Some campaigns are meant to be just stories to relish and relive, that leave a mark in-erasable. The Vicks Touch Of Care series is one of those. We sit with the brand-agency duo to know how the idea evolved and what’s in store next
In March 2017, Vicks set out on a mission to deliver the ‘Touch Of Care’ that everyone deserves, especially children who have had to face life’s greatest difficulties such as abandonment, disabilities, or even social prejudices. When the first film under the campaign ‘Generation of Care’ went live, it broke the internet and the world was all praises for Gauri – the transgender woman who against all odds in raising and caring for Gayatri with deep compassion and love. The story reflected the challenges that Gauri faced from society.
In conversation with Social Samosa, Himanshu Tewary, Senior Director and Category Head, Personal Healthcare at Procter & Gamble and Ajay Thrivikraman, CCO, Global Clients, Publicis Singapore speak at length about the various facets and the ideas that gave life to Vicks #TouchOfCare.
Vicks – A Legacy Of Care
Consumers have become mindful about choosing brands that reflect their values, going beyond functional benefits or uses of the product. According to the brand, The Vicks’ legacy has been one of ‘Care’ and the transformative power that care can bring about in human lives for decades.
In 2017, the first Vicks #TouchOfCare campaign came about by looking at the brand through the lens of a millennial consumer – understanding these values and how they influence the world around them. With increasing urbanization and families becoming nuclear, the people who care for us also become family, be it a neighbor or even a stranger. This was the core insight that the #TouchOfCare was based on.
“What started as a campaign has today grown into a movement, reinstating the power of care by bringing real-life extraordinary stories of care to the fore. These efforts over the years have strengthened the brand’s equity and its association with care,” says Himanshu Tewary.
Stories Of #TouchOfCare
Vicks- Generation of Care 2017 (10Mn views)
The first #TouchofCare film in 2017 highlighted how through care, families are formed beyond biological ties, breaking stereotypes and demonstrating how anyone can be a mother. The story focused on an orphan, Gayatri, and her transgender mother Gauri Sawant, and received an overwhelming response from people across the world.
Vicks- One In a Million 2019 (22Mn views)
The second film, brought to light the story of Nisha, a girl born with Ichthyosis – a genetic skin condition who was abandoned by her biological parents at birth. The campaign’s focus was to turn the strides of rejection for specially-abled children into acceptance by driving awareness on how we too can change someone’s life with a #TouchOfCare, just like Nisha, whose life took a positive turn with the unconditional love and care extended by her adoptive parents.
Vicks – Care Lives On (37 Mn views)
The third edition of #TouchOfCare is a tribute to the extraordinary acts of care, courage, and bravery of Late Dr. Bhosale and the Doctors’ community across the nation. Dr. Dnyaneshwar Bhosale ensured that many less fortunate children receive life-saving medical attention during the pandemic. He, like many other healthcare workers, was gone too soon, leaving behind his wife, kids, and his dreams of building his own pediatric hospital. The film is a solemn reminder that like Dr. Bhosale, hundreds of doctors lost their lives during the pandemic leaving their families and dreams behind.
Ajay Thrivikraman shares, “We wanted to celebrate the brand’s legacy of Care and this inspired us to look for real-life stories among the vulnerable sections of our society, those who reach out with healing hands of care despite challenges that come their way.”
The Coming Through Of Touch Of Care
Every production of Vicks #TouchOfCare, Thrivikraman highlights, has been unique in itself with so much to learn from and take away. “There are so many people involved in making Vicks #TouchOfCare possible and rallying around a single cause to ensure the story is given a voice in a way that it is meant to be told,” he adds.
For a campaign film like Vicks #TouchOfCare, the choice of directors is key. “Filmmakers, Neeraj Ghaywan who made the first film, and Anand Gandhi who collaborated with us on the other two both add a unique lens of storytelling with a tremendous amount of sensitivity and care. Tying this all together are the agencies, our strategy, creative and communications teams at Publicis Singapore and 2020 MSL along with the client and the real people narrating their stories.”
The Vicks #TouchOfCare film, this year was shot under very different circumstances. The creative team was in Singapore unable to travel to India due to restrictions so the agency had to execute production remotely. “Which was very tough and heartbreaking for us in some ways but an incredible effort from the team in India,” shares Thrivikraman.
Also Read: #BrandSaga: Vicks India’s touch of care…
Mrs. Priyanka Bhosale lives in a remote area in Latur so connectivity and network access was a challenge. Despite this, Thrivikraman recollects, director Anand Gandhi had multiple rounds of conversations with her over the phone, an emotional experience for her as she relieved her memories so it was important for each of the team members to be sensitive and hold space as well.
He adds, “We brought Mrs. Bhosale down to Mumbai for the last few shots, as we wanted her to be a part of the film and the journey. It would not have been possible without her support and patience with us. Dr. Bhosale’s sacrifices on the backdrop of everything that is happening with our doctors’ community, the pressures and challenges that they and their families face was an eye-opener.”
The story of Dr. Bhosale crossed 30 million views on YouTube in under ten days of its launch. Taking a 360-degree communications approach, Vicks strategically leveraged National Doctors Day to amplify the film across social platforms and help it travel to a wider audience both in India and globally.
“Amplifying the film through influencers from different walks of life we have observed positive engagement pouring in for the campaign since the release. Furthermore, it is humbling to witness the immense support and love that our protagonist’s wife Mrs. Priyanka Bhosale has received from family, friends, and people from across the country for her courage and bravery,” notes Tewary.
Finding The Right Story…
“The most interesting yet challenging part of the campaign is finding the right story,” says Tewary. The one that will move people and inspire them to reciprocate the care. “This is the stage where we bring all our agencies and teams together to huddle on relevant themes identified. Our goal is to shine a spotlight on people who care unconditionally and honestly, the best stories come from hands-on research and conversations with people who have experienced this touch of care”.
In terms of the R&D and data mining on the Vicks #TouchOfcare campaign series, there isn’t a lot of science to the way the agency-client duo chooses its themes. “The core for us will always remain in asking an important question- is it an extraordinary act of care? So when we find stories we are inspired by and moved by and we think in our hearts that their story will be an inspiration to many millions more, that is really how we choose the stories,” elucidates Thrivikraman.
The team also looks at the context of society around us.
The journey of #TouchOfCare over the years has spread roots in India and inspired other countries like the Philippines and New Zealand to join as a Force for Good. Tewary shares that Vicks will continue to highlight inspiring stories which capture the evolving social dynamics and share the extraordinary acts of care with the world.