Lifebuoy spreads the handwashing message at the Maha Kumbh Mela

'Roti Reminder’ activation spreads awareness on handwashing at the Maha Kumb Mela.

As the world’s leading health soap, Lifebuoy aims to make a difference by creating accessible hygiene products (soap) and promoting healthy hygiene habits. With this in mind, Lifebuoy aims to change the handwashing behaviour of a billion people, by 2015. The brand introduced a unique activation to spread the message on handwashing further at the Maha Kumbh Mela this year.

Preventing transmission of germs

The Maha Kumbh Mela is expected to be the largest gathering of people with a 100 million people expected to descend upon the city of Allahabad during the period of this mela. This unprecedented influx of people almost turns into a temporary city in itself - however, this large a congregation also presents some risks. Since the infrastructure available is often unable to service the sanitation and health needs of all attendees, infections tend to occur and spread far more easily through transmission of germs, which happens most commonly through infected hands. 

Lifebuoy hopes to aid the patrons and attendees by reminding them about the importance of washing hands and protecting oneself from germs. Lifebuoy is spreading this message at key junctures throughout the city through street hoardings and banners.

The Roti Reminder activation

Lifebuoy is using a new method to remind people to wash their hands before having food – the food itself! The roti is a staple item served with every Indian meal. And the only way to eat it? With your hands. Lifebuoy decided to create a special heat stamp with the message, ‘Did you wash your hands with Lifebuoy?’. Lifebuoy then hired 100 promoters, to stand in 100 kitchens spread across the Maha Kumbh Mela and instructed them to impression fresh rotis with the Lifebuoy message.

The approximate number of fresh rotis that the promoters are targeting to stamp is 2.5 million rotis through the tenure of Khumbh Mela. But given the fact that a minimum of two people share a table, the brand expects the message to reach much more than 2.5 million visitors at the Maha Kumbh Mela. In effect, this simple, clutter breaking idea will help Lifebuoy reach out to a massive audience, at a fraction of the cost.

This activation is for a period of one month and has started from February 1, 2013. The activation will be happening at hotels and dhabas across the Kumbh area during the mela. There will also be hand washing messages on the hotel/dhaba menu and sign board. Lifebuoy will also be providing free soaps so that patrons have the opportunity to protect themselves from germs and enjoy an infection free Kumbh Mela. 

Speaking about the genesis of the idea, Sudhir Sitapati, General Manager – Skin Cleansing, HUL said,” The idea came from the insight that handwashing with soap before eating can prevent transmission of many disease causing germs, but people often ignore or forget to do this simple act. A reminder at the right time can go a long way to ensure this habit is followed. This was the starting thought from which we developed a unique intervention – the Roti Reminder.”

Lifebuoy’s Social Mission

The Lifebuoy social mission is to bring safety, security and health to people through the active promotion of handwashing with soap. 

By 2015, Lifebuoy aims to change the hygiene behaviour of 1 billion consumers across Asia,Africa and Latin America by promoting the benefits of handwashing with soap at key times. 

In 2002, Lifebuoy started a campaign known as Lifebuoy Swasthya Chetna, to promote good health practices by actively encouraging people to inculcate good hygiene practices, such as washing hands with soap at least five times a day. From 2002 to 2010, the project touched more than 120 million Indians. 

Lifebuoy has continued driving awareness on handwashing through Hindustan Unilever’s multi-brand rural outreach programme called Khushiyon Ki Doli (KKD) or “Caravan of happiness”. Through KKD, Lifebuoy reached out to nearly 30 million people in rural India over 2010 and 2011.

Unilever Sustainable Living Plan

As part of the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan, Unilever is aiming to improve the hygiene habits of more than a billion people.We have reached 100 million people with our handwashing, oral care and self esteem programmes, and a further 35 million with safe drinking water. These initiatives will help reduce the incidence of life-threatening diseases like diarrhoea.

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