Social Media Campaign Review: Lifebuoy’s Global Handwashing Day Pledge


This campaign is centered around Global Handwashing Day which falls on october 15. Of course, that was a little known fact until Lifebuoy brought it to our notice. Lifebuoy competes with the likes of Dettol, it’s USP being its ability to slay germs.

Hence, a campaign around hygiene is the obvious choice for this brand. The tagline of the campaign is ‘Help a child reach the age of 5 through handwashing with soap’ which appears to be a dubious claim at first glance.

But when you scroll further down, the brand enlightens you about the fact that “Each year, more than 2 million children don’t live to see their 5th birthday because of diarrhea and pneumonia. Many of these deaths can be prevented through the simple habit of regular handwashing with soap.” The campaign then begins to make sense.


lifebuoy click like to pledge

This is a social campaign that aims at sensitizing children towards hygiene and reducing mortality by inculcating a simple habit of washing hands at appropriate times. The Unilever Foundation conducts many such initiatives and campaigns in association with the various FMCG brands it owns.

This campaign is being conducted in association with Millennium Villages, an international nonprofit organization aimed at eradicating extreme poverty and PSI, a global health organization dedicated to improving the health of people in the developing world.


lifebuoy hadnwashing day pledge

You have to like the Lifebuoy Facebook Page to be able to make a pledge using their Facebook app. Once you make a pledge, which is already pre-framed and merely needs to be shared on your wall, you are presented with various options like sharing the cause with friends, becoming an ambassador by sharing a photo of your kids washing their hands, downloading a guide to teach your kids good handwashing habits and donating money towards Lifebuoy’s cause.

Of these, the ‘Be an ambassador’ caught my eye the most and it could well be a campaign in itself. Lifebuoy wants to encourage you to be a model mom by offering you a chance to be featured on Lifebuoy’s Timeline at the end of October, in exchange for a photograph of your kids’ stellar handwashing habits.


lifebuoy pledge celebration

Over a whopping 886436 pledges have been made so far. The reason for this overwhelming response is pretty clear – all you have to do is click two buttons. The first button is ‘Pledge now’ which opens a message and photograph that you can share on your wall.

That’s it. No reason why anyone wouldn’t do it, is there?

I really like the feature where you can watch the 2011 Global Handwashing Day celebrations across eighteen Lifebuoy countries including India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. But I wish they would show us a video or at least a slideshow of pictures instead of just a single one.

Scope for Improvement

While the photograph depicts Indian children, the description says that Unilever Foundation and Millennium Villages are working to bring hygiene education to children across 10 countries in Africa.

So the beneficiaries of the pledges people are so enthusiastically making remain unclear. Also, while any cause is worthy, I remain stumped as to how hygiene trumps hunger as a pressing need.

Would poor families in Africa prefer to use their scant means to procure the next meal or buy a bar of Lifebuoy soap?