A Specific Textual Analysis of the Itukama Commercial and Its Contribution to Society through the Concepts of 'Hero' and 'Nation' in relation to the Context of Sri Lanka’s Struggle against Battling COVID-19


  • S.V.W. Udugahapattuwa Faculty of Technology, University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Sri Lanka
  • R.M. Wijayawardhana Faculty of Humanities and Social Science, University of Ruhuna, Sri Lanka
  • G.A.R.C. Jayarathna University of Ruhuna, Sri Lanka
  • H.R.D.F.G.A. Weerakoon Open University of Sri Lanka




This study focusses on the Itukama commercial launched by the Itukama project under the Presidential Secretariat. The commercial was a campaign to raise funds for the Itukama COVID-19 Healthcare and the Social Security Fund. The campaign was considered a success and is still ongoing. The commercial appealed to a sense of duty and responsibility in the Nation's people by carefully narrating the building of a new hero of sorts, placing them side by side with the existing heroes. The study analyses the commercial and the elements of the campaign in order to identify the process of the creation of the/a hero(s), the necessity therein at the time, how it aided in the national agenda, and the choices of inclusion and exclusion by virtue of the use of theories of nation-building. The study uses the methodology of textual analysis thereby providing a close reading of the commercial and the campaign in relation to the said theories. Through the analysis, it was made evident that while the commercial and the campaign that followed crafted a new definition for the concept of ‘hero’ and located it within the context of the ‘nation’ it was lacking in its attempt towards inclusivity. The commercial is able to instil a feeling of family and duty however the symbols used are neutral, scratching only the surface of the concept of ‘inclusivity’.

Keywords: COVID-19, Hero, Nation, Representation, Sri Lankan Commercials, Visualisation