Halls: Halls’ Breathe the Change: 200,000 Breaths That Changed the Life of a Village

Campaign Summary

Halls is the leading menthol mint in the Indian market, providing fresh breath as an intense cooling candy. To expand awareness and provide a measurable social impact, Halls measured 200,000 breaths from consumers and harnessed that as power in a small village in Maharashtra to power a windmill. The campaign foundation rested on a simple Interactive Voice Response (IVR) solution via mobile phone, with a toll-free number where users could breathe into their phones and leave a breath recording.

Strategy and Execution

The initial challenge of the “Breathe the Change” campaign was to find a method that could collect and measure breaths; they couldn’t be captured through TV or radio, and not every consumer had a PC microphone. Interactive Voice Response (IVR) was the best solution, which was gathered via mobile phone using a toll-free number where callers could breathe into their phones to leave a recording of their breath.

Halls wanted to collect 200,000 breaths from consumers, which would be turned into electricity for a small village in the Maharashtra countryside through the instillation of a windmill.

Mobile was the only option to target consumers using an exact device (i.e., smartphones). More than 80 percent of mobile users in India are aged 18 to 35. To accommodate India’s many languages, the IVR was implemented with six language options, which automatically played the relevant language based on the state where the user placed the call. Callers from Bengal, for example, would receive the IVR prompt in Bengali first, followed by Hindi (India’s official language). Campaign outreach was initiated to millions of users using the mobile Internet and SMS.

Mobile Internet also helped the campaign because it supported a “Click to Call!” ad unit. When users saw the Halls banner, they could click to call to “donate” their breath. The execution choice of IVR ensured that 100 percent of mobile users could participate and that no special or expensive devices were necessary. 

The campaign kicked off on Earth Hour, when everyone turns off their lights for an hour, which provided a platform to specifically communicate the power of electricity — showing users that while living without electricity for one hour was difficult, living without it all was exponentially more challenging.


The best way to measure the campaign results was to consider that the Debramal village in Maharashtra had no electricity, even 60 years after India’s independence. On May 11, 2013, Halls installed the windmill and gave Debramal light.

In terms of the campaign itself, “Breathe the Change” delivered more than 147,000 breaths from mobile, with over 70 percent of the contributions coming from mobile. The campaign ran for just 75 days, but brought electricity after 60 years of independence — now that’s social change.

Categories: Social Impact/Not For Profit | Industries: Food, Beverage, Tobacco | Objectives: Social Impact/Not For Profit | Awards: Silver Winner