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How the Vicks ‘One in a Million’ campaign drew over 5 million views

‘One in a Million’ is the latest film from the #TouchofCare campaign for Vicks. Launched on October 9, it has already clocked in over 4.9 million views on YouTube at last count.

It is about a young Indian girl Nisha, affected by ichthyosis, a rare genetic skin condition. The film chronicles her life and the transformative effects of love from her adoptive parents, Aloma and David Lobo.

Mumbrella spoke to Ritu Mittal the country marketing manager for Vicks India to get a deeper insight into ‘One in a Million’, the branded content strategy on Vicks and the massive number of views it has garnered in a remarkably short time frame.

What was the brief for the film?

“Vicks has always been about taking care of loved ones and family. We realised the family of today has moved beyond conventional boundaries, be it in India or outside. The idea of a family goes beyond our biological connections. This approach transformed into Touch of Care. It reinforces the brand belief that care has the power to transform life. We chose to narrate true stories because there’s nothing more powerful than real stories about real heroes.”

How did you come by Nisha and Aloma?.

“We don’t do films like this very quickly. It took us over a year, looking for the right story. We briefed our agency, Publicis Singapore and they helped us identify the family.”

“When we heard of Nisha and Aloma, we felt their story deserved to be shared with more people. We met Nisha and found her so encouraging! Despite all the complexities in her life, she sails through them with such a beautiful smile. What we want to convey, is that every child deserves the touch of care. And every story in the campaign is about that.”

“Ajay Thrivikraman (the chief creative officer on global clients at Publicis Singapore) met Nisha and her parents in Bengaluru to understand how they live and what the story is all about. We knew this was the story we wanted to tell.”

Are there any actors in the film or is that really Nisha and her family?

“Nisha has acted as herself. The parents are not her real parents, but actors since we wanted to show the parents through different ages and life stages.”

How has the experience been working with Publicis Singapore? And considering this was an Indian film for a largely Indian audience, why didn’t you consider a local agency?

“We partner with Publicis Singapore for all creative work on the brand. When we briefed them on the first film, we felt their vision was what we were looking for in a partner. On the first #TouchofCare film, (about a transgender activisit Gauri Sawant and her adopted daughter), they narrated Gauri’s story to us on a call and it was a rare occasion when we approved the script without even waiting for a storyboard.”

“And so, we went back to Publicis Singapore. We are a closely knit team who work with them on a daily basis. I don’t think the sort of experience Ajay has on the brand, after working on it for 10 years, has a replacement.”

We often hear marketers agonise over how much brand should be in branded content. Why the decision to be so subtle with the branding?

“It is a very tough choice. As a marketer, there’s dilemma. You want the brand everywhere! But this was a conscious decision. Too much of brand would take away from the authenticity and credibility of this wonderful story. It is a very courageous thing to do.”

“To start with, you need to ensure the story is credible and does not look like a brand talking. But when we did the first film, we took that daring step and the consumers told us ‘you are right to this.’ Despite only a very subtle mention, everyone talked about Vicks. The idea was so much at the core of the brand that there was an immediate connect.”

“My personal learning here is as long as the idea and story connect, consumers are smart and you don’t need to shout the brand message out. Through social media, people are talking about how they are proud they buy the product since Vicks is doing something like this. Globally and in India, we’ve noticed people don’t want to buy a brand just because of functionality. They want brands that are vested in goodness. We thought we’d catch on sooner than later.”

Speaking of the views, the numbers are enormous. How much of it was organic and how much of it was boosted?

“I don’t have the specific split, but there was definitely some initial boosting. Every brand that does branded content needs that initial mass to start getting a response. Our objective with this is to reach as many consumers as possible. But be it organic or inorganic, it is the power of content. Storytelling that is so subtle on branding and yet so true to the brand, that it is driving a lot of shareability and WOM; hence chalking the numbers you see.”

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