Area 23 Attempts to Get Kids Excited for Global Handwashing Day

By Erik Oster 

To celebrate Global Handwashing Day, FCB Health company Area 23 teamed up with the Global Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing and Purell to launch an online ad and accompanying microsite. 

For the unfortunately named “Cooties Catcher,” Area 23 wanted to answer the question “If we could see what was really on our hands would it change the way we think about handwashing?” while getting kids excited to wash their hands. So they conducted a little experiment, visiting schools and having first graders press their hands on a petri dish, then returning three weeks later to show which bacteria they had on their hands. The kids were excited to see the results, a little grossed out by what they saw, and mostly unable to pronounce the names of the microbes present. In addition to explaining the experiment, the microsite ( also includes simple, kid-friendly instructions for handwashing and using hand sanitizer.

Executive Creative Director: Tim Hawkey
Creative Director: Michael Kizilbash
Associate Creative Directors: Laura Potucek, Melissa Ulloa
Producer: Tom Kettells
Director: Matt Hall
Copywriter: Lily Hoffman
Art Directors: Paula Searing, Mario Arias
Account Executive: Alex Marquard
Director of Photography: Mark Smith
Camera Operators: Matt Hall, Grace Na
Editors: Mike Goodenow, Gary Greco
Animator: Kenny Yee
Motion Effects: Bill Bourbeau
Color: Michael Cozy (Kworq)