Art of Washing Hands

Georgia-Pacific Professional wanted to encourage the development of good hand washing habits for young audiences (kindergarten through first grade). Because this audience doesn’t consume news media, Howard, Merrell & Partners needed a unique outlet to reach them.

Howard, Merrell & Partners developed and executed a national campaign with Weekly Reader, a weekly magazine for school-aged children, to promote the proper way to wash and dry hands. The age-appropriate materials offered free and useful tools that teachers, parents and school nurses could use to help instill proper hand washing practices among children. The information was distributed during National Clean Hands Week, since hand washing would already be presented in the elementary curriculum.

Howard, Merrell & Partners developed an entire program which included age-appropriate messaging and activities. They included a hand washing magazine insert and poster featuring Mo, the Georgia-Pacific Professional hand washing mascot, and all the germs he fights off. These pieces were used to help remind children to wash their hands,

Four wrist bands were also created, in the shapes of Mo and some cartoon germs.

Everything drove to a website – – which was full of activities and learning tools and gave teachers the chance to order Icky bands for their students.

To support the program, trade announcements were developed and targeted at school and pediatric audiences, a consumer announcement for parenting magazines and blogs, and a nationally syndicated article. All were distributed the same week as the Weekly Reader materials in an effort to build awareness of the free materials available on

During our three-month push, the Weekly Reader insert was so successful that Howard, Merrell & Partners had to fulfill extra materials requests. More than 115,000 unique visitors have explored the website to download the free materials and request Icky Bands. Our media outreach coverage has blanketed the country with more than 1,000 hits and a concentration of coverage on the East Coast.