Maitri Advertising Works wins Grand Prix at ABBY Awards 2024

Award won for a 5-minute long promotional film for the Netflix series ‘Sex Education’

Maitri Advertising Works won a grand prix in the Creative Agency of the year category at the ABBY awards given out during the just concluded Goafest 2024. It was the only independent agency, and among the only three recipients of the grand prix. 

This award was for a 5-minute long promotional film for the Netflix series ‘Sex Education’ featuring actress Shakeela who is viewed as a sex symbol in South India. Through the metaphor that is popularly used for physical intimacy, the film made use of the term driving school in a very literal sense to have the sex talk with a young couple. 

“After we’d created a multi-award-winning campaign to promote Kerala’s first superhero film ‘Minnal Murali’, our team approached Netflix proactively with an idea to promote the hit show ‘Sex Education’. It was a risky idea - tie up with Shakeela to propagate sex education,” recalled C Muthu from Maitri. A screen siren, sex symbol and B-movie queen of yesteryears, she was a force to be reckoned with, especially as she has turned activist and politician in recent years, he added. 

The central concept of the film, “Shakeela’s Driving School” is a reference to one of her infamous films which has also become a part of the street lingo when talking about sex, explained Francis Thomas, Group Creative Director of Maitri. “Our film took what used to be a derogatory term and turned it into one of education and empowerment. On its release, it was one of Netflix India’s best-performing assets and generated a huge buzz and sparked conversations across Kerala.”

Other than the grand prix, the agency also received 5 shortlists at this year's ABBY awards, having won a silver and a bronze on previous days on the fest. “We’re proud to be the first agency from Kerala to make a mark at India’s largest award show. It’s a clear indication of a shift towards recognising and creating exclusive and powerful content for a booming south economy,” said Muthu.