The agency was approached about helping raise awareness of mosquito prevention in the slums of Bangkok and other Southeast Asian cities. But instead of creating posters and fliers, BBDO Bangkok invented something that might change the way mosquitoes are controlled worldwide.
Called “Nano Shoes,” this innovation covers mosquitoes’ feet in BTI larvicide, a synthetic but naturally occurring bacterium that stymies mosquito larvae. That means that as mosquitoes fly to breeding sites, they become their own exterminators.
Created in close partnership with clients SCG Chemicals and Institut Pastuer, it’s an inspired solution, but arriving at it was no easy process.
Typically, BTI is spread manually where mosquitoes might breed. It’s a labor-intensive process that, according to BBDO, leaves up to 80 percent of breeding sites either out of the reach of or completely unknown to humans.
“So this is where we began our creative process,” says Suthisak Sucharittanonta, chairman and chief creative officer of BBDO Bangkok. “We asked ourselves, ‘How can we get this BTI larvicide to breeding sites without us having to physically do it ourselves?’ From this point, the teams instantly started thinking about redesign of and application on existing objects within these underprivileged communities. But at the end of the day, the solutions we were coming up with still didn’t answer the question of how we can get to all of the hidden or unreachable breeding sites.”
Since humans often didn’t even know all the places mosquitoes were breeding, the answer had to lay somewhere other than in manual distribution.
“So we asked ourselves, ‘Who knows where these breeding sites are?'” Sucharittanonta says. “And once asked, the answer was obvious: The mosquitoes know. So it was then we found the heart of our campaign: Use mosquitoes to fight mosquitoes.”
Working closely with its clients, the agency used nano technology to overcome a key obstacle: BTI larvicide and mosquitoes both have a positive charge, meaning they repel each other and won’t stick together. The solution, which would become known as Nano Shoes because of the way it sticks to the pests’ feet, added a negative charge around the larvicide to make it “sticky.”
The agency and its clients estimate that a single mosquito with Nano Shoe larvicide can potentially stop thousands of larvae from maturing—without affecting other insects or humans
“The potential impact this could have on helping the underprivileged communities and improving their quality of life is immense,” Sucharittanonta says. “Many individuals in the communities we are targeting cannot even afford preventive measures against mosquitoes and mosquito-borne illnesses, let along the cost of healthcare if they fall ill. So for us to be able to reduce mosquito density in these areas means that we will also reduce their risk of getting sick.”
Clients: SCG Chemicals, Institut Pasteur
Agency: BBDO Bangkok
Chief Creative Officer: Suthisak Sucharittanonta
Deputy Chief Creative Officer: Anuwat Nitipanont
Creative Director: Peter Oh
Creative Group HeadS: Piyakan Sirichankachorn, Sarita Chanthai
Senior Art Director: Nirun Sommalardpun
Group Account Client Service: Pattama Jianjaroonsri
Producer: Yada Buachan