Product / ServiceNEWSPAPER
CategoryB04. Publications & Brand collateral
Entrant Company TBWA\SRI LANKA Colombo, SRI LANKA
Advertising Agency TBWA\SRI LANKA Colombo, SRI LANKA
Media Agency OMD Colombo 6, SRI LANKA

Brief Explanation

To mark the dawn of the Sinhalese and Tamil New Year – a significant cultural festival celebrated by all Sinhalese and Tamils alike– ‘Mawbima’ challenged us to create a unique ad that would cause a significant change in social behavior and attitude towards racism, going beyond a simple wish for the New Year as corporate usually do. Our ad needed to have the potential to unite the Sinhalese and Tamil races highlighting the values of harmony synonymous with the festival.

The Brief

‘Mawbima’ is a Sinhala language national newspaper published by Ceylon Newspapers (Private) Limited in Sri Lanka. The target audience consists of the majority Sinhalese population. Its brand values entail courageous journalism through opposing racism. Accordingly, ‘Mawbima’ is renowned as a maverick in the local newspaper industry for tackling stories and social issues that most aren’t brave enough to tackle. Moreover, its company position has always been to encourage national unity and harmony through bringing together all Sri Lankans via the power of bold journalism.

How the final design was conceived

Although the Sinhala and Tamil New Year is common to both the majority Sinhalese and minority Tamils, culturally, their celebrations are very different to each other’s. However, one festive thing they have in common and consider a must is sweets. But these sweets are unique to each culture. Using this as our insight, the day before the New Year dawned, ‘Mawbima’ published a unique double-sided centerspread in the shape of a plate covering depicting a beautiful Sinhala design on one side, and a Tamil design on the reverse. At the bottom of each page were instructions, asking Sinhala citizens to offer a plate of their unique sweets covered with the ad to a Tamil household and vice versa. Accordingly, we informed the public of our unique food cover 4 days earlier, via a teaser campaign that covered TV, Press and Social Media channels Online, depicting uniquely Sinhala and Tamil sweets, suggestive of their similarity. Also, this piece was relevant to the product because Mawbima not only transformed a part of their product into the execution itself but also through it, built harmony and unity between the Sinhalese and Tamils staying true to their corporate beliefs of not promoting racism.

Indication of how successful the outcome was in the market

The newspaper’s perceptive gesture launched an unconscious movement amongst the Tamil and Sinhalese ethnic groups, whose act of sharing on a single day caused island-wide social change. TV stations picked up the story of the activation -and gave it national publicity. In the end, the newspaper reaffirmed to the entire nation why it’s fittingly named ‘Mawbima’ meaning ‘motherland’ in English, paving the path to a racism-free and a united nation with one simple and act that’ll be remembered for years to come.


Name Company Position
Subhash Pinnapola TBWA\Sri Lanaka Chief Creative Officer
Thilaka Nanayakkara TBWA\Sri Lanka Graphic Designer
Dilan Herath TBWA\Sri Lanka Creative Writer
Dananjaya Basnayake TBWA\Sri Lanka Illustrator
Sandaru Maharamba TBWA\Sri Lanka Illustrator
Buddhika Rodrigo TBWA\Sri Lanka Illustrator