Spikes Asia

Handwashing Kebabs



2 Bronze Spikes Asia
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Festivals are a time for celebration and enjoyment, however, studies have also shown us that it’s a time when most people also lower their guard, especially when it comes to hygiene. Key moments of enjoyment unwittingly become key germ threat moments.

Lifebuoy, the world’s leading germ-protection soap chose to make one of the first festivals to be celebrated without any restrictions – Ramadan - a key moment to ensure people followed good hygiene. Without it seeming like we were preaching to them or reprimanding them.

The underlying issue: People KNOW the importance of washing their hands to stay protected, but still do not actually PRACTISE it.

Hence, we had two objectives:

1. Use Iftaar, the daily ritual during Ramadan, of breaking one’s fast-breaking with a feast as a platform to drive the action of handwashing with soap before eating.

2. Making the reminder culturally contextual to ensure receptivity and engagement.


Iftaar, a time every evening during Ramadan when friends and family get together to break their fast with the choicest foods. People throng iconic Ramadan street-food markets, where millions visit to feast especially on an iconic Ramadan delicacy - the kebab.

These delectable kebabs are the biggest attraction of the Iftaar feast, displayed on skewers along every food cart, attracting potential diners.

The Problem: The excitement surrounding the experience and the enthusiasm of sampling a multitude of delicacies after a day of fasting overshadows hygiene which means the kebabs are usually eaten with unclean hands. Making a festive moment a potential threat from germs.

How could we ensure millions of people coming to celebrate would remember to wash their hands with soap before indulging in the feast?

We cooked up a one-of-a-kind recipe that would be an unforgettable reminder for people – The Handwashing Kebabs


It is true that to effect behaviour change, one can’t interrupt established patterns, you need to seamlessly participate in them, to be able to drive a critical message. Therefore, it is also important that a hygiene alert doesn’t detract from the festivities and the spirit of celebration, but in fact naturally ‘infiltrates’ the celebrations, if you will.

Our Target Audience for The Handwashing Kebabs was anyone and everyone who would visit the street-food markets to enjoy the iftaar feast, especially the signature delicacy of the street food markets – the ubiquitous kebab.

Our Strategy: Engineer a loveable hygiene intervention to help protect India’s first religious festival that would be free of Covid restrictions.

The Call to Action: Wash your hands with soap before eating, in a bid to allow the month-long celebrations to continue unabated!


We carved up Lifebuoy bar soaps of different colors to look like the iconic kebabs and carefully ‘installed’ them on skewers exactly how they are sold. These soap kebab skewers were hung right next to kebab skewers in stalls across the Ramadan street food markets to attract attention and curiosity.

The strategic placement of kebabs and a handwashing station and message were an unforgettable reminder for people to wash their hands before feasting.

The activation was conducted in major cities across India - Mumbai, Delhi, Lucknow, and Pune. Cities that experience footfalls in the millions in their respective street-food markets.

We kicked-off the intervention on Day 1 of Ramadan and continued for the holy month, right up to the last day of fasting, culminating in the Eid celebration.

We also included these soap kebab skewers in food orders that were delivered home, dispatched by leading restaurants and food delivery apps.


In the city of Mumbai, the Mayor herself supported and lauded the initiative, encouraging everyoneto participate.

The fun and non-preachy aspect of the idea brought the critical message of handwashing to over 1.5million people over the month of Ramadan. Those thronging the Iftaar markets, experienced the initiative, resonated with it, loved it and participated willingly.

Across cities, a multitude of street food stall owners and restauranteurs were keen to allot a space to install the Handwashing Kebabs and were eager to make this a regular feature for the future. Further proving that the inititative can be effective at scale, with minimal effort and expense.

Subject matter experts like epidemiologists and religious leaders like trustees of local mosques endorsed the initiative and appreciated efforts, as a timely and relevant initiative, which can keep people protected from infection, while being visually appealing, scalable, and generating interest and excitement.

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