Dettol's parent firm designs prayer mat to encourage social distancing in mosques

Dettol’s parent company Reckitt has introduced a social distancing prayer mat to encourage safe distancing in mosques, in light of Pakistan's impending fourth wave of COVID-19. Done in collaboration with Impact BBDO and BBDO Pakistan, the mat is now being used across Pakistan in some of its largest mosques and has been endorsed by the country's Council of Islamic Ideology. A landing page with an open-source file has also been made available to be downloaded by any printer anywhere in the world to utilise the design. The mats are also planned to be used in Egypt, India and other countries with a large Muslim population.

Battling rising COVID numbers potentially indicating a rapid spread of the Delta variant of the coronavirus, the government has issued SOP notices to protect the public, including social distancing. As a result, Reckitt said the social distancing prayer mat was launched “at an ideal time”, at the annual Eid festival, which is marked with prayers attended by millions.

Traditional prayer mats – or the jaanemaz - are about 70 cm wide, and used in mosques where Muslims pray next to each other with their shoulders practically touching. To encourage social distancing, this newly designed prayer mat is 180 cm wide with the message “this distance, is a decision for betterment” imprinted amongst its motif, seeking to remind worshippers to maintain a safe distance.

The mat is printed on sustainable and cost-efficient non-tearable paper and can be easily rolled up or folded and used several times. The design on the mat borrows from traditional Islamic art geometric motifs that gradually spread out through the width of the mat. Urdu calligraphy on either side of the design remind people that “The decision to maintain this distance is one of safety.” (The Urdu words for “decision” and “distance” are separated by only one alphabet). This is part of Reckitt Pakistan’s movement to keep Pakistanis healthy, said Reckitt. A spokesperson told MARKETING-INTERACTIVE that Reckitt plans to launch the mats in other countries as well, therefore making the artwork for the mat open-sourced and available for printing for anyone in the world. The spokesperson also said that Reckitt would be promoting this campaign through utilising a mix of influencer marketing online and on broadcast, as well as a push on social media through its channels.

dettol prayer mat

Humayun Farooq, head of marketing for Reckitt, said that this initiative is in line with Dettol’s promise to be “the symbol of protection against disease and illnesses for people to carry out their daily routine in a safe, hygienic way”, adding that it also fits with Dettol’s larger Hoga Saaf (Safe) Pakistan movement which seeks to work towards a cleaner, healthier, and safe Pakistan since 2017. 

Humayun also said that the social distancing prayer mat serves to act as “another inspirational tool for people to carry out their routines”, such as offering Eid prayers in mosques, in the safest possible way, while reminding them of the government’s SOPs considering the fourth wave of COVID-19.

Earlier this year, Reckitt underwent a brand refresh, rebranding from Reckitt Benckiser to Reckitt in March. Done in partnership with Havas' branding agency Conran Design Group, the company now features a new logo and colour palette, bespoke typography and photography. The evolved colour palette features a highly distinctive and recognisable energy pink as Reckitt's primary brand colour, signifying its perpetual brand energy. Meanwhile, the secondary colours reflect its portfolio of products and connection to a cleaner, healthier world. The list of brands under Reckitt include Air Wick, Clearasil, Dettol, Durex, Enfa, Veet and Strepsils, among others.

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