How Lifebuoy advocated handwashing at Kumbh Mela with an activation


A look at how Lifebuoy initiated Hackwashing, an outdoor campaign at Kumbh Mela 2019 to turn a usual unsanitary habit into a sanitary one with a simple technique.

Category Introduction

Indian soap market was valued at $2.9 billion in FY2020 and is forecast to cross $4.4 billion by FY2026 due to increasing focus on maintaining proper hygiene due to the pandemic. (Source:

Brand Introduction

Lifebuoy is committed to finding ways to protect people from illnesses and improve health outcomes, one handwash at a time.


It was actually in the Pre-Covid times when the germs on our hands that carry deadly diseases were underrated, we invented a special wearable ink made of Lifebuoy formula which turned into antibacterial soap when brought in contact with water, washing off all the germs. So just by stamping people’s hands outside food courts and toilets at the Kumbh festival, we ensured they also use germ-killing soap when they rinse their hands with water.


The brief was simple – Ensuring that the devotees wash their hands with soap at the Kumbh festival, which leads to a more hygienic Kumbh this year.


Over 60% of Indians wash their hands only with water and no soap before eating and after using the toilet (Source: India National Sample Survey, 2020).

At the Kumbh festival, a religious gathering so massive, it creates a 45- day makeshift town with 150 million pilgrims, 4,200 tents, 660 mass food courts and 150,000 portable toilets, this habit could cause a large-scale infection! In fact, the Kumbh is infamous for its episodes of epidemics.

Also Read: Case Study: How Zee Studios leveraged Hindi Diwas highlighting their offerings

Creative Idea

Changing 150 million people’s poor hygiene habits overnight is impossible. So, we decided to create a social-hacking solution that takes advantage of what Indians have naturally done for millennia – washing hands with just water.

Hackwashing is the process of using a special wearable ink made of Lifebuoy formula which turns into antibacterial soap and lathers when brought in contact with water, washing off all the germs.


We replaced the token/ticket system outside food courts and toilets with Hackwashing. Before they entered food courts and lavatories, we stamped their hands with a special wearable ink made of Lifebuoy formula, so, every time they wash their hands with just water, we ensured that they are also cleansing their hands of germs with antibacterial soap.

In worrisome times of 2020, the world needs simple ideas like Hackwashing, implemented at every public toilet, restaurant, public gathering to avoid the spread of COVID 19 as we enter the unlocking phase.


Number of hands washed with soap: While we stamped 5 million devotees directly, we indirectly made the festival safer for the other 145 million as well.

Ensuring a hygienic Kumbh: Kumbh festival 2019 had 30% fewer infections than the festival’s previous 2013 edition.



Previous article61% of companies reduced their marketing spend in 2020: Kantar Report
Next articleAndBeyond.Media announces strategic partnership with Eenadu
Media Samosa is an online publication reporting trends, insights and breaking stories on various verticals of media marketing.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here