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From a campaign to a movement: How Vicks’ #TouchOfCare is changing lives

Taking a 360-degree communication approach, Vicks has been highlighting the importance of ‘Care’ in human lives. The brand has always focused on being emphatic in their engagement with the consumers and understanding their values for their loved ones. In 2017, Vicks launched the first edition of its #TouchOfCare campaign to show how to care about families that are formed beyond biological ties, breaking stereotypes and highlighting how motherhood has no gender. The story focused on an orphan, Gayatri and her transgender mother Gauri Sawant. The campaign went viral and was also showcased in New York Times and Women in the World Summit 2017, taking the message of care to a global audience.

The second edition in 2018 brought to light the story of a girl named Nisha, who has Ichthyosis, a genetic skin condition, who was abandoned by her biological parents at birth. The campaign sought 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.

While we are all staying strong and safe in our own ways during the COVID-19 pandemic, our doctors and frontline healthcare workers are fighting tirelessly to provide us with life-saving care. In 2021, on the eve of National Doctors’ Day, Vicks India launched the 3rd edition of their iconic #TouchOfCare campaign, a reflection of the care for all our doctors and their families during this time. The film tells the inspiring story of late Dr Dnyaneshwar Bhosle and how his dream of building a pediatric hospital for kids in his village was cut short when he passed away. Vicks has set up a fund to help his wife, Priyanka Bhosale, also a doctor, build a hospital in his memory so that his care lives on forever.

In conversation with Adgully, Himanshu Tewary, Senior Director and Category Head, Personal Healthcare at Procter & Gamble, speaks about Vicks’ focus on bringing real-life stories to their audiences by strengthening the brand’s motive of ‘Care’. 

Vicks has been undertaking a lot of social initiatives and social causes over the last few years. What’s the brand purpose here and how is it helping the brand grow and fortify its position as a strong and caring brand?

Vicks for decades has been a brand with a legacy of ‘Care’ shining the spotlight on the transformative power that care can bring about in human lives. Consumers have become more aware, make mindful choices and go for brands that reflect their own persona. The Vicks #TouchOfCare campaign in 2017 came about by looking at the brand through the lens of a millennial consumer, understanding the values important to them and how they influence the world around them. Our insight for the Vicks #TouchOfCare series has always been rooted in the human truth that everyone deserves a touch of care. Each Vicks #TouchOfCare film is unique and tells a different story. 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, strengthening the brand equity of Vicks and its association with care. 

How are you maintaining a balance between campaigns highlighting product benefits and also increasing focus on social issues-based communication?

Vicks is a 100-year-old brand present in almost every household with a strong legacy and consumer connect. Each element of our advertising has a unique and distinct role in the consumer and brand journey. This specific campaign is about what our brand values are and what we believe family and care stands for. 

How did you come to be associated with Dr Bhosale’s touching and inspiring story?

As stated earlier, our insight for the Vicks #TouchOfCare series has always been rooted in the human truth that everyone deserves a touch of care.

The past year has been challenging for many, and it is our doctors who have been caring for us and our loved ones. Many doctors have lost their lives, while many others are still braving the fight against this virus and working tirelessly to ensure that they provide the best of care to us during these uncertain times.

This inspired us to identify a story around the theme of healthcare workers. We were deeply touched and inspired by late Dr Dnyaneshwar Bhosale’s story and his efforts to ensure many less fortunate children received 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.

This third edition of Vicks #TouchOfCare is our tribute to the extraordinary acts of care, courage, and bravery of late Dr Bhosale and the doctors’ community across the nation. Bringing late Dr Bhosale’s story to light and supporting his wife to help build a pediatric hospital in his memory is our small endeavour to give back to our doctors’ community by preserving their #TouchOfCare for generations to come.

The campaign has received a positive response, striking an emotional chord with consumers through digital, media and word of mouth. The story of Dr Bhosale has crossed 30 million views on YouTube in just under 10 days of its launch. 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. 

What’s been your engagement strategy with your audience? How is this great initiative leveraged on the media front?

Taking a 360-degree communications approach, we strategically leveraged National Doctors Day to amplify the film across social platforms and helped it travel to a wider audience both in India and globally. We broke the film on YouTube, a preferred medium for long-format content, followed by a curated set of influencers amplifying the film on Instagram through posts and swipe up stories to create further engagement. The campaigns have received a positive response from stakeholders and consumers through media, digital and word of mouth. 

What other initiatives are you planning next?

The beauty of the Vicks touch of care campaign series is that we always outline the story and theme closer to the launch as the idea is to keep the context relevant to the current environment, social cause, or gap. Gauri Sawant’s story came before the Supreme Court ruling, Nisha’s was focused on transforming rejection into acceptance for children with special needs, and our film this year was launched on the eve of National Doctors’ Day to highlight the bravery of our healthcare workers and their families – something very relevant to what we are experiencing today.

With #TouchofCare, Vicks is committed to inspiring a tangible change in the society by driving home the message that ‘everyone deserves a touch of care’. We will continue to give these inspiring stories – which capture the evolving social dynamics – a voice to share the extraordinary acts of care with the world.

(Additional inputs by Ganapathy Viswanathan.)

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