Reckitt Pakistan recently launched Pakistan’s first Social Distancing Prayer Mats, as part of their 'Hoga Safe Pakistan' (HSP) initiative to ensure a safer way for everyone to offer their prayers.
Talking to Aurora, Humayun Farooq, Marketing Director, Reckitt Pakistan, says, “In our quest to protect Pakistani consumers by using relevant and innovative ideas under the platform of HSP, our agency partners BBDO Pakistan came up with the idea of social distancing prayer mats for Dettol to ensure safety and cleanliness, especially during the current Covid-19 fourth wave.”
The prayer mats were launched a week prior to Eid-ul-Azha to ensure their availability for Eid namaz, one of the largest congregational prayers in the year and during which mosques are crowded.
Atiya Zaidi, MD & ECD, BBDO Pakistan, says with the fourth wave and a new variant, the health of Pakistanis is even more at risk and given the fact that Dettol has been at the forefront of the pandemic all along, it was crucial for Reckitt to reinforce the message about following all SOPs on Eid-ul Azha. “We built on the insight that a huge risk factor during Eid are congregational prayers because of the proximity of those praying side by side. People, of course, prefer to offer their prayers in a mosque especially on Eid, so how could we encourage them to keep their distance for their own safety?”
The typical prayer mat Muslims use is typically 27 inches wide or less. Dettol introduced a prayer mat that has a width of about 84 inches (seven feet). Each mat is for a single person and comes with a mehrab design in the centre where the person can stand and pray and the words ‘Yeh Fasla Behtari Ka Fasla Hai’ (this distance is for our betterment) printed on either side on a green background.
Although Reckitt experimented with different materials, such cotton or other fabric or even recycled plastic sheets, they finally opted to print on sustainable paper, heavy enough to be reused. Relying on the insight that mats are revered and respected and well taken care of, the company believes a single mat can last for a few months if stored and handled properly. “Our learning will tell us if we need to tweak the material or design for future print runs,” adds Farooq.
The prayer mats were distributed in several mosques in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad,
as their numbers were limited. The cost of printing and distributing them came to Rs 2,000 per mat, but says Farooq, “these costs will decrease as demand increases.”
Dettol’s Social Distancing Prayer Mats are available on Daraz for Rs 755. Reckitt are hopeful that people everywhere in Pakistan will start taking them to their mosque – and hopefully inspire others to use them and thereby keep themselves safe – and to this end, they are working on uploading printable files on their website that can be downloaded and printed. “We purposely did not brand the mats as the objective is to ensure safety, not advertising,” says Farooq.
With the onset of the pandemic, HSP – an initiative which aims to educate Pakistanis on the virtues and benefits of cleanliness – has added safety and precaution in their communication objectives. According to Zaidi, Dettol is a brand that has proven once more that optimism serves a higher purpose than fear-mongering, especially during a pandemic. “After the March 23 campaign #YehWatanHumaraHai and the #SocialDistancingPrayerMat, expect a lot of exciting projects coming out of the pipeline!” she concludes.