Colombo, Sri Lanka – YouLead, a program initiated by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) for better workforce in Sri Lanka, has released a new campaign made in collaboration with dentsu’s digital experience arm Isobar centered around success among the youth.

The campaign narrates the story of the mysterious pond ‘Kalumal Pokuna’ which allows people to magically transform their lives just by drinking from it, and how three teenagers found the hard path to the answer of succeeding in life through the depiction of forest creature voices disturbing their itinerary. YouLead’s campaign teaches its viewers that there are no shortcuts in life, and one must do the hard work in real life in order to succeed.

Furthermore, the campaign wanted to trigger conversations around the need to equip oneself with the necessary tools and knowledge to pursue success and prosperity. YouLead aims to empower the youth to engage in new-found opportunities for skill development such as career guidance and entrepreneurship training made available to today’s youth.

According to Mohenesh Chamith Buthgumwa, director at Isobar Sri Lanka, the campaign was organically successful through the use of astroturfing or guising itself as unsolicited participants in presenting an orchestrated marketing campaign.

“[The campaign] means being bold and ready to take calculated risks along the way. Taking cues from the Hollywood hype machine, we give fans little bits of content every few days. Each element of the promotional campaign has been designed to give it legitimacy, and it even made a group of local treasure hunters team up to go in search of the mythical ‘Kalumal Pokuna’,” Buthgumwa stated.

In a time where it is difficult to tap into digital native youth across rural and urban Sri Lanka, this campaign helped to create a one-of-kind storyline to deliver a timeless message.

“Storytelling is a powerful tool in the digital age. Sri Lankan youth are extremely social media savvy and engaged. We are excited to have launched this unique campaign. We believe that the story of Kalu Mal Pokuna will inspire youth to think outside the box and take a proactive role in deciding their future while pursuing their dreams,” commented Neela Marikkar, chairperson and managing director at Dentsu Grant Group.

The campaign is live on YouTube, and is available in both Sinhala and Tamil languages.

Manila, Philippines – E-commerce platform Shopee is set to launch #TatakPinoy (Filipino branded) Virtual Trade Fair, a virtual fair aiming to promote Filipino brands and micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs). 

The three-day event which is slated for February 19- 21, is in partnership with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), and sets the stage for shoppers to discover and purchase local delicacies and pasalubong items from Regions XII and IV-A. They can also anticipate products from Filipina-owned businesses, as Shopee and United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) team up to empower local female entrepreneurs.

Amid the lockdown, Shopee helped physical businesses to transition to digital through its Seller Masterclasses and has previously partnered with DTI, USAID, and local government units in the country for initiatives that helped Filipino entrepreneurs gain a basic understanding of e-commerce and digital marketing. 

DTI’s Bureau of Domestic Trade Promotion said in a statement, “The Department of Trade and Industry – Bureau of Domestic Trade Promotion is proud to be a partner for #TatakPinoy on Shopee. This initiative will connect thousands of consumers to more than a hundred MSMEs on one platform. We invite Filipinos from all over the country to patronize and take pride in products that are certified #TatakPinoy from the National Trade Fair Pop-up Store and Go Lokal! Shopee Mall.”

Meanwhile, Martin Yu, Shopee Philippines’ director, commented, “Local brands from microbusinesses to SMEs can all contribute to the Philippine economy’s growth. Considering that most local businesses still can’t promote their products outside of online platforms due to the pandemic, Shopee also wants to create the opportunity to showcase the best Filipino brands.”

During the event, exclusive discounts of up to 10% off on supporting Filipino brands such as Colourette, Vice Cosmetics, and Human Nature will be offered to shoppers.

Manila, Philippines – Shopee continues to be steadfast in its mission to bring more MSMEs online by offering new educational and enhancement tools and services in aiding MSMEs’ business activities to be more seamless and effective.

The newest announcement from Shopee is in response to the growing number of online merchants in their platform as physical stores close down during the pandemic. Shopee will initially show support for MSMEs by developing the Shopee Seller Education Hub, maintaining a robust digital infrastructure, and reinforcing partnerships with various organizations. 

Shopee’s tools announcement are the company’s commitment to expand its digital network to help retailers future-proof their businesses, embrace digitalization, and establish a successful online presence.

“The global situation has accelerated digital transformation, as more brands and MSMEs explore the opportunities of e-commerce to reach a wider audience. As the marketing landscape changes at a rapid pace, Shopee will continue to offer improved in-app features and initiatives to cater to the growing demand for e-commerce here in the Philippines,” said Martin Yu, director at Shopee Philippines.

The Shopee Seller Education Hub functions in the way that it hosts modules on how to cultivate an online presence and boost sales. Such ‘masterclasses’ include sharing how-tos on running effective campaigns and growing the business, proper guidelines on handling return and refund requests, managing listing assets, boosting sales using available marketing tools, and creating awareness of the target market through activity and business insights.

Furthermore, Shopee helps sellers maximize their online presence by offering their in-app features such as Shopee Live, which helps them engage more with customers through polls and games, and Shopee’s in-app digital wallet ShopeePay that allows sellers to withdraw their earnings conveniently.

“Shopee wants to make e-commerce accessible for everyone. Our goal is to evolve quickly to cater to our customers’ and sellers’ needs. Shopee continuously provides different initiatives that enable our retailers to go digital easily and quickly. It is a commitment that we take seriously, and we will continue to connect people and businesses, support MSMEs’ transition to a digital economy, and power the next wave of growth in the industry,” Yu added.

Shopee also revealed that it is strengthening its partnerships locally, teaming up with regional and provincial offices of the country’s Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), as well as with online sellers through various regions and provinces of the country, and with organizations such as the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), to which they provided more than 500 women entrepreneurs with integrated digital marketing training.