These are very stressful times. After a long day of working from home, you simply want to snooze off, when suddenly numerous thoughts creep into your mind: “When will the lockdown get over? How will things be in the new normal? Will we ever go back to our old lives? Will tomorrow be a different day?” And, whoosh goes your sleep. Minutes ago, you were yawning, and now you are left staring at the ceiling with eyes wide open. Actually, you are not alone. According to a Deloitte survey, India’s anxiety score due to COVID-19 fallout is the highest at 33, followed by Mexico (17) and Spain (14).
So, Peps Industries decided to address this very issue with its new campaign. “We wanted to do something useful and relevant during the lockdown period, that would help people sleep better,” says K Madhavan, Managing director, Peps Industries. Thus, the disruptive idea of BedTalks was brought to life.
Now, how do you feel after listening to a TED talk? Energised, motivated and ready to conquer the world? Well, Peps Industries’ spin on the inspiring talks will make you feel the exact opposite. BedTalks, conceptualised by Bengaluru-based Phantom Ideas, is designed to be the most tedious and boring ad campaign ever and hence the perfect lullaby to put you to sleep. “It is a light-hearted take on the famous speaking platform. So, we also decided to play with the font of BedTalks in a similar way,” says Robert Anthoney, founder and chief creative officer of Phantom Ideas. And by the same logic, ‘ideas worth spreading’ became ‘ideas worth the snoring’.
Till date, the company has posted four BedTalks on its social media platforms. The snooze-worthy topics discussed in these 10-13 minute long videos are: Biodiversity of snails in forest ecosystems of Brazil; Accounting history of debt contracting; cognitive effects of cornflakes on emotional well-being, and study of perforation patterns in flowers. You didn’t really read the topics, did you? The episodes are also topped off with psychedelic visuals to tire your eyes and a very matter-of-fact voiceover that is guaranteed to put you to sleep.
“We did not want to make another uplifting stay-at-home ad. We wanted to do address the issue at hand but in a unique way,” says Anthoney. But, pulling this off was not easy. After going through several research documents on history, biology, mathematics and the likes, the team zeroed in on the topics. Given the lockdown, they had to coordinate with a voiceover artist in Pune and supervise him over video calls. “He was instructed to record his voice in a deadpan way,” explains Anthoney.
Many calls and video conferences later, the first episode was ready in a week. And all the hard work did pay off. The campaign has garnered over 1.2 million impressions on Facebook and has reached more than 1.3 million people on Instagram. Elated with the response, Peps Industries and Phantom Ideas have already started work on more episodes for the coming months. “I think this is probably the first time that advertising tried so hard to put people to sleep,” says Anthoney.
So the next time you are anxiously staring at the ceiling in the middle of the night, you know exactly what to do.