Popular Sri Lankan paper keeps insects away with Citronella essence.
Sri Lanka is a country that’s been ravaged by Dengue fever over the past couple of years, in 2013 alone, the disease infected 30,000 people. As part of a creative attempt to fight back, one of the country’s most popular newspapers, Mawbima, has teamed up with Leo Burnett Sri Lanka to create a periodical made from mosquito-repellent paper. From its well-intentioned beginnings and limited print runs, the insect-free reading experience has proven to be a smash hit with locals.
Phase one of the campaign was to launch a series of print ads, which showed mosquitos being blocked by letters of the local language. The paper also ran articles educating people on different ways of preventing Dengue, and handed out mosquito-prevention patches to school kids. What people seemed to notice the most however, were bus stop posters coated in citronella essence, a natural and effective mosquito repellent.
Based on the success of these posters, which gave people a temporary respite from the blood-sucking insects, Mawbima decided to print an entire copy of its morning and evening newspapers using ink mixed with citronella for World Health Day. Because most people read their paper in the morning or evening, times when mosquitos are most active, the campaign proved a huge success.
Even though the paper increased its print run, they managed to sell out of the morning paper by 10am, and saw a 30 percent increase in sales, along with a 300,000 increase in readership. Apart from the direct protection offered by the paper, increased readership meant that more people had a chance to learn about Dengue, and what they could do to avoid the deadly disease.
For an overview of the campaign, which overs much of what was written above, you can watch the short video below.