Visiting the Dalada Maligawa during Vesak is a sacred ritual that all Buddhists in Sri Lanka seek to perform. This year, thanks to an innovative initiative by one of the country’s best loved brands – Sunlight, over 1.1Million people, who could not be present in Kandy in person, were able to participate in the Maligawa’s Aloka Pooja via the simple gesture of a missed mobile call that then utilized to light a digital pahana on their behalf on Vesak day.
Sunlight’s initiative used a very user friendly and completely free mechanism of a missed call to a special assigned number. Callers then received an SMS with a number corresponding to a digital pahana which was lit on their behalf during the Aloka Poojawa that adorned the Dalada Maligawa on Vesak Poya day.
Sunlight had a small window of opportunity in which to tell people about this remarkable project, but the response they received was truly unprecedented. Commenting on the inspiration behind the initiative Saumya Perera, Senior Brand Manager Sunlight said “Sunlight has worked with the Dalada Maligawa for the last four years to bring people the Pahan Pooja. This year our discussions revealed that while we were doing our utmost to cater to those who could visit this holy site during Vesak; there were countless others who could not be there in person. In looking for ways to include them, we evolved the idea of the Aloka Poojawa. We had just five days to get our message out but the response was immediate; with over 1.1million people using the missed call mechanism to become part of the program”.
“The massive response has been truly humbling” says Siddharth Banerjee, Marketing Director Unilever Sri Lanka “Over 1.1million missed calls ,which is roughly 5% of the nation’s population is not just a phenomenal number, but is also a true reflection of the goodness of the Sri Lankan people, which is the basis for our ongoing Sunlight Sooriya Yathra campaign. Sunlight has been the people’s brand for more than 125 years; and as such we are delighted to have been able to give so many people a chance to be a part of the sacred Aloka Pooja”.
The participants were given the opportunity to share their comments on the campaign via the Dalada maligawa official facebook page. The campaign was greeted with enthusiasm where ‘likes’ and ‘shares’ for the initiative increased exponentially on a daily basis. While some, like Sisira Rajapakse (who dedicated his pahana to a fallen fellow soldier), took the opportunity to bless someone they knew and cared for; others like Saman Liyanage commended the campaign, posting “Thank you for the opportunity given to us, Sunlight. May you do many more activities of this nature”.
Acknowledging the effort it took to take the initiative from dream to reality, Saumya said “I would like to thank the staff and management of the Dalada Maligawa for their support and cooperation, and the teams from Dialog, Lowe and Group M for their dedication and hard work .Most of all though, I want to thank the Sri Lankan people; their goodness is Sunlight’s inspiration.”
In addition to the Aloka Pooja, Sunlight also continued the various pooja across the country in celebration of the most sacred day in the Buddhist calender over the Vesak weekend.