The idea came from one of our own writers, Subodh Menon. This was very much part of the ongoing What An Idea Sirji campaign. The new message had to fit in under that umbrella yet be different. It was Subodhs observation that technology was making people lazy in India. Also, people have been so used to landlines that whenever they got calls, they would either sit down or stop to speak whereas you dont necessarily need to do this while talking on the mobile phone. Its ironical that while its called mobile, its use makes people immobile. So, we thought that if we convey to people that if they walked while they talked, it will, without compromising on the basic function of talking, bring in an additional benefit of keeping fit. So it was a tongue-and-cheek solution that we made look a lot more interesting through our creative inputs in the advertisements we subsequently came up with.
Which element of the campaign, according to you, made it so popular
I think its the simplicity of the idea. Staying fit has become a primary concern for most of us today. Its indeed a crying need for everybody. And here, an advertisement provided a simple solution to it. So its the simple idea that appealed to people. Also, like I mentioned, we translated the idea into interesting and entertaining commercials. If the commercials couldnt carry through the idea, it wouldnt have been so popular.
Wasnt coming up with one ad after the other on the same theme a big challenge How did you make sure viewers wouldnt get bored with the same idea
Its very simple. You have got to do the hard work. You have got to make sure each idea is a lot more powerful than the last one. The moment there is a weak idea, the whole effort falls flat.
How has been the experience of being associated with such a long-running campaign
I am attached to all the Idea commercials as I have been part of the whole journey. There are small little incidents that make it all the more special. Let me share one. Recently, an insurance agent had come to meet Subodh. He did not know Subodh was the man who created the Walk When You Talk ad. His 18-year old son was also with him and during the meeting the son got a call. While he was talking, he said: Mujhe walk and talk karne ki zarurat nahi. Ttu kar mote (I dont need to walk and talk, you do that, fatty!). There have been many incidents like these and it makes the whole experience very special; one feels one has created something that has become part of the daily lives of people.
Has the campaign helped Idea ring in better revenues
This was not product advertising. I dont think the campaign will have a direct impact on sales because its thematic advertising. Its trying to showcase Idea as a brand full of ideas. So its basically building affinity for the brand. It would have added to the brand imagery of Idea.