In a country so small, Sri Lanka has been home to big international agencies such as JWT, McCann Erikson, Leo Burnett, TBWA/TAL and LOWE for more years than we could imagine. Some with local partnerships or franchisees and others with direct international links. Large agencies have large clients that execute international acclaimed work with a Sri Lankan insight. However, not all that is good is necessarily big. Smaller boutique agencies are coming up with smaller, elite teams focused more on quality than quantity. In between colourful arguments between creative and client servicing, adsoftheweek.com and arrack; great, creative ads are produced within this chaotic synergy.

Roar decided to celebrate the work of these creative agencies with six television commercials that have been produced over the years. Some are award winning, whilst others are brilliantly harness Sri Lankan insight to bring about a great ad.

Sri Lankan Airlines – Home Away from Home

This Ad showcases the hospitality of Sri Lankan Airlines. The attention to detail is fantastic from the iconic Sri Lankan chair to the traditional food served as well as the world famous Ceylon Tea.

Agency: Grant McCann Erickson

Ninja Mosquito Coils – Bodima Part 1

In 1998 cat calling a boy and asking him for mosquito coils appears to have worked. Mosquito coils are one of the most advertised items in Sri Lanka. Ninja’s market research indicated that consumers would like a coil that they could light before dinner and last until sunrise. Ninja satisfied the need with a coil that lasted 10 hours.

Agency: Unknown

Sri Lanka Eye Donation Society – Pass it on When You’re Done With It

The first Sri Lankan TVC to win Bronze at the Spikes and a Silver at the Effies in 2011. An ad that really hits home of being grateful for the sense of sight.

 Agency: Leo Burnett Sri Lanka

Lanka Bell – Stella

A great advertisement that takes the notion of “Set Wela” meaning that a group of people (normally men) have gotten together for an activity.

Agency: Unknown

Tokyo Cement – Ratne & Jayanthi

The tone, set and costume gives you an insight into a love affair of yesteryears, where girls were frowned upon flirting with boys. This action packed advertisement with good use of audio states that, just as love endures so does Tokyo Cement.

Agency: Grant McCann Erikson

Polo – Sri Romance Lanka

All of us have gone for a study date with a girl, armed with mints, for a subject we don’t like, only to have it interrupted by an uncle doing cartwheels! Not too sure about the last one though.

Agency: LOWE

Seylan Bank Money Transfer – Uncle Albert

Added by popular demand, a story of the rich uncle who was more than willing to sponsor you immediately during the time when a wedding ring costs you Rs. 50,000.

Agency: Unknown

Orange Barley – Mihiren Mathakaye Rande

A favourite drink among the more elder audiences, Orange Barley by Elephant House is showcased in this ad as something that is a part of your life. No matter when or where.

Agency: Unknown

The unique Sri Lankan insight, brought about sometimes with western adaptations, good production value, stellar casting and excellent execution is what makes our TV commercials stand out. Whilst traditional media is the go to for big budget advertisers, this list only reveals a fraction of the great advertising industry in Sri Lanka.

Feel free to leave a comment if you feel that we missed anything and links to other advertisements you think should be on this list.

Update: Added Orange Barley and Seylan Bank’s Uncle Albert!