Gold Spike

Case Film

Presentation Image

CategoryF04. Social Behaviour & Cultural Insight
Idea Creation TBWA\SRI LANKA Colombo, SRI LANKA
Production 24 FRAMES Colombo, SRI LANKA


Name Company Position
Shyan Gershon TBWA\Sri Lanka Idea,Creative
Nathasoruban Sivapatham TBWA\Sri Lanka Creative
Subhash Pinnapola TBWA\Sri Lanka Creative
Renuka Marshall TBWA\Sri Lanka Managing Director
Shyan Gershon TBWA\Sri Lanka Idea,Creative
Shyan Gershon TBWA\Sri Lanka Idea,Creative
Buddika Rathnayake TBWA\Sri Lanka Creative, Designing
Chaminda Molligoda TBWA\Sri Lanka Writing
Sachithra Gunarathna TBWA\Sri Lanka Creative
Gayan Perera TBWA\Sri Lanka Client Servicing
Shermeel Gunaratne TBWA\Sri Lanka Client Servicing
Gordon White TBWA\Sri Lanka Client Servicing
Mohamed Ikram TBWA\Sri Lanka Production coordination
Saminda Rupasinghe TBWA\Sri Lanka Studio Manager
Mayura Sesath TBWA\Sri Lanka Graphic Designer
Lishanthi De Silva TBWA\Sri Lanka Content writing
Shalini Rupesinghe TBWA\Sri Lanka Strategy
Daham Weerawansa Mercury Public Relations PR Consultant
Sulochana Perera Mercury Public Relations PR Consultant
Harsha Karunarathna 24frames Video production
Shyan Gershon 24 Frames Direction
Chamath Hasanka 24 Frames Photo Direction
Charitha Attalage 24 Frames Audio
Thilina Rajapaksha 24 Frames Editing
Nipuna Vidarshana 24 Frames Graphics
Rivinu Amanda 24 Frames Graphics

Why is this work relevant for PR?

Sri Lanka’s human-elephant conflict is a national issue affecting rural Sri Lanka. The villagers in affected areas pray every morning and evening at a dedicated place just outside their houses, offering flowers to Buddha and burning incenses. Coincidentally these are also the times wild elephants are known to break in. The idea of the elephant repellent incense stick is rooted in this ritualistic practice of the villagers of rural Sri Lanka. The initiative helped Aura built a direct relationship with the public and earned tremendous publicity for the brand on online and conventional media, leading to enhanced brand image.


The human-elephant conflict in Sri Lanka claims the lives of approximately 70 humans and 300 elephants with around 3000 homes attacked each year. In addition each year 10 million US dollars-worth of crops are damaged by elephants which is detrimental to the poor farmer’s livelihood and to the country’s agricultural economy overall. The existing measures taken to prevent humans and elephants coming into contact have been ineffective. This has led to people using guns, poison, electrocution, and other harmful methods such as a ‘hakka patas’, which are tiny, round explosives to scare away elephants that result in the tragic death of the animal. These methods have drastically diminished the elephant population in Sri Lanka. Our challenge therefore was to find a solution that would keep both humans and elephants separate and safe and thereby elevate the status of Aura as a socially conscious brand in the public mind.

Describe the creative idea (20% of vote)

To find a solution, we examined the daily lifestyle of the villagers along with the characteristics of elephants and the times they break into villages. As a ritual the villagers pray every day in the morning and evening. Coincidently these were the times elephants break into villages. It is customary for the villagers to light incense sticks every time they pray. We thought these incense sticks could do more as it’s scientifically proven that elephants are mammals with a highly developed sense of smell. This idea transformed the ordinary incense stick into a powerful elephant repellent, combining five effective, non-toxic ingredients hated by elephants, namely ginger, lemon grass, citronella, palma rosa and patchouli. The new incense stick was 12 inches long with a 15.7mm circumference, which burns for an extended time of 5 ½ hours and emits the fragrance parallel to the ground for a minimum radius of 20 meters.

Describe the strategy (30% of vote)

The campaign was planned to reach all important stakeholder groups through mainstream media. As the project was unfolding in rural areas far from Colombo, it was planned to secure the attention of provincial reporters in those areas. A series of events was planned through the Wild Life Department to distribute products among the villagers and the reporters were invited to witness. The idea was to create an opportunity for provincial reporters to witness the product, villagers' enthusiasm and the government authority's support, positioning the product in a positive light. This was planned to provide them with quality news material which they can promptly report to their respective media outlets in Colombo. In the following weeks, major TV channels, Radio Channels and Newspapers across all languages carried the news story, giving much prominence. Online news media and social media platforms were quick to follow after the initial breaking of the news.

Describe the execution (20% of vote)

The distribution events were well attended by provincial reporters who were curious about the innovation. Their interaction with the wild life officers and villagers provided them with quality news material which was sent to Colombo offices immediately. Further content about the product were already in place, to be quickly shared with editors/news producers based in Colombo. In the weeks following distribution events on 14th July, 2019, 4 national TV Channels ran news features on the story followed by 4 radio channels. 17 of the national newspapers carried extensive articles. Online and social media platforms were quick to follow, as the news was reaching millions around the country. All media outlets that carried the news were national level, established media outlets. Over 80% of the country's national level print media covered the story, collective reach of which's estimated at over 3.4 million. Online exposures generated over 1.1 Million impressions in total.

List the results (30% of vote) – must include at least two of the following tiers:

Already baffled by the failure of existing methods to prevent elephants from causing damage, the villagers in affected areas were ecstatic as the product was introduced. The endorsement by the wild life officers was also crucial for this prompt acceptance by the villagers. Aura's social consciousness as manifested by their endeavor to find a solution to the much neglected issue earned tremendous respect from the villagers in affected areas. Sri Lanka's incense stick market is highly competitive with dozens of foreign and local brand vying for market share. The new product by Aura helped the brand connect directly with their end consumers in a meaningful way. Media coverage generated for the programme was 100% positive with all media praising Aura's attempt at finding a solution to a national problem through their expertise. 'An incense stick that aims to solve the human-elephant conflict' Daily Financial Times reported on 2nd August, 2019 and 'An Incense Stick that Saves Lives' Sunday Observer reported on 11th August 2019. All media outlets from electronic & print to online presented the story in the same tone, elevating Aura's brand image to an all -time high. Social media exposures for the project generated over 1.1 Million impressions in just 5 days while the print media reach was estimated at over 3.4 million.

Please tell us about the social behaviour and/or cultural insights that inspired your campaign

Sri Lanka is a devout nation, and as such villagers residing in areas riddled with the human elephant-conflict pray everyday, as a ritual, in the early morning and in the evening hoping for a peaceful existence. It is customary for villagers to light incense sticks every time they pray. It’s also scientifically proven that elephants are mammals with a highly developed sense of smell. The Aura Aliya Incense Stick been able to turn the ordinary incense stick into a powerful elephant repellent by creating an invisible barricade between humans and elephants.