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2022 Next Creative Leaders Work - NCL Work

The Zero Straw

Agency Sarah Guessoum

Client NCL 2022 | Sarah Guessoum


NCL 2022

Annual ID


Project Type


Client Name
Clemenceau Medical Center Beirut

Client URL

My Role in This Project
Conceptualizer + Art Director.
Created the idea then lead and developed the full campaign from start to finish including support in product design, lab experimentation, designing in store materials and social activation

I partnered up with a product engineer who helped me build a working prototype. 19 prototypes later, we had a design that worked and looked good! We then took the working concept to a team of designers in Brazil to tweak the design for mass production and convinced a hospital in Lebanon to finance the whole operation and kick it off with their diabetic patients. It was a humbling experience to be able to help others in that way and have a positive impact on people’s lives.

POV: For a type 1 diabetic, prevention is better than cure. But how does one create a solution aimed at preventing sugar overdoses among type 1 diabetics when they are confronted with label-less
beverages at public places that could contain harmful sugars? The answer can’t and shouldn’t be to always ask waiters or hosts. What if they aren’t sure? What if they’re wrong? What if they simply
don’t know? Especially since beverage safety regulations in restaurants are fairly lenient. What’s more, choosing abstinence and settling for water is not a life diabetics should be doomed to. The
solution had to be something innovative, user-friendly, and easily understood by everyone regardless of background or educational level. Something that could act as a sugar radar. It would be imperative to make it available everywhere, which would undoubtedly lead to greater awareness on this often sidelined issue.

Project Description
425 million people in the world have diabetes. Half a million of them live in Lebanon. Type 1 diabetics in particular lead a life on the lookout. Because they don’t produce insulin, they need to watch their sugar intake religiously, as any sugar “overdose” can lead to dangerously high blood sugar spikes. Since sugars in drinks are absorbed almost instantly, any mishap can result indisastrous consequences, including blurred vision, loss of consciousness, and even coma. This is challenging for type 1 diabetic Lebanese in particular because social activities - that naturally involve beverages - are essential parts of their lives. That’s precisely the crux of the problem: The beverages served at restaurants usually come in label-less cups; making it incredibly difficult for diabetics to know which ones contain sugar. Relying on the judgement of busy waiters who’re
juggling countless orders means every drink comes with an immense health risk. Partnering with the Clemenceau Medical Center in Beirut – a clinic with its own endocrinology department that specializes in the treatment and management of diabetes – we invented and introduced: The Zero Straw. An innovative self-test that’s able to alert type 1 diabetics of potentially harmful sugars in their drinks – simply by changing color. Using technology developed by the clinic, the paper straw’s material is infused with enzymes that turn a bright green once dipped in a drink that contains glucose. On completion of a successful prototype approved by the FDA, the Zero Straw was given to 3,687 diabetic patients at the Clemenceau Medical Center and distributed at a number of major restaurants in Beirut. All for free. Additionally, in the first few weeks of the campaign launch, conversation about the Zero Straw had reached over 2.1 million people (that’s four times the number

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