It’s marketing 101 to know your consumer – what they care about, who they trust and what their routines look like. But having a deep understanding of consumer behavior can do more than help your organization push more product — it can also help solve pressing social or environmental issues.

Heineken’s SP Lager, popular in Papua New Guinea, has launched a new effort to fight malaria grounded on the insight of how its consumers like to enjoy their beer. The brand found that consumers in that region prefer to drink beer in the evening by a bonfire, using the empty beer boxes as fuel. Yet, this tradition of being outside also means consumers are more exposed to malaria-carrying mosquitoes – compounded with the fact that researchers found beer actually attracts mosquitoes. To address this problem, SP Lager innovated its packaging by spraying eucalyptus (a natural mosquito pesticide) on each box. When the “Mozzie Box” is torn apart and burned in the fire, it releases a mosquito deterrent, keeping tradition alive while protecting consumers from the deadly disease. Although the eucalyptus-perfumed fire may not be a fool-proof protection against malaria, it does provide an extra safeguard while respecting Papua New Guinea citizens’ customs and behaviors.

The success of the Mozzie Box exemplifies how global brands can leverage consumer insights for greater social impact. By understanding the traditions and daily life of its consumer base and how they were using both the product and its packaging, SP Lager learned more than just how to better market to consumers – it also found how it could help mitigate a major health issue.

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