Going for the Gold

Winning a medal is an achievement in itself but winning a Gold medal is something that speaks volumes of that person and deserves recognition. And when the winner of that Gold medal is Sri Lankan we need to applaud it as a nation.

Hiruni Shermila Mendis and Lakshitha Wayan Wijesinghe, both employees of Etisalat Sri Lanka, won Gold at the Young Lions Marketers Competition at the 60th annual Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity recently.

Hiruni and Lakshitha developed the winning brief “Empower Another YOU” to win the Gold Lion — Sri Lanka’s first ever Gold Lion.

Speaking to The Sunday Leader, Lakshita said that Hiruni and himself, both who had been at Etisalat for five years, applied for the competition together and came up with the winning brief.

“We participated in the National and later the International segment of the competition. We had to come up with a case study and it had to be something new and innovative,” Lakshitha said.

Their brief had to support the ‘Room to Read’ campaign which envisions a world in which all children can pursue a quality education, reach their full potential and contribute to their community and the world.FD1_3067

So they created a product called “The Power Lady” recharge card (in short Plady Cards) which can be used to refresh any Etisalat customer’s account with credit.

The product looked at key factors like the Revenue gained from the card and how much of profit the company could allocate for the Room to Read’s program.  The target audience for the card range was solely women.

“We wanted to ensure the product was a big win in a business sense, practically and on sustainability. We used a lot of images and less text in our five minute presentation,” Lakshitha said.

In the end the judges were moves to tears by their presentation and from the 23 countries and 46 participants, the Sri Lankan duo won the Gold.

“I wanted to win something but to win the Gold was something we are both really proud of as Sri Lankans. A very few people at the event knew about Sri Lanka but now they know very well who we Sri Lankans are. They know we are winners,” he said.

Lakshitha says Etisalat Sri Lanka has given the two of them their fullest support and are also keen on the product which was presented for the competition.

An engineer before taking up marketing, Lakshitha says he is keen to pass on his knowledge from the competition to others who would also like to give a shot at winning a medal next time.

“We want Sri Lanka to win. We want to put Sri Lanka on the world map and we have a wealth of knowledge to share with others who would like to be like us,” he said.

The Dominican Republic won the Silver and Canada the Vronze medal and Lakshitha says participants from both countries had huge support at the event while Sri Lanka had none.

He says Sri Lanka should get more involved in events like this and support young people who represent their country.

Report by Easwaran Rutnam

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