By Cheranka Mendis
Sri Lanka holds great potential to become a destination for advertising films given the number of scenic locations and the lower cost of production comparatively to other countries in the region.
BBDO Lanka Managing Director Santosh Menon yesterday noted that the last campaign for Hutch India was shot in Colombo and that the country has potential to be marketed as a destination for advertising. “The country has great locations and is has good production facilities. The opportunity to make this an advertising film setting compared to that of India and Bangladesh is great.”
He noted that cost wise too, Sri Lanka has a comparative advantage. “Take the Mumbai beach and the Sri Lanka beach; not only is the latter better looking but could be easily accessible on a lower cost.” Awareness should be created to promote the country for the purpose.
Menon acknowledged that many global clients are now looking to put their money in a number of markets in the world. “Sri Lanka is, among other countries very much in the radar of these investor clients. Increasing investments from multinational brands will come here. There is a strong opportunity with global clients exploring the market.”
Menon was speaking at a press conference to announce the completion of one year of being a ‘force for good’ in Sri Lanka.
In Sri Lank to celebrate the first year of ‘work’ BBDO Proximity Chairman Chris Thomas acknowledged that the reason for India’s advertising industry to be more developed is a result of the Bollywood film industry in the country. The directorial talent and the larger scope it holds have driven the industry forward. He said. “We should try to access this market and learn from it.”
Thomas also noted that the structure of the industry is also changing at present with the rise of social media, impact of digital and the impact of online. “Industry is rejuvenating and growing with the massive complexity of media. The need for specialism in discipline is known important. The challenge now is to keep pace or ahead of the technological advances of the world.”
With a mantra of ‘the work, the work, the work’ BBDO Worldwide opened its first stand alone agency in Colombo on 1 August 2011. Opening its doors with clients Fonterra, P&G and Rize, BBDO Lanka within the year launched Asia’s first mechanical air cleaning hoarding, a hoarding that filters harmful content from the air, purify it and release it back to the environment and became Asia’s first carbon neutral advertising agency. The company also produced two advertisement films for the Mauritius market.
“We have demonstrated our ‘work’ by not only delivering effective communication material for clients but by also contributing to the environment,” Menon said.
BBDO Proximity Chairman Chris Thomas acknowledging the past year as a good year for the company stated that the ambition is not just to be a great agency in Sri Lanka but to become a world class agency that happens to be in Sri Lanka. “In this respect we believe talent and skill development is a key necessity. We are planning on an initiative to develop creative talent in the country by hosting a creative competition against a client’s brief.” The plan is to get five to six placements and to train them for five to six months. Two or three best performers will then be recruited for the agency.” The industry must work towards attracting what he calls the ‘unfair share of talent,’ Thomas said.