Jun 19, 2014

Case Study: Transforming handwashing from chore to cool

PROMOTIONAL FEATURE: How Lifebuoy used 'secret handshake' routines to make kids enjoy hand washing.

Case Study: Transforming handwashing from chore to cool


Every year up to 5 million children die unnecessarily from illnesses that could be prevented with basic hygiene practices. While all it takes is soap and water to kill the nasty germs that cause these diseases, handwashing isn’t as common in countries such as India and Indonesia as it should be.

This left Lifebuoy with a tough job on their hands. With a social mission to turn the tide on illness, and a commercial objective to promote Colour Changing Handwash in these regions, they were keen to get kids lathering up regularly.

So how do you turn handwashing from a neglected chore into something that children look forward to doing? Well, you just make it into a fun, interactive game.


To unearth the big idea, Evidently went back to the playground.

Using children’s exhibitionist nature, and their love of secret languages and handshakes, a campaign based on secret handwashing challenges was born.

Each expertly choreographed hand-wash routine was tailored to relevant and popular cultural interests. Cricket Champ appealed to the budding sporting stars, while Bollywood Shake encouraged the little princesses of the household to dance like their idols. Hulk Power Smash then encouraged kids to behave like the well-known comic book star and pound, smash and grind the dirt and germs away.

Not only did each routine succeed in entertaining and engaging, it left kids with fresh and clean hands, and parents feeling reassured that all germs had been killed.


The routines were shared as online films, alongside TVC cutdowns. They were supported with tailored Facebook content and online media.

The campaign was hugely successful with the films collecting over 3 million views, prompting a demand for several translations. The share rate significantly exceeded expectation, surpassing the industry benchmark by a huge percentage. But ultimately, the most encouraging result was the volume of films that were shared of kids making up their own secret routines. That’s when we knew they’d truly become cool.

In summary, by tapping into the interests of kids, we transformed them into advocates of handwashing—killing germs with every secret shimmy and smash.



Related Articles

Just Published

28 minutes ago

Ogilvy Consulting launches sustainability practice ...

The former regional strategy head for BBDO will help Ogilvy Consulting clients to shape priorities and actions on a range of issues including climate and DEI, according to the company.

7 hours ago

As we return to the office, how can we keep hold of ...

Achieving a balance between home and work was already a struggle for many. Then lockdown, the pandemic and WFH further blurred the lines delineating the two. It's time to rebuild boundaries.

7 hours ago

The purpose debate is raging but the value of ...

Placement of advertising matters more than ever, The Guardian's ad chief says.

9 hours ago

Carat names new US CEO as Angela Steele moves to ...

Mike Law, formerly head of Dentsu media investment arm Amplifi, takes over Janaury 1, as Steele moves to an as-yet unnamed role reporting to Arthur Sadoun.