At a glance:
- The medium is the message – effect change by showing, not telling
- Innovation isn’t about technology – it’s more a “way of doing”
- The campaign has earned more than 1.5bn media impressions and boosted sales of ANGFA soap by 1,730%
The medium is the message – it’s a truth that plenty of brands pay lip service to, but few do well.
Not so Japanese health company ANGFA, who in January launched its remarkable Washable Book to teach children in Cambodia the importance of having clean hands.
The idea for the book was inspired by an unfortunate truth: according to UN estimates, 6,000 children in developing countries lose their lives every day as a result of infectious diseases transmitted via hands. So, in order to bring about behavioural change in rural and hard-to-reach areas of Cambodia, where internet access is limited and literacy rates are low, ANGFA’s agency, McCann Health Japan, turned to print – and subscribed to one basic principle: practice change, don’t preach it.
“We knew we wanted to create new experiences using traditional media,” explains Shunsuke Kakinami, McCann Health Japan’s group creative director. “We also wanted to create physical memories. So, it was crucial our campaign had that element of touch – and that we engaged with children on their own terms.”
The result? The world’s first picture story book – gifted to hundreds of children, together with a bar of soap – that used deceptively simple printing techniques to promote hand-washing… through hand-washing. Scrubbing the hands of the book’s characters using the soap provided revealed a series of colourful illustrations that helped to bring the tale (and the issue) to life – and succinctly demonstrated the life-saving benefits of good hygiene to an impressionable group of kids.