The World Needs a Breather: A clarion call for empathy, sensitivity, compassion…

The India chapter of the International Advertising Association (IAA) has come up with a powerful campaign - ‘The World Needs a Breather’ – to appeal to all segments of the industry to pause and take a deep breath, show more empathy for one another, at this time of crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Says Megha Tata, President, IAA India & Managing Director-South Asia, Discovery Communications India, “This is a phase where everyone we know has experienced or heard of grief and pain and fear. But we seem to forget that this is just a phase. This too shall pass. Wise people have advocated less talk of negativity and more talk of positivity. It is in this spirit of positivity that we at the IAA India Chapter thought to flag what is needed most in our world today - empathy, sensitivity and compassion. We understand the imperatives of ROI, competitiveness and the need to perform well. But the industry, in India and around the world, needs to pause, look around mindfully, and take a deep breath. This sentiment has found expression in our campaign ‘The World Needs a Breather’. I really wish we can look back one day and say we stood together as friends, as support systems for one another, as visionaries who understood the feelings of others, as leaders who confidently weathered the storm.”

The campaign has received immense support from all industry associations. “I am thankful to fellow industry associations like the Indian Society of Advertisers, The Advertising Club and the Advertising Standards Council of India who stood tall and helped amplify this message. This shows that advertisers, ad agencies and the media have taken the message well,” observes Tata. “The response from partners has been wonderful too. Many media houses including the Indian Express, Financial Express, Free Press Journal, Discovery, to name a few, have already put it out in their digital assets. All trade portals have been very supportive. Some Mumbai-centric outdoor exposure is also happening. Big FM is partnering in a national radio burst, and a made-for-radio adaptation has been made already.”

Notably, IAA World President Joel Nettey has taken note of the campaign and is now putting it out to IAA chapters around the world to amplify in many languages.


On the brief received from IAA and creatively translating it into the campaign, Raj Nair, CEO and CCO, Madison BMB, says, “Ramesh Narayan and I had been in conversation for a while regarding putting out a relevant message to do with the times we live in. We hadn’t arrived at a specific endeavour till he called me to ask me if I would help the IAA put a message out to the industry revolving around working through and in spite of the pandemic and all the attendant problems. We agreed that we should create and target the work at the industry, be it advertiser, advertising or media agency and try and appeal to their humane, sensitive side. Also, to make employees feel more cared for by encouraging everyone to allow each other a breather. A little respite from all that is around us.”

The World Needs a Breather: A clarion call for empathy, sensitivity, compassion…

Talking of the creatives that are simple, yet deliver a powerful message, Nair says, “The static posts, the animated GIFs, the outdoor creatives and the radio spot all have a commonality: an appeal to all, whether company or individual, for the need to focus on our compassionate, empathetic sides. The copy across creatives and the art direction deliberately had a sense of urgency built in, with the use of bold typography and red. Fortunately, Ramesh and the IAA liked what we created and we were totally in sync as client and agency and then the messages resonated with people from the industry and many voluntarily came forward to share the campaign. What more could one ask for?”

The Madison BMB team of Rohan Joseph, CD Copy, Vallabh Yeolekar CD Art and Raj Nair worked on the campaign.

The World Needs a Breather: A clarion call for empathy, sensitivity, compassion…

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