons. Firstly, it’s not an ad. Secondly, I picked this almost purely on execution. Since music is universal, I’m not even going to try to translate the story, but so much emotion has been packed into one simple frame that it just blows my mind. The subtleties of the acting are just amazing, and overall, this production is among the best I have seen in this country.

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