Cannes Lions

THE WORLD'S FIRST MOSQUITO REPELLENT NEWSPAPER

LEO BURNETT SOLUTIONS, Colombo / CEYLON NEWSPAPERS / 2015

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THE NEWSPAPER THAT STOPPED DENGUE IN ITS TRACKS

‘Mawbima’ is a mass-market, nationwide newspaper battling it out in a crowded category.

This is the story of how Mawbima overcame the challenge of retaining and growing market share in a declining category. It decided to rise above trying to convince people why it was a better newspaper, and instead actually showed how it could make a difference to people’s lives. The brand developed an out-of-the-box initiative that addressed one of the nation's most pressing problems – Dengue.

The deadly mosquito-borne fever had reached epidemic proportions. With over 30,000 people infected in 2013, the disease had claimed too many lives, including the lives of young children.

We discovered that while many were aware of the issue, people were unaware of what they could do to protect themselves from it. Especially about ways in which they can protect themselves naturally.

Citronella oil has always been a popular and proven 'natural' insect repellent. And considered to be safe for children. Mawbima decided to reinforce the benefits of using Citronella in an engaging manner.

Citronella essence was mixed with ink so that every letter of every printed word repelled mosquitoes from attacking people. Especially when people read the newspaper in the early morning and evening – the very time the Dengue mosquito strikes.

In the week leading up to the launch day (coincidently National Dengue Week), a striking graphic was created using the letters in the vernacular blocking the Dengue mosquito. These were used on a variety of communication including print and social media. They were also converted to posters infused with Citronella essence and placed at bus stops as well as distributed among school children as mosquito patches.

Finally, on World Health Day, Mawbima published the world’s first mosquito-repellent newspaper.

And the results were inspiring. Even with a 30% increase in the print run, the paper sold out by 10am. And the resulting growth was then retained as permanent sales. This drove up revenue by 22% and helped reach new readers. In a year in which all the competitors de-grew, Mawbima enjoyed a 2% increase in market share. This campaign not only helped us reach more people that we expected, it even got the attention of Bill Gates.

And yes, while we did achieve the desired business results, we also made a significant impact in arresting the spread of dengue in Sri Lanka!

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