Grant McCann

Grant McCann is part of McCann Worldgroup, which operates 180 offices in more than 120 countries. We believe in ‘Truth Well Told’ - a principle that every brand should be founded on a powerful truth. It is a testament to our deep understanding of our clients, their needs, and ability to build long-term brand relationships.

With unrivalled experience and expertise, that spans the age of the Sri Lankan communications industry, we offer our clients through-the-line solutions that are not just innovative but also effective. Our multi-award winning work and team, have not just been recognized locally and globally. They have become the Sri Lankan cultural catalyst; instigating, orienting and moving the society forward.

We introduced the green stripe to Elephant House-one of the oldest brands- that stands to this day. We insisted that Food City was 'On Your Way Home' and it still is on your way home. We made SriLankan Airlines truly Sri Lankan. And added the red and white checkered-print to Kist. We are one of the pillars in helping eradicate polio in Sri Lanka, in allowing the broken war heroes a voice and in giving hundreds of abused Women a chance at a new life by finding shelter and rehabilitation. Our portfolio of feats are as long as our stay in the industry, and are as meaningful as the changes we have brought upon. But our greatest achievement will always be the connections we have founded and maintained with people- from all walks of life.

Response

For a young, independent agency, Response has earned some big accolades in just eight years.

We have been ranked as the 10th most effective independent agency in the world and 2nd in the Asia-Pacific region, according to The Effie Effectiveness Index 2013. Needless to say we are also the most effective independent agency in Sri Lanka. We have also made a niche for ourselves as the region’s top independent agency in telecommunications for our work on Etisalat, making it the 6th most effective brand in the category around the world. These are just some of our many achievements. And there’s more to come.

Because our success is founded on the unshakable belief in creating ideas that work in the market place. We don't specialize in ads, sales promotions, field marketing or PR. We simply do whatever it takes.

Management Team

NEELA MARIKKAR

CHAIRPERSON GRANT GROUP

Born and bred in the world of Advertising, Neela, is the second generation in the business. Starting out as an Art Director she then moved into executive management, now counting over 30 years in the industry - both in London and in Colombo. Having worked on a plethora of brands from giant Multi Nationals like Coco Cola, Nestle, Mastercard and Unilever to spearheading the relaunch of the National Carrier- Sri Lankan Airlines, she has inspired not only her own workforce but also countless others in the wider field of communications. In her personal capacity, she is passionately involved in social reforms; Instigating behavioural change through some of the most effective Public Service campaigns to date, that have addressed women and child health, HIV AIDS, child nutrition, child labour, abused women, raised crucial funds for ex-servicemen and helped mould the role of business in conflict and peace building.

Past President of the 4A’s, Charter President of the IAA, recipient of the HK McCann Award, Zonta Woman of Achievement, a member of Women Waging Peace, Core Member of the Commonwealth Business Women’s Initiative and a speaker at many international forums she was recently recognized among the 50 most powerful women in Sri Lanka. Under her leadership these award winning companies have today grown to be the biggest marketing communications group in the island. But her vision for the company and for this exciting new age in advertising remains more potent, and more optimistic than ever.

LAILA GUNESEKERA MARTENSTYN

Vice President Grant Group

When she was 17, Laila’s father ordered “Go, join advertising, I’ll speak to my friend Reggie and arrange it.” She meekly obeyed. That was the last meek move she ever made. She walked into Grants then, at Iceland Buildings, took the bull by the proverbial horns, embraced advertising tighter than most would embrace a lover and proceeded to place Grants and herself firmly on the map. Today, 26 years on, she looks back with pride…Innumerable SLIM awards, Golden Sumathi’s, Sizzling Chilli awards, Shiny Effies and pride of place - the 1000 voices award for Social Marketing, The Harrison K. McCann Award for Leadership Excellence and the Zonta Woman of Achievement Award for Advertising. She was the president of the 4A’s in a land mark year and is today on the board of the IAA.

This previous honours graduate of Psychology, Sociology, and English believes the Grant Group is the most awesome place in the world and that 67kg is ideal weight for a woman. She is Vice President of the Group.

RUSSELL MIRANDA

ABCDE – Art Based Creative Director (Executive)

ABCDE – Art Based Creative Director (Executive), wannabe cartoonist, amateur photographer, insomniac, and designer currently masquerading as a strategically driven creative director with over 20 years of experience since majoring in graphic design from JJ School of Art in Mumbai, India. Helped launch and brand-build the national airline, a global coffee brand, sausages, beer, jewellery, bathware, banking, telecom and social projects for Poppy Day, UNICEF, and Women in Need, to name a few. Worked in McCann Offices in Bangkok, Spain and New York. Awarded locally, internationally and still counting.

ALYNA HAJI OMAR

CEO Response Marketing

A Mother, wife, daughter, sister, recovering hypocrite, part optimist, part pessimist, Earth Horse '78, ex girlfriend, best friend, full time enthusiast, part time conspiracy theorist, writer, free thinker, incorrigible dreamer, innovator, smoker, CEO, qualified marketer, failed weight watcher, Paddy open water diver and one time back packer who hopes never to experience the eternal sunshine of a spotless mind.

Wanton boredom, pasta, mindless TV, red wine and gossip are (in no particular order) her top 5 indulgences.

On her Mac you will find? 15 years worth of brand strategies that have influenced change, inspired conversation, created culture and one or two that did squat. You'll also find campaigns that got people talking, got people thinking, got people laughing, won awards, got criticized and one or two that we all like to label 'what was she thinking!'

Her favorite thought; people who are crazy enough to think they can change things are the ones who usually do. Life takes crazy... and crazy can change the world.

PETER SOLOMON

Director Media

Driving media innovation as his key professional objective numbers, graphs, changing trends, media metrics, consumer behavior and buying patterns are some of what you will latch onto if you tap into Peter’s brain waves. His unmatched expertise in media planning, buying and implementation is testament to his association with the agency over the past7 years.

An MBA graduate from Cardiff Metropolitan University, Peter counts over 16 years experience in the field starting out at J.Walter Thompson with a colourful list of clients some of which were Coca-Cola, Dulux, Unilever and Kraft after which he moved to Phoenix O&M as Media Manager. His leadership role and strategic planning skills were further enhanced while at Mindshare BKK focusing on Media Systems.

While all of that sounds humdrum Peter pays close attention to eating healthy and working on his abs and likes to invest his free time in theatre, music, outdoor activity and reading. The passion to win and the ability to see a task through on time and in full is what drives him most.

Sajith Weerasinghe

Head of Strategy

All his life, he wanted to become a sailor and cross the seven seas, seeing the wonders of the world. But the unexpected happened, when Sajith accidentally bumped in to Sinbad the sailor, who in turn, told him to pursue a career in Advertising.

Sajith has a string of bad qualities, like getting bored easily, juggling with multiple tasks and picking on details. Apparently, all good components in the making of a good Strategic Planner. When he has absolutely nothing better to do, he pens his blog www.silentdogs.blogspot.com.

ROMESH FERNANDO

Group Finance Director

A highly qualified bean counter. With an FCA, FCMA and a MBA under his belt Romesh counts 17 years experience as the Finance Director of Grant Group. And although he came from a travel background as the Chief Accountant for the local operations of Thai Airways, today Romesh is considered the most experienced finance head in the ad industry with a wealth of knowledge and experience. His personal passion is Tennis. Apart from being the proud father of a daughter who is a national champion, Romesh has himself been a top player in the country. Currently he is one of the leading coaches in the industry holding a USPTR coaching qualification.

LEAH BAZALGETTE

Director Experiential

Leah began her career at Young Asia TV a South Asian network as a 15 year old Presenter and Production Assistant working after school who soon grew to become a Producer, Writer, Director and Presenter. After moving to UK for her degree in Broadcast Journalism, she worked as a Researcher at the CNN London Breaking News Desk and later as a Political and Military Correspondent for the Associated Press in Sri Lanka. She returned to UK where she worked for some of the top experiential agencies in London producing much talked about integrated campaigns including for global clients such as MTV, Esprit, Honda, Redbull, Sony BMG, GAP, Virgin, Google and the British Fashion Council.

More recently Leah worked for world-famous Harvey Goldsmith and his creative agency Ignite producing large scale events and creative strategies for global brands such as Barclaycard and NFL including the global re-brand and launch of Hero Honda into Hero Motor Group in London producing a huge televised show for 1,200 delegates at the O2 Centre with performances from Shahrukh Khan, AKON, Hrithik Roshan and Anushka Sharma.

Leah is currently the Co-Founder and Director of Sri Lanka's first international music festival, The Electric Peacock having brought Grammy Award Winning artists such as Roger Sanchez and Basement Jaxx.

TASHA MARIKKAR

Consultant Director Digital

Since graduating from the London School of Economics and Political Science in the UK in 2007, Tasha has worked in a number of high profile agencies including McCann Worldgroup, MRM Worldwide, RPM, Arnold KLP and finally the Grant Group. Her client roster is wide; working on global creative accounts for Nestle, Nokia and Microsoft as well as local clients like BSkyB (aka Sky Television and Network UK), Royal Bank of Scotland, Natwest and Sunstar. Her experience agency side has been varied from digital to experiential to direct marketing to traditional above the line.

Her private love is music, among them pioneering Sri Lanka's largest annual music festival, the Electric Peacock Festival. And her dream is to build on branded entertainment platforms and grow digital entertainment solutions.

L.K. Jayaratne

CEO RN Media

Jayaratne comes with many years of experience in the field of construction and administration having worked on big projects both in Sri Lanka and the Middle East. He joined the Grant Group on his return in 2000 to venture into the field of outdoor and retail advertising. His expertise covers Outdoor Advertising & Production, Human Resource Management, project implementation, Cost Control & Budgeting of Large Scale Construction Projects. By working with multinational organizations, he has learned several languages in addition to managerial and administrative skills as well as hands on production techniques.

As CEO of RN Media, he was responsible for the entire Outdoor Advertising Operations. He took a break from the Grant Group in 2008 when he joined one of the biggest signage factories in Bahrain as Production Manager. He enhanced his knowledge on all aspects of outdoor advertising and signage in a world class fabricating environment with exposure to new technology and innovation.

He rejoined RN Media in 2010 as General Manager to spearhead the entire Outdoor Advertising exploring new opportunities for brands.

M Muzamil

General Manager Juice

Muz has a never give up attitude. Passionate about what he does in a short span of time he turned a fledgling production company into an emerging powerhouse in AV production that includes animation, sound design and music video production. He has coaxed all the big names in direction to work with him on a multitude of local and international brands. Muz is a dynamic producer who embraces new technology, spearheading every aspect of Film production. With his strong tech background Muz's other key role as Head of IT ensures that the Grant Group with its 175 staff are wired every waking hour of the day.

Shafraz Farook

General Manager GPR

Shafraz has a mishmash of experience that covers print, electronic and online media, public relations, advertising, tourism development, aviation, publishing, design and photography in a career that spans over 16 years.

In the recent past Shafraz has been part of the core team that started Echelon Magazine, a new publication that broke tradition and combined long form journalism with thoughtful design and exceptional photography. He was the Creative Director and latterly the lead photographer for the magazine.

Previously he has been the Head of the Visit Sri Lanka year for the Tourism Promotions Bureau, SriLankan Airlines Media Liaison for the Middle East and the Deputy Editor of Lanka Business Online.

Darren Edirisinghe

General Manager Response

With an advertising & marketing career encompassing equal stays in Sri Lanka & the UAE, Darren has the requisite international experience to lead any brand. Most recently at LOWE LDB, his focus was primarily in the telecom industry advertising, wherein he worked closely with the locally dominant Dialog Axiata pertaining to its data, roaming & device businesses.

In the recent Prior to returning to work in Colombo in 2010, Darren was entrenched within the Dubai property market, working on the real estate business of his former agency with brands such as Gowelathy.com while also working in branding a number of new properties. Before that Darren also benefitted from a stint as the International Marketing Executive, allowing him to become familiar with much of the MENA economic hub.

Darren values consumer centric creative focus, insight driven & measurable creativity above all else. Creativity for the sake of Creativity is not for him.

Grant Media is one of the largest brand media spenders in the country, with a total exceeding 2 billion rupees. We run 5 AOR operations, in addition to a kaleidoscope of other successful accounts. Using our 55 year old legendary journey to good effect, we have pioneered strong central media partnerships with the top media resources to offer our clients ideal, timely and prolific media strategies that transform any problem into an opportunity.

We don’t just ride the wave, we thrive in it. Our out of the box thinking is not just a term of compulsion, it is what drives our momentum. We are always unearthing new ways to connect to consumers, then offer these insights as solutions to our clients.

We have the backing of one of the world’s largest Communication bodies – IPG MEDIABRANDS. A network that strongly believes ‘curiosity works’, and harbours every effort to infuse this conviction in to its DNA and its everyday. We too work with this same philosophy to understand new trends and different perspectives, from across the global landscape and our own market. Our proprietary tools, for instance, are constantly evolving with the knowledge, learning and experimentations, so our clients are exposed to the latest developments at all times.

Grant Media is the quintessential opinion harvester and leader, absorbing the media landscape not merely through technology and information, but also through priceless insight and human interactions.

RN Media

RN Media is Sri Lanka’s leading, location-based media solutions agency. We are where your consumer is right now, driving action and results. We employ a unique combination of scaling, pin-point targeting, engagement tools and creative tactics to achieve the desired effect for every cent you spend. Constantly finding and acquiring new media opportunities and building new rendezvous points, we are always on our feet and keen on innovation.

We were the first to introduce branded street name boards to Sri Lanka and street gantries in Colombo. We manage the largest video wall at Bandaranaike International Airport, and we develop and implement first-class visual mediums that stretches the media wingspan to traditionally unchartered skies and the understanding of consumer behavior to a new level.

GPR

Redefining Public Relations from just a press release to effective corporate communications with a strong media neutral approach, GPR Communications Consultancy today is one of the country’s foremost media and public relations companies.

The team at GPR continues to innovate communications strategies, designing solutions to cater to each brand and situation and formulating the best approach to reach a target group. While we do leverage traditional earned media in print we also include social media amplification plans and develop multimedia content.

GPR also has a strong events team that can organize events of varied scale be it multi-day partner conferences, product launches or small, personalized media roundtables. The team brings the same communication focus adopted in PR to each event, developing a cohesive message into the overall theme and outcome of the event.

Magnetic Digital

As the digital arm of the Grant Group, we constantly strive to stay ahead of the next big thing. Our true strength lies in the creating a digital strategy that stays true to the brand strategy and business objectives, while using the latest tools and emerging trends in the field of technology.

With our diverse set of clients, we work on lead generation, online media placements, brand awareness, social media content creation and maintenance, platform development, web design and development, games, apps, social listening and more.

Our clients include leaders in the education field, food and beverage, restaurants, the automobile industry, retail and more. We are strategically techy, and we make sure that the brands we work with use the right tools in the ever-changing digital landscape. We work closely with the group’s PR arm, leveraging its strengths in content development and communications to structure cohesive messages for our clients on the digital platform.

Juice

A boutique studio that offers cutting-edge animation and production services. Our work ranges from TVCs and corporate AVs to documentaries and online videos. Our fully-equipped recording studios and music suites provide production facilities for radio spots and jingles, and composition of original music.