SriLankan Airlines, the national carrier of Sri Lanka and a member of the oneworld alliance, reaffirming the global appeal of its marketing communication endeavours, bagged a gold award at the PATA Gold Awards 2020.
Accordingly, the national carrier was among the 20 winners announced recently at the virtual PATA Travel Mart 2020. SriLankan Airlines was awarded the title ‘Marketing Carrier’ for its Pan India campaign – Next Door Neighbor and Serendipity Next Door.
SriLankan Airlines Chief Executive Officer Vipula Gunatilleka said, “Winning an award is a reason for celebration and an affirmation that we are heading in the right direction. Receiving this coveted title from PATA, specially under the prevailing circumstances, gives us hope that we are capable of facing the challenging times ahead and our remedial communication content aiming to garner long-term, universal appeal can have a strong impact on our business recovery.”
PATA CEO Dr. Mario Hardy said, “The winners of the PATA Gold Awards set industry standards for excellence and innovation and provides the association with the perfect opportunity to recognise and reward the very best the Asia Pacific travel industry has to offer.”
SriLankan Airlines General Manager Marketing Saminda Perera said, “We are delighted to receive this prestigious title at the virtual PATA Travel Mart 2020 and it is truly inspiring that our efforts are continually rewarded in this manner. This is a result of an extremely satisfying team effort and I take this opportunity to thank the celebrities who were part of these creations, the management which has been supportive of our endeavours, my team, and our creative agencies J. Walter Thompson and Leo Burnett, without whom this will never be a possibility.”
The winning entry of the ‘Marketing Carrier’ category, ‘Next door neighbors’ is a visual representation of multi-faceted attractions of Sri Lanka primarily targeting holidaymakers of India, with the underlying message that one does not have to look very far for exciting or serene getaways when Sri Lanka is right next door.
India being the Airline’s single largest market, it was vital that effective marketing campaigns were executed to retain the country’s appeal among the Indian travellers in the aftermath of the Easter Sunday tragedy which resulted in a massive 80% reduction of tourist arrivals in the country. Going by the rationale that in Sri Lanka, a traveller has the privilege of experiencing an international destination with the convenience of a domestic trip as opposed to travelling within India, the campaign reached out to the discerning Indian traveller through a 360 degree creative execution unfolding through a variety of media such as radio, cinema, digital, travel publications and outdoor advertising.
SriLankan Airlines’ brand videos – ‘Serendipity Next Door’ and ‘Ode to Paradise’ created ripples across social media platforms for its virality. ‘Ode to Paradise’ is a revival of the well-loved ‘Blue Waters’ song of the Air Lanka fame, which praises the island beauty of Sri Lanka, through the eyes of world-renowned Sri Lankan celebrities. ‘Serendipity Next Door’ is an extension of ‘Ode to Paradise’ specially crafted to appeal to the Indian audience. The two videos recorded a combined number of 73 million views on Facebook and 2.2 million views on Youtube, whilst the latter became the first Sri Lankan brand video to cross one million views within 11 hours and five million mark in two days.
This is the third time that the national carrier made its mark at PATA, having received gold awards on two previous occasions in 2007 and 2019.
The PATA Gold Awards 2020 attracted 121 entries from 62 organisations and individuals worldwide. The winners were selected by an independent judging committee of 16 personalities from various destinations.