A Sri Lankan newspaper may have just found a a way to sustain the struggling print business – and it’s helping to stop the spread of mosquito-borne diseases at the same time. Mawbina newspaper teamed up with Leo Burnett Sri Lanka to create mosquito-repelling newspapers for a public health campaign – and once those papers hit newsstands, sales increased by 30 percent. In fact, the mosquito-fighting newspapers were so popular that they sold out by 10 am and brought lots life-saving attention to the fight against dengue fever.
Because people in Sri Lanka tend to read their papers in the morning and evening – the time when mosquitos happen to be the most active – Mawbina and Leo Burnett wanted to create awareness about dengue fever during the countries National Dengue Week. So they printed newspapers using citronella oil mixed with ink. Even with a bigger print run, newsstands couldn’t keep the newspaper in stock and readership increased by 300,000 people.
The campaign didn’t stop with newspapers, however. It also involved providing mosquito-repellant patches for children and citronella oil-soaked posters at bus stops to draw focus and help keep the biting buggers away. Because there is no good way to treat dengue fever, prevention is essential, and the campaign is a striking way to help people while making print newspaper seem exciting again.
Images via Leo Burnett Asia