In the poor parts of Brazil, mosquitoes are killers. They carry yellow fever, malaria and dengue fever, and both are spreading throughout the country. Vaccines and medicines are scarce and insect repellent is too expensive. In the first three months of 2017, there were 200 deaths due to yellow fever in Brazil.
Brazilian ad agency Little George, the Ketchum Group’s creative hot shop, and its client, Ananse Química, a Brazilian company specialising in microencapsulation, decided that this was unacceptable.
So they have developed a way of embedding natural insect repellent oils, citronella, neem and clove, into the pages of children’s story and colouring books, crayons and superhero capes, and worked with publisher, RJR Editora, to create the story book, Safe Stories: Amazon Warriors, Volume 1.
The repellent is activated by movement – when the children turn the pages of the book – that tells the story of warriors who are called to save the forest from devastation – use the crayons or play while wearing the capes.
Claudia Galvão, chief executive officer of Ananse Química, explained, “We sought out Little George to help us create a social project that would allow us to help families and caretakers protect children from the mosquitoes that transmit diseases such as malaria, yellow fever, and dengue. When they presented the idea of the book, we knew we had found a way to meet our objectives and generate a great social impact.”
“We are launching a product that will innovate in the area of olfactory marketing. We spent more than six months in development before creating the ideal formula – a special varnish, different from the varnishes typically used by printers, that was created specifically for this collection,” explained Gabriel Araújo, vice-president of creative at Little George and the project’s creator.
The repellent is effective up to three months, depending on the frequency of use.
“For future launches, we want to add andiroba oil, extracted from plants found in the north of Brazil, as this oil is also a strong repellent,” Galvão noted.
To launch the project, free kits were distributed to families in the community of Tapara Miri, in the Brazilian state of Pará. In order to choose the best location to test the technology, the project partnered with IPAM (National Research Institute of the Amazon), which tested the effectiveness of the repellent when applied to the books, helped to identify which communities most needed to receive it and assisted in providing logistical support to the team.
During the first step of the project, two thousand kits are expected to be distributed. By the end of the year, project organisers hope to distribute up to 20 thousand units.
RJR and Ananse will then map out regions in Brazil where cases of mosquito-borne diseases are concentrated and expand the project to include these regions.
Creative agency: Little George
Executive creative director & copywriter: Gabriel Araujo
Art director: Anderson Borges
Illustrator: Ronaldo Santana
Planner: Leticia Massa
Client service: Carolina Azevedo