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'No Germs on Me' Handwashing Campaign

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The Environmental Health Branch initially developed the 'No Germs on Me" Handwashing Campaign to assist with addressing the high rates of infectious disease among Aboriginal babies and children in the Northern Territory. The aim of the campaign is to motivate men, women and children to regularly wash their hands with soap after going to the toilet, after changing babies' nappies and before touching food.

Rather than relying on traditional health education methods such as teaching people about the benefits of handwashing, the campaign utilises the principles of social marketing, which have been found to be a more effective means of encouraging behaviour change especially at a population level. Focus groups and in-depth interviews were conducted in an Indigenous community in the Top End and in Central Australia to determine the barriers and drivers to people routinely washing their hands with soap.  Information gathered during this formative research stage was used to guide the development of the social marketing campaign.

The final campaign includes four television commercials in a top and tail format, four posters, a 'how to' sticker and point of sale materials to encourage the purchasing of soap. The catch cry 'didya wash ya hands?' and logo with the response 'no germs on me' effectively brand all campaign materials. The campaign is designed to stimulate thinking about the benefits of handwashing while still allowing the viewer to come to their own conclusions about the behaviour. The television commercials have a light hearted humorous tone and feature Indigenous talent.

Feedback on the campaign has been overwhelmingly positive. Initial message recall questionnaires indicated that the campaign was successful at reaching the target audience. The slogan 'No Germs on Me' was well understood by the majority of respondents. Discussions with community members indicated that people appreciated the humorous tone of the campaign and found that they could ask each other 'did ya wash ya hands?' without being seen as being too bossy or rude.

Following on from the success of the Indigenous campaign additional resources were developed targeting adolescent males and young adults in an urban context. Research indicated that routine handwashing decreases in the teenage years especially amongst young men.

The urban campaign has a similar style to the Indigenous campaign. The key difference was the adoption of a new key phrase - 'Washed your hands?' The phrase was changed based on comments from focus groups who felt 'Did ya wash ya hands?' was not marketable where as 'Washed your hands?' was more synonymous with the language idiosyncrasies in the urban population. Campaign resources include two television commercials, a poster, a 'how to' sticker, a radio commercial and table top advertising material that was distributed in shopping centres, airports, and cinemas.

Overall, the urban handwashing campaign was well received with several requests received to run school programs and provide resources and education sessions in workplaces.

School Song Competition

Entry to this competition was open to all Northern Territory primary and middle schools, (whether private or public) but excluding pre-primary or kindergarten schools, which do not form part of a primary school.

View the full length winning entry:

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