Catch It. Bin It. Kill it – inspiring and uninspiring advertising

If you live in London or in the UK, it is impossible not to have noticed the Department of Health and NHS advertisements on how we can contain cold and influenza germs and avoid infecting surfaces by using a tissue to catch a sneeze or cough. The campaign was made because of the recent H1N1 flu pandemic, also known as swine flu pandemic. The campaign shows how fast germs can spread by a person sneezing in various surroundings and visualizing how the particles spread by painting them white or green. The copy of the advertisements is simple: “Cold and flu germs can live on some surfaces for hours. Always carry tissues with you and use them to catch your cough or sneeze. Bin the tissue, and to kill germs, wash your hands with soap and water, or use a sanitiser gel. This is the best way to help slow the spread of flu.”. The first series of ads, ended with the strapline: “Catch it. Bin it. kill it”.

This is very simple, efficient and inspiring advertising. Lately, we have also seen some commercial advertising that capitalises on the success of the “Catch it. Bin it. Kill it” NHS campaign to sell various cleaning products. The advertisements sometimes use the exact catchphrase of the NHS campaign or minor modifications and sometimes they use similar images. This is uninspiring advertising.

Below are some samples I could find:

Advertisement for antiviral tissues, using the same strapline as the NHS campaign

Advertisement for antibacterial soap, using similar strapline as the NHS campaign


Advertisement for cleaning liquid, using similar images as the NHS campaign

I do not have any objection with companies and advertising agencies supporting the NHS campaign by embedding the strapline in their advertisement, although I do have some objections if the public associate the strapline with a particular product. It’s just that if one company can do this, so can another, which is evidently what happened in this case, making the idea of associating a product with the strapline of another campaign unoriginal.

And a small note for the public: you do not need a particular brand of antibacterial soap or cleaning detergent to get rid of flu germs and unwanted bacteria. If you do your cleaning properly, a simple soap or ordinary detergent is equally efficient in removing all traces of flu germs.


P.S.: You may also want watch the NHS “Catch it. Bin it. Kill it” TV ads.


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