Leo Burnett Created Bus Tickets in Sri Lanka That Double as Tiny Bars of Soap

Sanitary innovation on mass transit

Headshot of Angela Natividad

To demonstrate its commitment to improving healthcare throughout Sri Lanka, Asiri Hospital Group and Leo Burnett created the first-ever bus ticket made of soap.

Crowded buses are notorious hotbeds for spreading disease. And many illnesses, from colds to flus to hepatitis, can be stopped in their tracks when you wash your hands regularly. But soap isn't the kind of commodity you'll find often in public spaces: Most Sri Lankan public toilets, for example, don't have any.

Thus the Soap Bus Ticket was born. The agency created paper fused with soap and filled ticket rolls with it, eliminating two problems: the hygiene and safety issue, and the wastefulness of the temporary bus ticket given to passengers when they board.

In addition to being pleasantly fragrant, the tickets produce a nice lather when wet, making them perfect for on-the-go handwashing—overall, a great example of advertising that fulfills the brief, addresses a clear and present need, and replaces a wasteful commodity with an inherently useful one. 

The Soap Bus Tickets rolled out across a number of major Sri Lankan bus transit lines, and were supported by posters and signboards at major stops, in public toilets, and in Asiri hospitals, to educate passengers.

@luckthelady angela.natividad@gmail.com Angela Natividad is a frequent contributor to Adweek's creativity blog, AdFreak. She is also the author of Generation Creation and co-founder of Hurrah, an esports agency. She lives in Paris and when she isn't writing, she can be found picking food off your plate.