Every year 2 million children under 5 die from preventable infections like diarrhoea and pneumonia. Our problem was that people were unaware of these deaths, or that hand-washing with soap can save lives through disease prevention. Our challenge was to convince consumers that hand-washing with Lifebuoy could actually save children’s lives.
The innovative idea developed was to adopt the village of ‘Thesgora’, with the highest diarrhoeal incidence in India, and prove that hand-washing with soap can save children’s lives. ‘Help a child reach 5’ was the binding creative idea of the campaign, and using the emotional angle of a child’s 5th birthday, we created a cause to ensure all the children of Thesgora reach 5.
To create mass awareness of our Lifebuoy hand-washing cause, and to mobilize people to share the message and donate, we created a unique online film, Gondappa - the story of father so overcome with joy when the first time a child of his survives the age of 5, he decides to walk on his hands to seek God’s blessing.
The campaign's innovative approach of eschewing shock tactics and relying on a human-focused, positive story not only opened people's minds to such avoidable deaths, but also moved them to share it with others, realizing 25 million YouTube views and 16 million pledges. In Thesgora, as a result of our campaign, we saw a 75% reduction in the incidence of diarrhoea in children as hand-washing tripled. Globally 2.56 million school children learnt hand washing habits.