Ad Nut
Feb 8, 2023

Otrivin turns air pollution into pencils, to make a fine point

The Bengaluru-based project conceptualised by Wunderman Thompson Singapore won't erase the problem of breathing bad air in schools, but the pencils can draw attention to the cause.

As someone who lives in a tree in the forest, Ad Nut often takes clean air for granted. But visits to Ad Nut's city-slicking squirrel siblings (say that ten times fast) in dense urban neighbourhoods choked with exhaust, often reinforce just how precious fresh air can be. 

Some parts of the world fare much worse than others. In recent years the World Health Organisation has stated 93% of the world's children breathe toxic air every day, with the problem particularly acute in India where the statistic rises to 98% of kids breathing bad air, not just outdoors but indoors as well, including classrooms for seven hours a day. 

It was these statistics that helped spur GSK's Otrivin, a nasal spray brand associated with easier breathing, to team up with Wunderman Thompson Singapore to draw attention to the issue as part of its 'Actions to Breathe Cleaner' initiative.

Identifying three schools in Bengaluru with the poorest air quality, they installed 22 air purifiers in the classroom to filter out 74% of airborne pollutants for 1,500 students. Next, using technology from Panjurli Labs, a start-up let by a young Indian entrepreneur in his twenties, they 'harvested' the dirt from the pollutants and combined it with graphite that was used to make 10,000 'pollution capture pencils' for students to use, but also for sale.  

Profit from the sales of these pencils will be used to raise money to buy more purifiers to keep the cycle going and also raise more awareness for the issue.

When it comes to initiatives like these, Ad Nut has seen many good intentioned projects come and go. The best ones are not one-offs designed to win awards, but are self-sustaining and continue to make a difference over the long-haul. Putting air purifiers in three schools is only a tiny dent in the problem, so Ad Nut recognises that the worth of this project will need to be proven over time.  

Ad Nut likes that the initiative fits well with the Otrivin's brand purpose to allow easier breathing. But in order to filter out the whiff of award bait from this project, Ad Nut would love to know whether the proceeds from pencils really cover all the costs involved in harvesting pollution and combining it with graphite to make new products. That might give an indication as to how long the project can continue and would help Ad Nut breathe a little easier. 


Wunderman Thompson Global

Bas Korsten, Global CCO, Wunderman Thompson
Daniel Bonner, Global CCO, Wunderman Thompson

Wunderman Thompson Singapore

Mateusz Mroszczak, CCO, Wunderman Thompson
Jon Loke, ECD, Wunderman Thompson
Aarti Nichlani, creative director, Wunderman Thompson
Tulika Shanker, Associate Creative Director, Wunderman Thompson
Nuttawee Pisanprechatam, art director, Wunderman Thompson

Agency Account Management, Grey London

Hanna Essinger, global account director, WPP/ Grey London

Agency Project Manager, Grey London

Lisa O’Brien, senior project manager

Agency Account Management, Wunderman Thompson Singapore

Jaimesha Patel, managing partner, Client Services

Agency Account Management, Wunderman Thompson Delhi, India

Bhavana Dogra, VP & executive business director, Wunderman Thompson
Rahul Singh, AVP & CSD, Wunderman Thompson
Arjun Bhutani, Brand Manager

Agency Production, Wunderman Thompson Singapore

Kimie Ong, executive producer


Farhad Nadeem, global marketing & digital director, Nasal Health/OTC
Ahsan Malik, Global marketing manager


Gautam Dutta, illustrator

Production House, Tandem Media Pvt Ltd (India)

Director: Shamik Sen Gupta
Producer: Danny V Lobo
DOP : Yashveer Singh - Yogi
2nd unit DOP : Nishi Dugar
Project manager: Santosh Gowda
Editor: Abhilesh Shivalkar
Animation director: Spectrum Studios
VFX director : Mukesh Sinha
Colourist : Swapnil Patole

Audio Production

Composer: Rohit Chaturvedi
Music producers: Rohit Chaturvedi and Sanoli Chowdhury
Mix and sound design: Sanoli Chowdhury
VO: Archita Trisal


Panjurli Labs
Guna Pencils

Campaign Asia

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