LifeBuoy: "Help a Child Reach 5"


Client: Unilever
Product: Lifebuoy
Category: Health and Beauty
Agency: Vserv Digital Services Pvt. Ltd
Country: Kenya
Year: 2014


Campaign Summary

As the world’s #1 selling germ protection soap, Lifebuoy champions the need for health and hygiene around the world. The brand adopts one main cause each year and creates awareness about that issue through a wide-reaching social campaign. In a health and hand-washing campaign in Kenya, Lifebuoy focused its efforts on the health needs of children who see the highest number of diarrhea deaths. Lifebuoy aims to help one billion people around the world improve their hand washing habits by 2020, particularly to improve the life chances of children under five, who are more vulnerable to hygiene-related life-threatening illnesses.

Lifebuoy’s promotional mobile campaign in Kenya – “Help a Child Reach 5” – successfully created awareness about this serious issue and raised money to support the cause.

Objective and Context

The campaign was specifically targeted at mobile phone users in Kenya. Mobile penetration in Kenya is at 70%, and Kenya’s 16 million mobile Internet users equate to 99% of the country’s total Internet users. This mobile-first population presented an ideal opportunity to reach out to the masses and spread the message.

Lifebuoy launched the “Help a Child Reach 5” campaign in 2013. Lifebuoy developed its hand washing programs, including “Help a Child Reach 5,” in collaboration with such organizations as PSI, Millennium Village Project and UNICEF. Understanding the strength of technology, mobile popularity and Internet usage, Lifebuoy built a mobile-only campaign to run in Kenya. 


Creative Strategy

Keeping in mind that interactive visuals often create a strong emotional impact, Lifebuoy developed a strategy aimed at giving users an interactive, mobile-rich media experience on their mobile devices. The brand’s message – “clean hands every day” – was well illustrated and communicated using an interactive image. A full-screen banner ad showcased a dirty hand, and users were encouraged to wipe the dirt from the hand on screen by using the swipe feature of their smartphones.

Every such interaction led users to a promotional film that emphasized the importance of hand washing. For every video viewed, Lifebuoy donated one  Kenyan Shilling (KES) towards the cause. The banner ad also encouraged users to share the video, along with a brand message, on their social profiles.

The interactive image made clear the message the brand was trying to convey. The five fingers signified the child’s age, and the idea of frequent wiping of dirt off children’s hands emphasized the importance of good personal hygiene. Enabling users to interact with the ad and share the video increased user engagement, incentivizing user actions while simultaneously monetizing the ad.

The 18-day mobile-only campaign was executed with only a $4,000 budget.



Below are the results of the campaign:

  • This highly successful campaign reached close to 3.2 million people in just 18 days across mobile apps and mobile sites.
  • The campaign had a 12% overall engagement rate.
  • Over the 18-day campaign, there were 237,000 (s)wipes and 650,807 mentions on Facebook.
  • Most importantly, in just 18 days the video generated KES 800,000 and was shared 1.6 million times on Facebook and Twitter.


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