Cannes Lions

Lifebuoy Germ Nashini

LOWE LINTAS , Mumbai / UNILEVER / 2019

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Lifebuoy, the world’s largest hygiene soap been protecting people from infection causing germs and saving lives for over a century. The brand has been driving crucial education around handwashing as a life-saving habit through extensive on ground programs across the developing world.

Despite this there is still widespread lack of awareness around hand hygiene and its role in preventing infections, especially in countries like India. How do you keep reminding people on a topic that’s boring and mundane for the average person?

Food is an indispensable part of Indian festivals but is often consumed with unclean hands, exposing devotees to germs and illnesses. Lifebuoy explored the opportunity of using religious gatherings to drive education on the importance of handwashing, with two objectives:

1. Use Durga Puja, one of India’s largest festival as a platform to drive hand hygiene awareness

2. Make the message highly contextual to ensure receptivity and memorability


During Durga Puja, devotees flock to worship goddess Durga and enjoy warm bhog (blessed food). How could we ensure millions of devotees attending Durga Puja ate holy bhog with clean hands? Given the depth of devotion to goddess Durga, we realized that people would never ignore a message from the goddess herself and that was our insight. Germ Nashini, or the Germ Destroyer, used the goddess’ ‘blessing hand gesture’ to symbolize the destruction of germs. The device worked on a simple motion sensor, devotees had to place their hands in front of the goddess’s blessing hand for Lifebuoy hand sanitizer to be automatically dispensed.

Germ Nashini literally means destroyer of germs which was an apt metaphor attached to goddess Durga who is also known as the destroyer of evil.


There were 3 audiences that Lifebuoy wanted to attract through this installation.

Devotees: The Germ Nashini was placed where the bhog was served ensuring the throng of devotees were directly targeted and no one ate bhog without cleaning their hands. A video was released on Dussehra, the most auspicious day of the festival. The hashtag #GermNashini soon gained momentum during the period of the festival.

Media channels: Indian festivals gain a lot of attention from media outlets who cover events on key days. Germ Nashini as a result of its unique form and design stood out of the clutter of brands, catching media attention.

Durga Puja organizers: Through this activation the aim was to catch the eye of Durga Puja organizers, who would appreciate the importance and commit to providing Germ Nashini every year to the devotees as a means to protect them from germs.


The activation was done in 3 big cities where the festival is celebrated by large numbers – Mumbai, Kolkata and Guwahati. Lifebuoy targeted 3 big pandals in each of these cities where large footfalls were ensured, a Germ Nashini was placed in each pandal at a strategic location just before the bhog distribution area. A video was released on 18th October 2018 on Youtube, Instagram and Twitter and was covered by multiple digital websites. Kajol, famous Indian celebrity and a follower of goddess Durga shared the activation video and message through her Twitter account. Indian festivals are covered extensively by local media like newspapers and Lifebuoy’s Germ Nashini attracted the attention of multiple regional and national dailies.


1. Reached over 2.3 million devotees with our message during the festival.

2. Covered by over 15 news channels & media publications.

3. Most of all caught the eye of Durga Puja event organizers who are keen to install the Germ Nashini next year in their own pandals.

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