Spikes Asia

Sign of Death

TBWA\SRI LANKA, Colombo / AIA / 2016

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AIA Insurance in Sri Lanka was largely perceived as a company that had little ties to its local market due to their multinational background. Our objective was to disprove this misconception with a limited budget. We found an opportunity to do so, during Poson, our largest religious gathering, where every year, people die of drowning in the ancient tank city of Anuradhapura which plays host to the festival. This is because the existing warning signs were unattractive and failed to grab the attention of the bathers, who would ignore them, excited to go bathing in the ancient tanks. Therefore, on a project scale targeting 500,000 festival-goers spread across the entire city, we covered all the hazardous bathing spots with our execution piece, which we made our warning sign.


The Sign of Death which was a ‘Gokkola’ or Coconut leaf barricade we used to mark off all the hazardous bathing spots around the ancient tanks which excite bathers to get into the water, ignoring unattractive warning signs. Here, the cultural significance of this design piece was that it was the traditional decoration used to adorn funerals in Sri Lanka that we turned into our warning sign! It was set up a few days before the festival’s start around tanks all over the city.

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