As cricket fever tightens its grip on the subcontinent, Sri Lanka’s wielders of the willow are to be given a morale booster by CEAT, the country’s leading tyre brand, which is rolling out an innovative activity to reignite the fervour and unite fans behind the island’s un-fancied team.
Targeted at the ICC World Twenty20 championship which begins in India on 8 March, the ‘CEAT Jaya ve Sri Lanka’ campaign involves the deployment of a truck fitted with a large touch-screen LED panel and the technology to digitally capture the well wishes of thousands of people as it travels around the country for 25 days.
The truck is accompanied by a second fitted with a large LED screen which will show past matches when the ‘signature truck’ stops at locations where people gather at 51 cities and towns across the country. People who would like to wish the Sri Lankan team simply enter their names and mobile phone numbers to have their photographs captured on the digital screen. As the wishes accumulate, the faces of the well-wishers form a collage that takes the shape of Sri Lanka.
The colourful and sophisticated mobile unit was flagged off at the Sports Ministry by a distinguished group of senior officials and sportsmen led by Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera, signalling the degree of high-powered support to the initiative by CEAT Sri Lanka.
Joining the Minister to post their wishes on the screen were parliamentarian Harshana Rajakaruna, Senior DIG of Police Pujitha Jayasundara, former Sri Lankan athlete Sugath Thilakarathne, the 100m Gold Medallist at the 2016 South Asian Games Himesh Eshan, cricketers Jehan Mubarak, Angelo Perera and Farveez Maharoof and Sri Lanka Cricket officials Ashley De Silva, Mohan De Silva and Shammi Silva.
“Supporting sports and the aspirations of Sri Lankans is an important element of our commitment to the country,” CEAT Sri Lanka Managing Director and CEO Vijay Gambhire said. “As the supplier of approximately half the country’s tyre requirements, CEAT Sri Lanka plays an important role in the lives the country’s citizens in all social segments. We are therefore delighted to be able to engage with the cricket-loving masses through this campaign.”
The ‘CEAT Jaya ve Sri Lanka’ campaign trucks will travel a route that encompasses north and south, east and west in their 25-day journey that will include stops in locations as distant as Jaffna, Kilinochchi, Trincomalee, Embilipitiya and Ambalantota, and as diverse as Lunugamvehera, Thanamalvila, Moneragala, Nuwara Eliya, Bandarawela, Puttalam and Aralaganwila, as they seek to reach people from all walks of life across geographical, ethnic and social boundaries.
At the conclusion of the road trip, the campaign trucks are to be used for live telecasts in Negombo and Galle, of Sri Lanka’s WorldT20 preliminary round matches against West Indies and England. The map of Sri Lanka comprising of the faces of the thousands of people that wished the team will be displayed on the truck and posted on social media, the company said.
A global tyre brand present in 110 countries and now headquartered in India, CEAT is an acronym that stands for Cavi Electrici Affini Torino, or Electrical Cables & Allied Products of Turin, with origins that date back to 1924 in Italy. A National Business Excellence Award winner in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2015 and a National Quality Award winner in the ‘Manufacturing – Large’ category in 2013, CEAT – Sri Lanka is a successful Indo-Sri Lanka joint venture between the RPG Group of India and Kelani Tyre Sri Lanka.
CEAT Sri Lanka is also one of the biggest corporate supporters of motor racing in Sri Lanka.