When emotions go beyond the Brand’s Core Values

Vicks, a brand from the house of P&G, has almost an iconic status in India. Their famed tagline turned into jingle – “Vicks ki goli lo, khich khich dur karo” is even more towering.

Started as a “goli” which can be popped to heal itching throats, the brand moved on to introduce other products like “Vicks VapoRub” and “Vicks Action 500”. However, the jingle has remained the most recalled part of the ads, in spite of roping in celebrities like Virat Kohli in recent times. Another thing, which remained constant in all Vicks communication was the mother-child relationship – the relief was usually always brought about by the doting mother – who knows what is best for the family, coz –“Maa sab janti hain”.

However, the brand has turned a new leaf in advertising with its new ad titled “Touch of Care”. If you are active on social media, irrespective of whether you are an advertising professional or not, you cannot miss the creative.


Since its launch almost 10 days ago, it has already garnered around 90 lakhs hit on the Vicks India Youtube Channel. The beautiful film is made by advertising agency Publicis Singapore and directed by Neeraj Ghaywan, who shot to fame for his debut movie Masaan. The ad is based on a true story – that of Gauri Sawant – a determined transgender and an activist, who adopts orphaned Gayatri, and fights against societal stigma to bring her up. The story, played out in over 3 minutes, opens up multiple issues at once –

  • The issue of orphans finding a parent
  • The right to family and care
  • The issue of discrimination and denial of rights of transgender people, even after the Supreme Court’s landmark judgement in 2014 for equal treatment

The film is made beautifully, with a singular narrative and a brilliant music underlay. The actors also play their part well – and the brand name or the usage does not appear in the entire film until the end, unlike some of the more recent digital ads, where the brand is woven into the plot. As a film, it ticks all the right check boxes while still being high on emotions.

Having said that, as an advertising professional, what is intriguing is, is there a connect between the ad and the product? At a broad level, while it is still about a mother comforting its family, does the socially relevant ad lend much credence to the core brand values of Vicks is what we need to ponder. It will create much noise in the social media, like its predecessors, Brook Bond Red Label’s Six Pack Band or Channel V’s Seatbelt Crew. But beyond garnering sensitivity for the third gender and trying to reduce social stigma, the cause with which Vicks seems to associate itself, looks stretched from a brand’s point of view.

Unless it follows it up with a series of campaign to own up “Touch of Care” space and takes up drive against the social stigma attached to third gender in earnest, it may soon remain a brilliantly made film, shared and liked on social media.





1 Comment

  1. Asawari khanzode on April 10, 2017 at 7:03 pm

    Good going Saraswat. Happy blogging.

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