Creative insights from winning work: Hand Hygiene

Messaging about more frequent and rigorous handwashing has become a familiar sight as we face the Coronavirus pandemic. Throughout the years we have seen creativity employed in a whole range of ways to develop a mixture of incentives, innovations, ambient pieces of work and animations that remind people of all ages about the need to wash their hands regularly.

Healthy Hands Chalk Sticks, 2018

Primary grade students in rural schools still use black-slate and chalk sticks to write with. After frequently wiping the slate with their bare hands, it was common for the chalk powder to get smeared all over their hands. So, Savlon introduced Savlon Healthy Hands Chalk Sticks – special chalk sticks infused with soap.

In a piece of work from Ogilvy Mumbai for ITC SAVLON in 2018, which won the Creative Effectiveness Grand Prix, Savlon targeted Indian schoolchildren with a playful concept that incentivised good hygiene habits by putting soap inside chalk sticks. Each time the children washed their hands, the chalk dust lathered up. It shows us the power that insightful product innovation can wield when trying to find a new angle on an evergreen message.

Healthy Hands was a highly effective piece of work and encouraged new hygiene habits amongst millions. This simple idea sparked conversation about hand washing with a reach of 5.1 million on Twitter and 4.3 million on Facebook in just the first four days. It reached 5,105,340 parents via parental blogs and micro-communities online, and the chalk sticks have helped induce the habit of hand washing with soap for more than 150,000 children, spanning 100 schools in India. This simple innovation helped Savlon to relaunch in the country as a major player in the health and hygiene category.

Hope Soap, 2014

How do you get kids to use more soap? Put a toy inside it. This delightful incentive to encourage children to wash their hands worked in a similar way to Savlon’s Chalk Sticks, associating a reward with good hygiene habits.

In South Africa, thousands die every year in disadvantaged areas from preventable diseases like typhoid, diarrhoea, pneumonia and cholera, due to lack of hygiene. Worst of all, the diseases affect the most vulnerable and innocent - the children. In Blikkiesdorp, an informal settlement in the Western Cape, South Africa, Safety Lab worked with Blikkiesdorp4hope, an accredited NGO organisation that works with the City of Cape Town. They wanted to increase awareness of hand hygiene and create a habit of hand washing among children in Blikkiesdorp, by turning soap into the medium: a see-through bar of soap with a small toy inside. The only way for kids to get to the toy is to use up the soap and simple instructions were printed on the back. Hope Soap encouraged a positive change in the behaviour of children in Blikkiesdorp, by instilling the habit of hand washing. As a result: there was a 75% reduction in respiratory infections and 70% reduction in illnesses. In the end, the children’s small reward was a toy, but South Africa’s big reward was hope for a healthier nation.

Germbusters, 2017

One of the major sources of entertainment for Indians are fairs and melas. However, they are also one of the major sources of illness for children. Over 80 million people attend different fairs and melas every year across the country and melas are a huge hit with kids – where they enjoy rides, games and food. Reckitt Benckiser's leading hygiene brand, Dettol, was quick to recognise the need to intervene and provide a solution that would keep children safe and away from preventable diseases such as diarrhoea.

They created a soapy solution with the power of Dettol Handwash and blew supersized bubbles near the food stalls. Every time the bubbles floated, kids burst them, getting their hands soapy in the process. The Dettol team were ready to help them wash their hands, thus disinfecting them before they ate. The team got over 400,000 children to wash hands before eating, protecting them from a potential bout of diarrhoea. The leading organisers invited Dettol to over 100 fairs in India and the activity got a major thumbs-up from health bodies. Additionally, there was a whopping 10% increase in penetration for Dettol's hand wash soap in the regions where the activity was carried out.

Anti-bacterial Packet, 2016

Lifebuoy’s research found that over $17 billion worth of Chinese RMB is exchanged during Chinese New Year using Red Packet: cash that is covered with over 10 million germs. Lifebuoy created the first Chinese New Year red packet made completely out of anti-bacterial soap. Parents used it to contain cash gifts for their children, and after children opened them they could use the packets to actually wash their hands – effectively killing germs at a crucial time. During the New Year period of 2016, Lifebuoy drew the national media’s attention with Red Packets that came with a healthy reminder: “When it’s time for the reunion dinner and the exchange of red packets, kids can wash their hands with the red packet itself.” Healthy hygiene rituals were formed, fulfilling the ultimate wish traditionally intended: to have a healthy, happy future.

To amplify the idea and the conversation it started, Lifebuoy partnered with three major social media platforms and KOLs. Lifebuoy also brought the story of its antibacterial red packets to life on 5500 LCD screen and 363 train station – both high traffic areas during the holiday season. To put the packets in the hands of consumers who need them most, Lifebuoy worked with five charitable distributors, handing out more than 500,000 across 800 stores. During this period, Lifebuoy drew massive national attention both online and off. Major news outlets picked up the story, and people rushed to weigh in on the conversation, which gained momentum beyond the launch period. As for the direct impact on the problem of health education in rural China, in 2015 the packets reduced the number of sick children in villages by 53%.

In 2016, the packets protected 14.7 million children from contagious diseases and helped them form healthy habits. Across all social channels, the brand saw enormous success and mass visibility, achieving 1.84 billion global media impressions.

Handle on Hygiene, 2017

The supermarket is the final battleground for all FMCG brands and Lifebuoy managed to stand out and change shopper behaviour at the moment of truth. In 2017, Lifebuoy developed the Handle on Hygiene, a first-of-its-kind device that attached to the shopping trolley handle itself. With one single swipe across the handle, the Handle on Hygiene was able to apply a thin layer of Lifebuoy hand sanitiser liquid, which killed 99.9% of germs in one go. They partnered with supermarket giants, Carrefour, in the Middle East, which saw approximately over 20,000 shoppers walk through their gates on a daily basis.

When shoppers reached the store, they were able to get hold of a unique trolley. Messaging on the handle gave clear direction on how to use the handle with the Lifebuoy claim ‘Kills 99.9% of germs’. Every shopper who engaged with the innovation found it protected them through their journey - as they touched food, swiped and then retouched the handle, their hands and the handle were completely re-sanitised. It saw a 48% engagement rate with the device amongst unprompted shoppers, sales increased for the brand by 53% and the piece of work was introduced to the world at the UN Sustainable Development Summit in New York, where Lifebuoy hosted a panel on the importance of hygiene education. Handle on Hygiene received over 100 million media impressions (source: CISION) across global health and news networks.

Putting itself in the position of its audience – chiefly the parents of small children who sit in the trolleys – Lifebuoy showed that the brand was acting with the best interests of its customers in mind.