Herat Gunaratne discovers how 'below the line' advertising works
Bringing it to the people
alive with music. A large truck, three vans and a multitude of sound
equipment are patrolling the bylanes of Orchard Watta.
dirty linen in public. Pix by M.A. Pushpakumara
this is not your everyday fair. Here is, surprisingly, an advertising
not your average advertising company," smiles Sandya Salgado,
the Chief Executive Officer at Ogilvy Outreach. "David Ogilvy
was the father of advertising and it was on his own initiative that
Ogilvy was born."
Mather (O and M) is the parent company of Ogilvy Outreach, which
celebrated three years in Sri Lanka recently. First established
as a division of Phoenix Advertising, Ogilvy Outreach has now elevated
itself to a subsidiary capacity.
35 years ago, advertising was an entirely different scenario,"
says Sandya, who counts 20 years experience in the field. "Television
and radio were the key methods of communication. But what was lacking
was that personal, individual touch. A campaign was made and handed
over to the station. It was played when necessary. The mass media
concept was born. But lifestyles have changed drastically since
then. It is a somewhat tedious process to watch television. So many
brands are being promoted simultaneously. And there is also the
majority who are not open to this kind of media."
The time had
come for the advertising companies to think and change.
line' advertising was directed towards mass media. But where 'above
the line' was dealing with quantitative services, a 'below the line'
generation that could deal with qualitative services to supplement
and complement all types of advertising was established. "When
dealing with mass media such as TV, radio and print advertising
there are limitations. But with 'below the line' advertising it
is different. Each ad goes straight to the consumer. There are no
limits, just extensive hours of research. It's difficult but it's
fun," Sandya explains.
was established to provide such a service. Advertising campaigns
concentrated in an individual area.
This new concept
in advertising soon became a hit. But there was a lot of background
research that had to be done in order to create a winning campaign.
"The main priority was not to be satisfied with a less than
comprehensive knowledge of the consumer. All areas had to be covered.
Say for example
that a certain product has to be marketed in Nittambuwa. Ogilvy
Outreach as Ogiluy Ruval has now been renamed has a number of district
coordinators who would then be called upon to complete the groundwork.
The consumer's lifestyle would be scrutinized. "Say you wished
to market your newspaper in Nittambuwa. After completing the initial
groundwork we'd most probably come to a few conclusions. Your target
market might travel to work by train. Then the ideal method of advertising
would be to set up news stands at the railway station or to put
up hoardings down the railway line."
that was erected in the railway station is a method of passive media.
Hoardings, billboards and banners all fall into this category. But
other aspects too play a significant role. The environmental concerns
of each sector, their cultural resources etc. make up the package.
the team's innovative campaigns was just completed recently. "A
marketer of a popular brand of soap approached us and asked us to
re-introduce the soap. What could we do? The soap had been around
for as long as most of us could remember. We sent gaily-decorated
water bowsers to areas where the public congregate and erected ten
washing stalls. Five for men, five for women. Anyone who wanted
to bathe was free to come in, buy a cake of soap and wash hassle
free! It was quite a hit."
A few miracles
too have taken place during the various ad campaigns. "Back
in 1999 Dehiaththakandiya was faced with a severe drought. Together
with the suppliers of tractors to the farmers of this area we organized
a 'Maha Shanthikarmaya'. We got down 'Kapumahathayas' from various
areas and had a full day affair praying for rain.
I got back
home the following morning only to be rudely jolted awake by a phone
ringing. It had rained. I'm not sure as to how it all came about,
but it was fantastic," Sandya smiles.
Back in Nittambuwa,
the campaign is in full swing. "Washing your dirty laundry
in public" provides a free washing service with spectators
given the added incentive to watch the procedure as it unfolds.
Games too are conducted.
Ogilvy Trincomalee representative gets caught up in the action.
A member of a youth group, Asanga has found that Ogilvy's activities
are the ideal forum for his talent. "We work like a close-knit
family. "As Sandya always says 'Go berserk - that's when you
are the most creative,'" smiles Asanga.
of the car sweep the spacious drive and stops at the front porch.
portly and courteous old man steps forward and opens the door. We
step out of the car and enter a brightly lit hallway. We greet our
host and hostess and mingle with the guests. The atmosphere is relaxed.
I am in the
village having an enjoyable time at the house of a neighbouring
estate. These are privately owned properties, where old residences
are beautifully maintained. The people keep to themselves, surrounded
by their retinue of trusted domestics.
In most of
these homes the staff are well trained. Feeding a great many people
is not a problem. They will move around expertly handing out drinks
and getting plates filled or cleared with minimal fuss.
have their own weekend house parties, so meetings between homesteads
are not a common occurrence. But people do keep in touch by phone
and whenever a problem occurs they could always be counted upon
Then why does
the village remain poor despite the folks on the other side of the
need labour and the people in the village need money. But poverty
abounds because of mistrust and unreliability. Experience has taught
private estates to be wary of taking unrecommended people into their
workforce, because of the fear of being robbed. The people do not
want to work for a monthly wage, because they're better off on a
daily pay, which also makes them eligible for handouts from the
State and other organizations.
which have to expend their surplus funds, are busy in the area at
present, seeking out beneficiaries through State machinery. The
result is mayhem in the village. As people rush towards the Grama
Sevaka's office or the Samurdhi Niyamaka in order to be eligible
for a loan for enterprise development. "Enterprise" to
many in the village is an "open sesame" to obtain a loan.
Will these loans be paid? Perhaps. It all depends on the debt collector.
He will visit weekly and make it very uncomfortable for the debtor.
So what does the debtor do? Borrow from another source. Thus poverty
becomes a debt trap. While market opportunities are lost and those
that have the means to enrich the community are left in a vaccum
for want of consolidated action.
on the diamond jubilee of S. Thomas' College, Gurutalawa
A time to recapture the dream
By Philips Duleepkumar
This year marks the Diamond Jubilee of S. Thomas' College,
Gurutalawa. The occasion is one which calls for introspection in search
of a justifiable reason for celebration. It is the past rather than
the present which provides it. It is in a dream recaptured, the dream
of the Hayman-Foster era of the college's history. But, it is more
than a celebration of nostalgic memories. It is an act of faith that
seeks to transform that dream whose reality was experienced by the
restricted number of an older group of Old Boys into a vision for
the future, and a dynamic for action.
the glorious twenty-odd years from 1942 to 1964 during which the
school earned the justifiable reputation of the best in the island.
This view echoes the valedictory message of Warden Buck to the boys
of S. Thomas' College then at Mutuwal over one hundred years ago.
"You belong to one of the best schools in the world, a School
(then barely 50 years old) with splendid traditions and a most honourable
name and I charge you to hand down those traditions and that name
to those who come after you untarnished and unimpaired...you have
learnt the best lessons in the world at S. Thomas' College, not
only English, the Classics and Mathematics, but true manliness and
courage, purity and all the things that make a man and a gentleman."
It is a mandate
for the old boys of the school as the true custodians of the school's
traditions in every age, and more so at this time when the splendid
traditions and most honourable name have been imperilled by a process
of socio-political change particularly affecting S. Thomas' College
in the forefront of the thinking of the educators in the public
school system. However this resulted in a licence to sadism of the
most opprobrious kind. Bishop Chapman, founder of S. Thomas' College
in 1851 while serving as an Assistant Master at Eton took strong
exception to the practices and excesses that prevailed and devoted
himself to improving the conditions of the boys. A significant change
for the better was the contributions of Thomas Arnold, the famous
Head Master of Rugby who pioneered the educational reforms of the
1830s. Thomas Hughes, a great admirer of Arnold followed with the
classic novel "Tom Brown's School Days" where he admirably
captured Arnold's delight in games and boyish high spirits and created
an enduring image of the Public School product.
thus conceived lay in the equal emphasis on sports into a body and
character building activity expressed in the Latin dictum Mens Sana
in Corpore Sano - A healthy body in a healthy mind. "But Public
Schools which expanded rapidly in the 1840s became increasingly
conscious of their role as the prime source of leadership for the
imperial cause and in preparing young men for their destiny as the
defenders of this heritage. This was embodied in the bon mot attributed
to the Duke of Wellington that the Battle of Waterloo was won on
the playing fields of Eton. It was left to Edward Thring, the celebrated
Headmaster of Uppingham Public School founded in 1584 and a contemporary
of Bishop Chapman at Eton to effect qualitative changes in the school
which set standards for public school education in England. It was
Thring who founded the Head Masters' Conference and at Upping opened
the first school gymnasium in England, introduced wood and metal
workshops, and provided a swimming pool!
then that Canon A.J. Foster, the chaplain non pareil of S. Thomas'
reverted to Edmund Thring in an end of year sermon he preached at
Gurutalawa. He set out Thring's aims of the ideal public school,
its structure and core values. The small school. The Small House.
The care of persons. The insistence of a standard of honour for
every member of the school from Head Master to the smallest of boys.
As for the
concept of manliness, Dr. Hayman provided it with a new dimension.
Taking advantage of the magnificent environment of the school set
in the beautiful farm gifted by Leslie de Saram; the whole Welimada
plateau became our extended playing field inviting us to adventure
and explore with its challenge and thrills. From the sleepy hamlet
of Gurutalawa to the mighty mountains that were its backdrop, through
its exciting jungle trails, to the grandeur of the Pattipola bluff,
the then serene majesty of Horton Plains, and the purple evening
shades of the Ohiya forest where dusk fell like a benediction in
some vast cathedral.
He had in mind
the now famous Gordonstoun School founded by Kurt Hahn which counts
Prince Philip and later his son Prince Charles as distinguished
alumni, "Public Schools have remarkable achievements to their
credit..." wrote Hahn. "Where they fail is in the protection
of adolescence; loyalties draw their vitality from an intact human
strength that is the basis of all devotion. The strength is generally
present in children as they come into public schools. It can survive
adolescence but only on one condition; if on the threshold of puberty,
health giving passions are stirred and subsequently sustained. The
passion for adventure and enterprise, the passion for craftsmanship
and building, the passion of writing, painting, music, the passion
of exploring and researching".
gave such passion a positive chance of absorbing and enthralling
the emotional strength of the growing boys in his care. And he added
this too. The motto of New College, Oxford, "Manners maketh
man" not merely courtesy, but the whole approach to life, which
for want of a more exact term he called the art of gracious living
and to a man of greatest humility this was not a matter of whether
you were rich or poor. Echoes of Warden Buck - all things that make
of a man; a gentleman.
the structure of a small school, (the number of boys evened out
at 40 odd in the earliest years, and was around 300 when Dr. Hayman
left. He himself hoped that it would not exceed 360). With its values
well in place it was the care and concern for every boy that invested
"Guru" with a very special quality. The warp and the woof
of our everyday life cannot be better expressed than in how Dr.
Hayman himself demonstrated that care and that concern.
He knew every
boy by name. His end of year staff meetings dwelt on every boy's
progress in work and behaviour. No Assistant Master dared leave
the campus till the staff meeting was over and his reports done.
He himself rarely left the Campus, and particularly over weekends
sought to arrange activities to keep the boys interested and occupied.
When he did leave the campus in between term school holidays he
toured the country taking films of the ruined cities and of wild
life in Yala and Wilpattu which he would show the boys in the next
term. Wherever possible he visited the homes of the boys to meet
their parents. If he had to sack a boy he would personally take
him home to his parents. He gave himself a minimum of 28 periods
in the time table. He considered himself first a teacher and realised
the need to interact with his wards where-ever possible.
He was on 24-hour
duty, and most masters followed his example, impelled by his dedication
and example and not under duress.
He waited for
the boys to return from matches away from school, greeted the bus,
inquired of how the game went, sat with the team over dinner and
listened to the details recalled. He took his fair share of directly
supervising the sports activities that were his specialty, swimming,
life saving and scouting. He introduced shramadana to the boys,
leading the way himself.
outward bound and gained great delight in inviting other school
teams for their holidays to Gurutalawa for special swimming and
life saving camps. He made it a point to give boys who were dismissed
from other schools a second chance at Gurutalawa. He looked upon
it as a challenge but it was also an extension of his care and concern,
which had a universal outreach.
was unique. "Matura it tece pol rupee le stampa," wrote
Ludovico Ariosto (1474-1533). Nature made him and then broke the
mould. No one could be so unimaginative as to expect his successors
to be like him. And yet he was and is a veritable template for headmasters
of boarding schools whether public, private or government anywhere
in the world. In Gurutalawa itself experience gets in the way of
Emerson's aphorism that an institution is the lengthened shadow
of one man. Rather it has been borne out that the influence of the
man was in inverse relationship to the length of the shadow. There
are palpable reasons for this at the micro level and this occasion
must not succumb to an acrimonious appraisal. Suffice it to say
that the broad sweep of social change engendered overtly in 1956,
undergirded as it was with a pernicious strand of mono culturalism,
was the principal macro cause. It confronted the values of a tradition
which was perceived to be alien and brought about a schizophrenic
loss of identity in Gurutalawa traumatized by its currents.
But for a time
the tide was stemmed and the malady was held at bay supported by
stalwart members of the staff of the Hayman-Foster era firstly by
the youthful and energetic Mr.Frank Jayasinghe (1965-68) and then
by Mr. E.L.Perera (1968-74) one of the great Thomian teachers of
the Warden De Saram era followed by an Old Thomian Mr. Lyn Illangakoon,
a gentleman to the manor-born who after three years as headmaster
was moved to Mount Lavinia as Warden in 1977.
The high water
mark was the brutal murder of Bala Gunasegaram on the morning of
October 29th, 1989 in the societal mayhem that was unleashed by
the JVP in the years 1988-1989, the very two years of his stewardship.
Bala was a disciplinarian and man of unimpeachable integrity. He
would not, could not, did not, compromise his values and his standards.
He had prepared for the daunting even awesome task ahead of him
by researching and reading every note and comment made by Dr. Hayman
when he was the Head from all the files and documents available
to him in the college office. One of his favourite quotations was
from Psalm 84: "I had rather be a door keeper in the house
of my God than dwell in the palaces of the wicked." The last
vestige of the shadow was effaced by the spitting bullets of a T-56.
In this Diamond
Jubilee year, 60 years after the first boys took their seats in
an improvised classroom on May 12th 1942 the tide has turned. The
wheel has come full circle. The English language has emerged as
the key language of a globalised world for communication, the dissemination
of knowledge, and in the information technology revolution, shorn
to its Sri Lankan detractors of its imperialist stigma. The phobia
of kaduwa and its associational shibboleths have been exorcised.
An enlightened government has given it its head as a driving force
in our educational system by reintroducing it as a medium of instruction.
No doubt this
Diamond Jubilee year is a defining moment in the history of STC
at Gurutalawa. The way back is the way forward. We have a mandate
to discharge, in the compelling exhortation of Warden Buck, inspired
by the example of Dr. Hayman and to the great teachers who worked
tirelessly in our heritage. We have also a new Chairman of the Board
of Governors in Bishop Duleep de Chickera, one time Chaplain and
Sub-Warden of Mt. Lavinia, and a new Headmaster in Mr. G.C.Mendis,
educationist who had taught previously both at Gurutalawa and at
the Prep School, Kollupitiya and is well acquainted with the Thomian
has presented itself to rehabilitate those traditions that have
earned the college its good name, to restore its image to the many
parents who seek the best for their children, and to do justice
to the Thomian hallmark. Otherwise our celebratory fund raising
dinner dance on November 16, 2002 will be yet another picnic on
the Gadarene Slopes.