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Marketing group uses wearable technology to address health problem

By Shelley Seale


Austin, Texas, United States

Sometimes technology can solve some of the most basic problems. In one such case, McCann Worldgroup in Mumbai was able to help children get immunizations.

Partha Sinha, vice chairman and managing director of McCann, shared one of his proudest moments at the company at INMA’s South Asia News Media Conference in New Delhi. He explained how his organisation planned to do a digital intervention — but ended up doing a physical intervention.

“The government of Afghanistan told us that people were not getting immunizations because of lack of education,” Sinha said, nothing that where there is a low rate of literacy, printed newspapers are not effective.

“We thought that we had to do an intervention in the mobile space and create wearable technology,” Sinha said. The team realised that the children there all wore bracelets made of little black beads.

“So we gave different coloured beads to the health workers,” Sinha explained. Green beads were used for polio, while yellow, and red were for other vaccinations. “All the kids were happily wearing them. All the mothers were making sure their kids were wearing them, because it’s actually to ward off evil in their society.”

The effect was that health workers could tell, by the colour of beads a child was wearing, which vaccinations they had received and which ones they needed.

“This is the one which I’m most proud,” Sinha said. “And it just goes to show that, digital is not necessarily a destination. Digital is a delivery. What problem are we solving? That should be the question, and that’s why I’m very proud of this. In the era where everything is digital and wearable tech … this won the Grand Prix in Cannes.”

The jury said that this is possibly the way the future of the world is: looking at a problem in a very direct manner and finding a way to solve it.

About Shelley Seale

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