Brands On Bandwagons – Paak Saaf Pakistan

Being part of the millennial generation, all of us have witnessed being taught the importance of cleanliness through animations and other marketing tactics. Pakistani brands, whether hygiene products or not, love to make campaigns and ads that promote the idea of a clean and green Pakistan, and maybe some of them succeed in getting their point across as well. But how accurate are they? And what kind of change have they led to? I intend to discuss those pointers in this blog. Let’s have a look!

Superheroes for a Clean Pakistan

We all remember the storm that Commander Safeguard caused in all our lives with his only aim in life: to keep Pakistan clean and beat all his rivals. The superhero became an instant hit among children after being introduced. The Commander may have gotten instantly famous, but he isn’t the only superhero rooting for a clean Pakistan. Lifebuoy has got their own Dr. Lifebuoy beating down bad guys and spreading the message for a cleaner and greener Pakistan by following proper hygiene.

While they’re conveying the right message to their target audience, i.e. kids, in a tone the audience will understand, are they getting the point across to stick? Kids aren’t the only ones who litter or don’t care for hygiene. For our country, kids and adults alike do their part in the inferior quality of hygiene. And while brands keep making adverts to spread the message of a cleaner Pakistan, the question is, are they even following the idea themselves? Or is this just another way to jump on a bandwagon they don’t even know how to create an impact for?

Coronavirus & Pakistan ki Hifazat

When the Covid-19 pandemic hit the subcontinent, every Pakistani brand, from hygiene to the food industry got in on the bandwagon of promoting SOPs through their socials and ads to make people follow the proper guidelines to keep themselves and their loved ones safe. Even Commander Safeguard made a comeback with his Paak Paak Pakistan message on our screens.

It’s true that, although the country suffered huge losses because of the pandemic, the intensity of it did not hit this small part of the world as drastically as it did others, even as close as our own next-door neighbors India. We could argue about the reasons for that all day, but there’s no doubt that every brand did its part to promote following the proper SOPs. With Lifebuoy going as far as using the names of their competitors and urging people to use any brand but keep themselves clean at all costs.

Dettol started a ‘Saaf Hoga Pakistan’ campaign to promote the idea of keeping Pakistan cleaner. Its anthem from 2019 generated over 2 Million views across the country and it’s gotten a lot of positive feedback from citizens.
Dettol also released another anthem to promote their cleanliness campaign during the peak of the pandemic, asking people to be mindful of the SOPs despite the ease in lockdown, and follow the guidelines necessary to keep themselves and others around them safe.

Having read the blog so far you’d think Pakistan should, by this point, be among the cleanest of countries in the world. From informative to emotional messages, and anthems promoting cleanliness, we would think we should have learned by now. But I’d suggest you don’t fall for the heroics done on screen. Because when it comes down to it, the reality is quite the opposite.

Paak Saaf Pakistan – Just Another Hoax?

Forget personal hygiene, forget Covid-19, forget everything and think of the monsoon season that occurred in Sindh a month ago. From the streets being filled with water up to 3-4 feet high to hundreds of people risking injuries and losing their lives and huge buildings being at risk of falling, the condition wasn’t less than a catastrophe. From villages to urban areas, everyone suffered tremendously.

Not only that but in 2017, a report was released that stated Pakistan is the 7th worst country when it comes to access to sanitation, with about 79 million people lacking access to a decent toilet and about 37% of our population lacking a proper system for waste disposal, that leads to a dangerous risk of contracting bacteria and other viruses. 3 years later, the situation isn’t much better.

According to a 2018 report, due to the lack of proper waste and drainage systems in the country, children, especially those belonging to rural areas, are at an increased risk of stunted growth. 25 million people in the country do not have access to proper sanitation, and a UNICEF report stated that about 53k children under the age of 5, die of diarrhea due to poor sanitation and lack of access to pure water.

In 2019, the Sindh Government introduced a cleanliness drive that would clean up the cities. But it turned out the drive ended up polluting the province in worse ways than actually cleaning them.

Looking at all of this, one gets inclined to ask that when brands portray such huge messages of cleanliness, are they even doing anything to implement the message in the country? Even the government is not taking sanitation problems seriously enough to solve them yet, then how are the citizens going to follow through? Is cleanliness yet another bandwagon everyone climbs on to make themselves feel relevant? Or is it something that will ever be practically implemented?
We all want a cleaner, greener Pakistan. But what exactly are we doing to bring those changes in our lives and our surroundings? It’s not just the responsibility of brands, or the state, or the citizens alone. Everyone needs to come together and cooperate to make sure we find the change we need to bring in the country when it comes to developing into a cleaner nation.

Maha Abdul Rehman

A content writer and a psychology major, I procrastinate for 6 months or write consecutively. And I occasionally watch (see: obsess about) Football.

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