SDG3 target 3.3: By 2030, end the epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and neglected tropical diseases and combat hepatitis, water-borne diseases and other communicable diseases.

Where: Brazil 

The challenge:

The mosquito is the most deadly creature on Earth. Capable of carrying and transmitting deadly diseases and viruses, such as Malaria and Zika, the World Health Organisation found in 2016 that mosquitos were responsible for around 1 million deaths per year.

The Zika virus in Brazil hit the headlines in the summer of 2016 during the Rio Olympics and Paralympics. The World Health Organisation (WHO) labelled it a “global emergency”. With athletes and tourists descending on Brazil, we wanted to do something to tackle the source of the problem: the Aedes Aegypti mosquito, often a carrier of Zika. We needed to boost awareness of the virus threat and also take some practical action.

The execution:

To tackle something so small, you need to think big. We used our experience, expertise and creativity to devise a killer idea: a billboard that not only raised awareness of neglected tropical diseases, but killed thousands of potentially harmful mosquitos at the same time.

The Mosquito Killer Billboard is an ingenious device which releases an airborne solution, attracting mosquitoes from up to 4km away and luring them in before catching them on a white sticky billboard. The billboards were located near areas susceptible to outbreaks. The concept brought advertising, technology and creativity together for devastating effect to mosquitoes.

We made the design of the billboard and the technology freely available online via the Creative Commons, encouraging others to adopt the technology and use outdoor advertising infrastructure to permanently fight communicable diseases.

The results:

The billboards were in operation for two months at the height of Brazil's summer season, killing about 100 mosquitoes a day, and more than 30,000 of the pests overall. The designs for the billboard were downloaded 328 times in the first week from Creative Commons, spreading the tools to help win this deadly battle.

The project captured worldwide imagination and was featured in dozens of international and national publications, featuring BBC News, Daily Mail, Huffington Post, Newsweek, Creative Review The Scientist, Telegraph, Adland, Engadget, Gizmodo, Wired, the Verge, Fortune, Stats News, Vice, Campaign, The Drum, Little Black Book, Uproxx, and AdWeek. In less than 10 days, the case study uploaded to the NBS YouTube site was viewed more than 100,000 times. And it won more than 30 awards including the prestigious Project Isaac Award for Innovation in the advertising industry and a Cannes Lions.

Check out more inspiring examples of our work on SDG3.