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Behind the campaign: Isobar India’s creative director discusses #ItsOnYou for Adidas

The Drum Network recently caught up with Anish Varghese, national creative director of Isobar India, to discuss the agency’s work on the innovative and counter-intuitive digital campaign #ItsOnYou for Adidas.

Isobar recently launched #ItsOnYou for Adidas – can you tell us a bit more about the concept?

Adidas was looking to expand its community of runners, targeting women non-runners. To do this, we identified the external motivation that women search for to run, and make them realise that there’s something above it all. This philosophy of ‘the onus is on oneself’ was introduced with the communication #ItsOnYou. We came up with a digital film with a counter-intuitive concept, which instead of giving women reasons to run, made them realise the fact that it’s on them to get up and go run.

The idea that ‘no external motivation can drive women to run, nor can anything hold them back’, is an empowering message. What did it feel like to be part of such a positive campaign?

#ItsOnYou is more than a digital campaign for us. It’s a message, a mantra to everyone who’s looking for inspiration. It’s the voice of conscience saying that it’s on you, me, every one of us, individually, to achieve what we want to. The message of #ItsOnYou actually goes beyond just running. It’s a simple, befitting and yet powerful mantra for women, reminding them that whatever they choose to do in life, the first and foremost thing that can push them forward, is themselves.

The film shows a more diverse group of women exercising than we normally see in sports brand advertising – was that a conscious choice?

The campaign was focused on spreading the love of running. What better way to do it than with real runners? In the digital film, we have only involved real runners, who share the same passion for running as the brand.

The spot also shows women running across urban locations – where was this filmed? And why was that location chosen?

The film has been shot in two of India’s major cities, Delhi and Mumbai – our primary markets as well. The locales you see in the film are the few of the most popular running locations in the two cities. Again, with real runners, running at real locations, we wanted to bring alive the passion for running.

The campaign uses digital specifically to target runners, especially female non-runners – why did the campaign choose to use digital over any other media format?

Digital content consumption is on a rise in India, with over 77% of urban users accessing internet over mobile. Data proves that the majority of us turn to the internet to look for motivation – be it in the form of inspirational posts, self-help blogs or scores of videos on ‘how to be better’. Digital gave us a plank to be present where everyone is searching for motivation, but with a paradoxical message. We released a film with a counter-intuitive concept to motivate non-runners to run by NOT motivating them.

Female empowerment is a hot topic in a global conversation about gender diversity – how do you think brands should engage with big cultural issues like this?

Thanks to the rise of digital, brands today have a big advantage – of getting heard, of changing perceptions, of bringing about reforms. There are numerous brands who are doing their bit around gender diversity. We believe, to engage with big cultural issues like female empowerment, the best way to go about it is to keep everything real. Real people. Real stories. Real conversations. Nothing can be more empowering than showcasing real life stories and achievements.

How successful has the campaign been to date? Is there anything you would have done differently?

#ItsOnYou delivered great results. To date, the campaign has achieved 29 million impressions and garnered INR 2 million in earned media, with over 3.4 million video views. We would’ve loved to extend our message to outdoors. Another impactful way to engage non-runners would’ve been to show them our message, when they are involved in other activities, like shopping, eating out or riding in a cab.

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