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Saudia reveals sanitising prayer beads for pilgrims globally

Every year, millions of pilgrims from around the world travel to Makkah for the pilgrimages Hajj and Umrah. These are the world’s largest annual human gatherings.

To help retain the best health and safety measures, as Saudi Arabia’s national airline, and the “world’s most popular airline for religious travel” to Makkah, Saudia has created a new innovative product for all its guests to have a healthier and sanitary pilgrimage journey.

ProtecTasbih, created by Saudia’s creative agency partners are the first prayer beads that sanitise hands.

ProtecTasbih have been distributed to Saudia guests, as they journey to pilgrimage and were handed out across the holy city of Makkah.

During the development of the formulation, the team came up with several challenges.

They could not use anything using any alcohol owing to religious reasons. Alcohol is what’s commonly used for antibacterial and sanitising products. So, they had to look at natural potential solutions.

Further research brought us to tea tree.

Tea tree oil is found to be effective against a broad spectrum of bacteria because it disrupts the cell membrane of the bacteria itself. Once the agency chose tea tree oil as the sanitising element, they had to integrate it into a semi-solid compound.

And then, they developed a way of creating a solid bead, covered in this softer compound. They did that by developing a molding technique.

For the product to be successful, it had to seamlessly integrate into the user’s practices. That meant we had to match the aesthetics to existing prayer beads on the market.

The team also looked at the different environments that the beads would come under, such as being handed out on an airplane, which is an air-conditioned environment and then taken on a pilgrimage, which is outdoors in a very warm climate. So, those tests ensured the beads could withstand both climates and be used in these temperatures.

Additionally, once the beads’ compound shell is completely used up after the duration of the pilgrimage that it is designed to last for, there is a core-shell underneath that allows the product to continue to be used as prayer beads, leading to zero waste.


Agencies: Leo Burnett Saudi Arabia and Saatchi & Saatchi Dubai
Chief Executive Officer: Bassel Kakish
Chief Strategy Officer: Tahaab Rais
Business Lead: Samir Antoun
Creative: Kelly Tomes Bristow
Chief Creative Officer: Sebastien Boutebel
Head of Production: Shereen Mostafa
Business Director: Makram El-Khatib
Senior Creative Director: Rita Harbie
Hagall Muniz: Creative Director
Senior Manager: Julia Masri
Creative Director: Yasmin Sindi
Copywriter: Khalid Maina
Copywriter: Sheikha AlOtaibi
Producer: Joumana J. Haddad
Producer: Omar Gamal
Senior Producer: Aly El Esseily

Product development: D&F Labs, Aetha Product Design, and Dejavu
Tahaab Rais – Product Consultancy
Manasvi Gosalia – Founder and Executive Producer
Shamsher Walia – Founder
Tom Parsons – Founder and Creative Director
Michael O’Driscoll – Senior Product Designer

Production company: Liwa Content.Driven
Sagar Rege – Found and Executive Producer
Shweta Sandeep – Senior Producer
Jessica Pereira – Producer

Influencer marketing agency: MKVDigital
Managing Director: Asiya Ali
Director – PR, Comms & Influencers: Shafaq Tariq
Director – Accounts & Client Service: Waqas B