Dentsu Grant Group, Sri Lanka (the local Dentsu Aegis Network office and largest integrated communication group in the country) approached the popular local TV channel Swarnavahini on Live@8 (their main news bulletin) to counter this negativity by disrupting local Covid-19 news stories with stories of positivity and hope. Together, they launched ‘Happy News’, a special two-minute news segment that broadcasted stories of optimism and moments of joy; to bring a smile to the face of the viewers during their newscast. This local industry-first media innovation has been crafted to counterbalance the surge of negative stories related to the ongoing global pandemic and encourage Sri Lankans to share their positive moments at home, with the rest of the country.
“Being one of the leaders in the communications industry in the country, we decided to do our part,” said Neela Marikkar, Chairperson and MD, Dentsu Grant Group, “we wanted this to be an authentic segment to uplift people with some ‘happy moments’ during these dark times devoid of any commercialism. Swarnavahini also bought into this platform with enthusiasm and partnered us on this journey.”
Some of Sri Lanka’s biggest celebrities and influencers were featured on this two-minute segment which was aired for the first time on April 25th. Swarnavahini’s Live@8 news program averages a daily reach of over 1.6 million. Rarely shown to the public, an intimate, stripped back look into these personalities lives were featured on national television; their individual ‘take’ of how to keep positive during the lockdown; some writing songs of their experiences; others introducing their own family members who have shied away from the public – were unique ‘Happy News’ stories that were featured on this segment.
A total of eight (8) ‘Happy News’ segments have been aired during a span of 2 weeks. All segments were turned around in under 2 days each, produced from script to final film internally at the agency, who have been working from home since the 16th March 2020 as per the Sri Lankan pandemic regulations. All the team members worked remotely from their homes and were able to deliver live news TV segments under trying working conditions. Over 15 local artists, sporting celebrities and social influencers were engaged to share their uplifting stories of COVID-19 solidarity and featured on ‘Happy News’. Viewers were encouraged to send in their own videos and moments from home too, many that were incorporated into the segments that aired.
In the special Vesak day segment of ‘Happy News’ legendary Kumar Sangakkara, former Captain of the national team and the current President of the MCC asked the public to join him and his family in celebrating Vesak to pay homage and to pray for the protection of those people on the frontline to keep people safe by lighting four oil lamps—each dedicated with a blessing for key workers. One for the health workers, one for the tri-forces and police, the other for those who did delivery and essential food services and the final lamp for the health and wellbeing of citizens of Sri Lanka and all over the world.
The Dentsu Grant Group launched a multi-platform social campaign to support the news broadcast and to share Happy News stories as well as crowdsource content. Due to the nature of the project, the teams embarked on the digital campaign with very little media budget allocated to it and achieved some extraordinary results to date. On Facebook, Happy News generated over 1.2 Million user reach. And in the last 28 days, Happy News has engaged with over 80,000 users on multiple platforms. During Vesak, Kumar Sangakkara’s video received 17,000 views on YouTube and a staggering 160,000 views on Facebook.
To learn more about the ‘Happy News’ campaign, visit www.happynews.lk