Newspaper classifieds, men's bathrooms and train walls are flooded with engraved numbers shouting for male attention, seeking them to 'befriend' the girl whose number is imprinted. It is not uncommon to find a few men surreptitiously noting the number for 'future usage', either.
Taking a cue from this behaviour, Mumbai District AIDS Control Committee started an awareness campaign to spread the message -'use condom, when involved in a sexual act.'
Mumbai Districts AIDS Control Society is the Mumbai arm of the National AIDS Control Organisation centrally located in Delhi. The National AIDS Control Organization (NACO) is a body that was formulated by the Government of India to combat the problem of the HIV and AIDS epidemic in the country. NACO is a division of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare that provides leadership to HIV/AIDS control programmes in India through 35 HIV/AIDS Prevention and Control Societies in states to control the epidemic locally.
GroupM created a Dialogue Factory for Mumbai District AIDS Control Society by forming a 'Hotline'. For this campaign, a number (07961609812) was posted on men's restroom walls and on tissue papers in bars. The number was accompanied by a message 'Mujhse Dosti Karoge' (Do you want to be my friend?).
The message sticker was posted in 3,000 public toilets and on 50,000 tissues kept in different bars.
The message enticed men to dial this number. When dialled, the number had a female voice speaking in a very sensuous manner, almost making the listener believe that the call is leading to a round of phone sex. But, to the disappointment of the listener, the message culminated in 'how it is important to use a condom when involved in a sexual act'.
Through the 20-day programme, the number received 10,000 calls every day and 2,00,000 callers received the message. Even after the initiative was over, calls were received for around 147 days. The programme was restricted to Mumbai, but calls arrived from all over India.
The campaign has been shortlisted under various sub-categories such as Best Media Innovation-Ambient Media; Best Media Innovation - Digital (Mobile/Hand Held Devices); Best Media Innovation - Direct Marketing; and Best Media Strategy - Services, among the 126 shortlisted entries.
Emvies will be organised by The Advertising Club Bombay. The awards will be given away on September 3 in Mumbai.