In Sri Lanka: a lemongrass newspaper to ward off mosquitoes
In Sri Lanka, dengue fever is a national problem that kills thousands of people each year. On World Health Day, daily newspaper Mawbima decided to add lemongrass ink to their newspaper to ward off mosquitoes carrying the disease.
In Sri Lanka, 2013, dengue (or ‘tropical flu’) infected 30,000 Sri Lankans. Transmitted by mosquito bites and a plague in tropical countries, dengue can be avoided by using simple but effective methods such as lemongrass scent.
The newspaper, Mawbima, decided to not just warn its readers of the dangers of dengue, but also to help them avoid these deadly bites by mixing essence of lemongrass, which is a powerful mosquito-repellent, to the ink used to print, essentially creating a lemongrass newspaper The idea came from the Leo Burnett agency. Their advertising posters on bus shelters use the same method to work as mosquito repellents. Readers are protected from bites and therefore dengue, simply by reading the newspaper. The initiative was perfected during World Health Day and has been a real success for the paper (recording a 30% increase in sales in a single day. 300,000 extra readers).
The Independent praised the initiative as did CampaignBriefAsia. The site TrendHunter, which specialises in marketing innovations, believes this collaboration between Mawbima and Leo Burnett to be a real success, both commercially and in health terms. The Mawbima project has therefore had a concrete impact on sanitation for thousands of Sri Lankans.
Mawbima, Sri Lanka