Maliban, a leading biscuit manufacturer in Sri Lanka, launched a new inclusive campaign that features the first ever sign language TV commercial – solely aimed at the deaf and hard-of-hearing community.
Deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals have reached over 466 million, amounting to 5% of the global population. In Sri Lanka, the number exceeds 389,000. Yet, they’re still a demographic repeatedly overlooked by brands. Even though they are contributing citizens of society and everyday consumers, this marginalized community has not been addressed through any brand communication mediums in the nation’s past.
Maliban, along with creative agency TBWA\Sri Lanka, set out to change this and raise awareness of the importance of an inclusive society – by creating the country’s first sign language TV commercial; a commercial focused on communicating to the deaf and hard-ofhearing.
Maliban, whose brand promise is ‘Inspiring Goodness’, created one commercial that appealed to the masses, but also another version of the same commercial with the characters this time using the medium of sign language. It was first aired on the International Day of Sign Languages (Sept 23rd).
“We have always wanted to connect with people and talk to them with stories that move their hearts. We try to make brands relevant to everyone, but we have never spoken to those who have hearing difficulties,” said Renuka Marshall, managing director of TBWA\Sri Lanka. “So as a creative agency, we are doing what we can to talk to them on the International Day of Sign Languages, and drive a message of inclusivity.”
The silent film captured attention of viewers as it noticeably stood out in an advertising medium usually full of vibrant sound and music. It instantly gained mass appeal, as it was the first campaign to effectively communicate the brand message to a forgotten group of individuals while clearly highlighting the importance of creating an inclusive society where every individual has a voice.