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Project Showcase

The Kite Mosquito Patch - Cross-function media and awareness-raising campaign.


One person dies from malaria every minute of every day. This is not fiction. It's fact. My client, ieCrowd, developed the Kite Mosquito Patch, a 2” x 2” adhesive patch that is stuck onto clothes or some other surface (for example, a rucksack, sleeping bag, etc.) and emits a benign scent, generated by proprietary non-toxic compounds, that creates a shield, offering protection for up to 48 hours from attack by mosquitoes, preventing the spread of diseases such as malaria, Zika Virus, West Nile Virus and Dengue Fever.
I spearheaded a cross-discipline media campaign to announce Kite, promote an Indiegogo campaign to raise funding for Ugandan field tests, and raise awareness of the fact that malaria and other mosquito-borne diseases are a daily threat to millions of people around the world, yet are easily preventable with simple preventative measures.

The results speak for themselves: $30m in earned media globally, funding target reached in five days, total funding more than 6x of the target. Massive awareness-raising through 400+ media items.


Scope of work: Strategy, positioning, messaging development, communications, media relations, research, and analysis.

Key results:

  1. Number of recorded media items: 418. 

  2. Advertising Value Equivalent: $30 million (based on rate of $0.004/reader).

  3. Global adult audience reach 3.5 billion.

  4. Exceeded funding target by almost 650%.

Based in Riverside, California, Innovation Economy Crowd (ieCrowd) is a crowd-powered platform designed to transform innovations into solutions to global challenges.
Based on a philosophy of “doing good, doing well, together” ieCrowd’s mission is to acquire innovative assets and transform them into high-growth businesses powered by passionate entrepreneurs – all with the goal of harnessing the social and economic benefits of building innovative companies capable of enhancing the lives of people around the world.
Through utilizing the ‘power of the crowd,’ ieCrowd gives everyone the opportunity to invest in products and services that can actually make a tangible difference in peoples’ lives. In addition, they provide a powerful ecosystem designed to support business growth through an operational infrastructure, capital, and global market access to all its ventures.
ieCrowd’s platform enables the acceleration of new technology to global markets efficiently and rapidly while building a portfolio of high-growth companies built to last. ieCrowd’s mission is simple: To transform innovations into high-growth ventures capable of solving global challenges - all while having a positive social and economic impact.

A new weapon in the fight against malaria

IeCrowd’s first initiative was the Kite™ Mosquito Patch, a significant advancement in the global fight against mosquito-borne diseases such as malaria, West Nile Virus, and Dengue Fever. The ‘Kite Patch’ is the world’s first product containing breakthrough compounds scientifically proven to disrupt the mosquito’s carbon dioxide (CO2) neurons, acting as a non-topical, spatial repellent, blocking mosquitoes’ ability to detect CO2 - their primary method of tracking human blood meals.
The technology underpinning Kite was initially developed by Olfactor Laboratories, Inc. (OLI), an ieCrowd company, and was the culmination of over four years of research and three years of development work on a class of non-toxic compounds, all of which are approved for human consumption by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Malaria remains a devastating public health threat worldwide. Around 3.3 billion* people live in areas where malaria is a real and constant threat. In 2010, there were an estimated 216 million* cases of malaria, of which 655,000 resulted in death, 86 percent of which were children under five years of age. The vast majority of malaria cases, over 91 percent*, occurred in sub-Saharan Africa. Direct costs (for example, illness, treatment, premature death) have been estimated to be at least $12 billion per year. The costs in terms of lost economic growth are many times more.
The product design for Kite™ has focused on delivering the repelling compounds in a simple, affordable, and scalable sticker that can be used by individuals for recreation, work, play, and particularly by those in regions hardest-hit by malaria and other mosquito-borne diseases. Each patch is colorful and bright, reflecting designs and colors important to various communities around the world. 
The Kite™ Mosquito Patch is one of a number of new products within the ‘Kite’ product family, all of which use OLI’s patent-pending, non-toxic compounds to repel, kill, or lure vector insects. Kite platform includes powerful advancements in mosquito lures, non-toxic larvicides, mosquito repellents, and bio-pesticides.
“We want this small patch to change peoples’ lives.  We’re designing Kite to deliver everyone protection from mosquitoes no matter where they are in the world,” commented Grey Frandsen, project lead and Chief Marketing Officer at ieCrowd. “It will provide a new level of protection for children in Uganda, for young families in South Africa, and hikers in Seattle or Wyoming or Florida seeking a safer, socially-responsible solution. We built Kite to be simple and affordable - a small colorful sticker that will appeal to children and adults and survive the rigors of extreme climates, playtime, or outdoor recreation. Kite technology can be a true game-changer.”
* Source: Center for Disease Control (CDC)

The Kite media campaign
Kite was launched via a media campaign that broke the same day that a funding campaign was launched on Indiegogo’s crowdfunding site. The initial funding goal was $75,000, which would help to pay for the first Kite Mosquito Patches to be built and tested in districts of Uganda hardest hit by malaria. ieCrowd partnered with Pilgrim Africa, an NGO with operations in Uganda, to implement the field test, from which the data will be utilized to complete the manufacturing process and be used to begin scaling production of the Kite Mosquito Patch.

The Scoop


The Kite™Mosquito Patch is a 2” x 2” adhesive patch that is stuck onto clothes or some other surface (for example, a rucksack, sleeping bag, etc.) and emits a benign scent, generated by non-toxic compounds, that creates a shield, offering protection for up to 48 hours from attack by mosquitoes, preventing the spread of diseases such as malaria, West Nile Virus and Dengue Fever.        
Kite was developed by ieCrowd through their subsidiary, Olfactor Laboratories, building on initial research conducted at the University of California, Riverside.
The campaign brief was to announce the Kite Patch, highlight the technology and promote an Indiegogo campaign being run to raise funds for field trials of the patch in Uganda.
Tank Design, ieCrowd’s creative agency based in Boston, MA., worked with Agency Brazil, their partner PR agency based in London, and I worked with Tank and Agency Brazil as the United States lead for PR and media relations. Our brief was to create the narrative behind the Kite story and publicize this to raise awareness of the product, ieCrowd as a company, and the Indiegogo campaign.

Campaign planning and strategy:

  • Planning, briefing, and a strategy-setting day at the client office in Riverside, CA was instrumental in honing our messages and plan of attack.

  • Key influencer research – As Kite would have a broad appeal (business, lifestyle, consumer, health, technology, innovation across broadcast, web, and print), both nationally and internationally significant research was undertaken in advance of the campaign breaking, to include key editorial contacts, bloggers. producers, with bespoke pitches created for each segment and platform.

  • Campaign timeline – developed to chart key dates of Kite Patch development and the activities associated with each date.

  • Campaign activity report – the heartbeat – an overview of all activities within the campaign. For example, news release schedule, interview schedule, materials creation, and so on.

News releases:

  • Kite launch release – Drafting and editing of the release, including research into malaria statistics to underpin the news. Pitch development and story sell-in to media.

  • Distribution via targeted email to key influencers.

  • Kite campaign wrap release – When the Indiegogo campaign concluded, we drafted, edited, pitched, and distributed the ‘wrap’ release.

Media Briefings/Interviews:

  • Press office: I acted as the ieCrowd/Kite press office, conducting outreach, fielding media calls, and responding to media requests. Maintained outreach and direct dialogue on 544 occasions with the media.

  • In addition, I made 300+ indirect contacts via media distribution.

  • 42 interviews were arranged (TV, radio, phone, Skype audio and video, and email).

TV and Web video news:

  • CNN – Live on-air interview with a senior executive.

  • Network 9 (Australia) – Today Weekend show – Live on-air interview with a senior executive.

  • Yahoo!/ABC – ‘This Could Be Big’ segment – interview with a senior executive.

  • KSL, Kansas City – News piece using b-roll and images.

  • ABC 7 News (Los Angeles) – Video segment – interviews with senior executive and lead scientist.

  • Studio 11 Fox LA – News item with b-roll video.

  • Right This Minute – Segment and interview with an executive.

  • Fast Company ‘Change Generation’ – Three-minute piece. Interviews with senior management and scientist.

  • RTL TVI Belgium – Footage and images supplied for news item.

  • CBS Channel One News – B-roll video supplied for a segment.

  • Al Jazeera America – Three different interviews aired.

  • Fox Tampa – Interview with ieCrowd executive.

Radio interviews:

  • BBC World Service Morning Show – interview with a senior executive.

  • BBC Newsday – interview with a senior executive.

  • Newstalk 1290 CJBK (Canada) – interview with a senior executive.

  • John Gormley Live (Canada) – interview with a senior executive.

  • Voice of America’s Daybreak Africa – interview with a senior executive.

  • Open For Business (Malaysia) – interview with CEO.

African Media:

  • Iroko Heritage – dedicated article on Kite and a follow-up article on the campaign’s success.

  • Mark Schenkel – Q&A and associated materials for an article on malaria in Uganda.

Business Media:

  • Fast Company – dedicated article.

  • Entrepreneur – dedicated article.

  • Business Week – dedicated article.

  • Forbes – dedicated article.

  • Wired – dedicated article.

  • Txchnologist – dedicated article.

  • SciDevNet – dedicated article.

  • Technology Review (Germany) – supplied images and background.

  • Tech Cocktail – provided info and images.

  • NJ Tech Reviews - provided materials for review.

  • Architektin (Home magazine group) – provided materials for editorial. 

News Media:

  • Seattle Times – article on malaria solutions.

  • NRK Finland.

  • El Definido (Chile).

  • For The Cool – write up with input from us.

  • Info (Brazil) – sent info, images, etc.

  • Sustainable Brands – Provided info, images, etc.

  • Drake Magazine – Provided Q&A.

  • Necessary Coolness – Provided material.

  • Matador Network – sent images and info for editorial.

  • MyBaba – UK parenting/mom site – sent images and info.


  • Kickstarted – feature-length documentary – ieCrowd will be included in this.

  • The Cure – Al Jazeera – 20-minute documentary to be filmed around Kite.

Key Results

  • On the day of Kite™ Patch going live on Indiegogo, news about the product broke across the globe. Coverage appeared in countries from the United States, UK, and Uganda, to Mexico, Morocco, Canada, and Korea, with a combined circulation of over 7.4 billion people.

  • The story hit print, broadcast, and online news, as well as blogs and social media, with 2,350 people mentioning “Kite Patch”, #ALittleStickerChangingTheWorld and #HelpFlyKite on Twitter, generating over 6,100 retweets.

  • The $75,000 target was reached within four days of the crowdfunding initiative, and Kite™ remained the number one most popular project on Indiegogo throughout its funding period.

  • The funding target was exceeded by more than $480,000. Kite raised $557,254 - over 640% of the original goal.

  • More than a quarter of a million (271,449) Kite Patches reserved in the limited six-week offering,

  • Notable Mention: Bill Gates tweeted about Kite Patch to over 12 million people.

  • Created global demand - #1 most popular campaign on Indiegogo for four of six weeks; #1 most funded in 'Small Business' category ever on Indiegogo (to date).

  • Generated global media coverage in only six weeks, including CNN, ABC, NBC, Fox, Al Jazeera, Wired, BBC, Forbes, Fast Co., Entrepreneur. The Kite Patch campaign was featured in over 400 publications and TV and radio broadcasts with $0 ad spend.

  • The campaign went viral on day four, and continued to grow in popularity throughout the entire six-week campaign,

  • The amazing thing is that as KIte has developed and moved to field trials, enhancements, and so on, the story has continued to garner coverage, years down the line from the initial launch.

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