Machine gun ad wins global award for Sri Lankan firm – DFP


Sri Lankan advertising firm Cynthesis Media Solutions Lanka Ltd has won the internationally coveted Diamond Pencil advertising award. The award is given every four years to firms producing a critically acclaimed campaign that makes the client a market leader. In their award citation the judges described Cynthesis Media’s campaign that made the Bren MK C Sri Lanka’s best selling consumer machine gun as “epitomising the high standards for client ROI while expanding conceptual boundaries and societal impact of advertising”. The award was accepted by Cynthesis Media’s creative director and owner Col. Goliath White (Ret). in a glittering ceremony at Mt.Lavania’s prestigious Hotel Casserole.

According to veteran advertising industry analyst D.D Romeo, the award is well earned.

Cynthesis Media revolutionised the way consumer machine guns are marketed in Sri Lanka. It also forever changed the landscape of the country’s civilian weapons market.

The obvious winner is Lanka Armament Works whose one time declining Bren machine gun brand is now the country’s most profitable consumer weapon. In an in-depth analysis titled “Long arm of the LAW”, marketing guru Prof A.K. Writinghouse maps out how LAW has secured strategic marketing high ground with the Bren brand. “They couldn’t have done this without Bren MK C campaign” says Prof. Writinghouse.

We now have a machine gun fully embraced by brand contentious New Urban Middle Class (NUMC) as well as Traditional Middle Class (TMC) consumers. The key conceptual success of the overall campaign has been the convincing separation of machine guns from violence. Which in turn rests on a carefully researched pricing strategy that delivers a reliable product at an affordable price.

Yet Bren has not alienated its traditional customer base – trishaw, and private bus operators who need a low cost easy to use portable machine gun. In fact the Bren MK C has further expanded its core market base into the trucking industry. Truckers have been abandoning the traditional belt fed M60 in droves. A hasty attempt by local M60 manufacturer Ravana Defence Industries to introduce a magazine fed version was a catastrophic failure leading to embarrassing product recalls.

Col. White, credits to LAW’s holistic approach to all aspects of product life cycle as a critical ingredient of the brand’s success. His claims are backed up by most arms industry analysts. The Bren MK C has been redesigned from scratch. Gone is the bulky WW2 weapon. Heavy metal parts have been replaced by nano carbon fibre. The move reduced the MK C’s overall weight by nearly 71.4%. The new materials also made the MK C easier to maintain by reducing wear and tear. Despite the lighter leaner look, the redesign kept the Bren’s ironic banana clip magazine (made of clear plastic to show remaining ammunition).

Such user centric details made the product very popular with rural consumers – a group significantly extended by Cynthesis Media’s off-line and mobile phone social marketing campaign. The dominant example of this outreach campaign the phenomenally successful Sari/”cloth and jacket” compatible ammunition pouch range created by a collaboration of fashion designers and usability experts. As a direct consequence, LAW has expanded into the rural female demographic. This group which traditional resisted penetration by the machine gun industry, has swollen LAW’s customer base by 36%.

On the opposite side of the social spectrum, the use of customisable accessories has elevated a working class weapon into a chic medium of self express for young NUMCs. Designer carrying straps and built in iPhone holders are the most prominent elements of this accessories driven campaign.

Linking these market segments is LAW’s franchise of local gunsmiths and ammunition manufacturers. This network provides maintenance, consumers, and customised accessories at affordable prices. Bren MK C’s radical variable calibre firing system alone has caused a revolution in Sri Lanka’s ammunition industry.

On the corporate social responsibility front, LAW’s gun safety campaign for school kids has already won several awards. Run by Vikalpana Active – Cynthesis Media’s activation arm of – this campaign has firmly cemented the Bren Brand in the minds of the next generation of consumers. At the visible high end of the market, limited edition gem encrusted Brens designed by Rathnapura’s best jewellers have snapped up by Sri Lanka’s High Net Worth Individuals (HNWIs) at record prices.

The award has severely rattled the established players in Sri Lanka’s advertising industry. A situation compounded by the expansion of Cynthesis Media’s client lists to include high profile global clients such as Weyland-Yutani and Cyberdine Systems. Yet Cynthesis Media has managed to stay small. Its focus still remains firmly on local clients and establishing itself of a quality Sri Lankan agency. The electoral success of its latest client, the Lanka Libertarian Party’s Velupillai Wijeweera is seen by many as just the beginning.

–Dissociated Fake Press–

Um, incase you haven’t got it by now the above is a totally fake “news” item dictated to me by the voices in my head). Can’t say what a relief it is to get it out of my head.

15 comments

    • Good to hear you had a chuckle over it. The see-through-mag isn’t my idea – the Steyr Aug family of rifles have transparent magazines and was the source of the “feature”.

      Thank you for the newground link. Had a bit of fun playing round with it. They didn’t have a magazine similar to that of the Bren which fits on top of the gun as opposed to the bottom.

      Happy you you got the Weyland Yutani reference🙂

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  1. The best thing I’ve read online in ages. Really high quality satire. Glad you’re giving some space for those voices.

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  2. I actually googled Lanka Armament Works at first (with some admiration of making such a fantastic (yet unheard of) campaign work!)

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    • 😆 you’ve made the day for one of the many voices in my head😀 Happy to hear you liked the post. Curious to find out how you came across the post.

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  3. You can’t have everything! Enjoy what you have and grumble, fight, struggle with the rest.

    I’m coming to a stage in my career where I can really start earning a silly amount of money for doing less and less – this after struggling for years and years underpaid and over qualified. But I’m about to abandon it and head back to Sri Lanka because I too think that SL is a very wonderful country.

    I also think it’s not doing too badly considering we have only been allowed to govern ourselves for about 60 years and have been actively unindustrialised for a century or so beforehand.

    Today I heard Kofi Annan on the radio discussing the Mozambique civil war after it gained independence from Portugal, lasted for 20 years and 900,000 dead. If you look around the world you will variations of this theme of decolonization, civil war followed by political corruption. I think SL is going through the process a lot better than most – although I wish no group of people should go through this at all.

    As it has been said neither colonialism nor the fight for independence prepares a group of people to govern themselves.

    I have a lot more faith in the people in SL than I have in the SL people aboard, specifically in the UK – what I have heard from the SL people here amounts to genocidal racism and I feel that the security of SL is threatened more from people outside than inside.

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      • Cerno, my post above isn’t such a non sequitur as it appears!

        I’m swear I saw a post on this thread saying that SL is a beautiful country but our politicians are all corrupt or similar. My reply was for regarding that post, although that seems to have gone. But I can’t be sure whether it was my browser acting up – as it does when I’m at work – or my mind playing tricks!

        I’m glad we agree though!

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