The mother of a HIV positive child is the hero of latest ‘Touch Of Care’ film from Vicks

The latest film in the ongoing ‘Touch of Care’ campaign for Vicks from Publicis Singapore tells the story of a mother in the Philippines who adopts a HIV-infected child.

Agnes is given the responsibility of caring for a dead friend’s four month old baby, by the friend’s family. The film chronicles her struggle bringing up a child with a difficult, misunderstood condition and the prejudice both mother and son have to live with on an ongoing basis.

Speaking to Mumbrella about the film, Publicis Singapore’s chief creative officer for global clients Ajay Vikram said: “As with all the Vicks ‘Touch of Care’ stories, we were looking for true-life tales of extraordinary care.

“At the same time, as a brand and through this platform, we have the ability to shine a light on issues that matter most to society and to the country.

“In recent times, the incidence of HIV has grown at an alarming rate in the Philippines (according to some accounts, nearly 3,142% in the last 10 years). In 2018 alone, as many as 32 people were diagnosed with HIV every day.”

Speaking about choosing this story in particular and the treatment, Vikram said: “The extraordinary capacity for human beings to care for one another is exemplified most by instances where care is given to someone who isn’t a “responsibility” or related by blood.

“In that sense, care is even greater than love. One can “feel” love, but one has to choose to care.

“In this case, “Agnes” (not her real name) didn’t realise that the baby abandoned by her friend’s relatives was born with HIV. The fact that she chose to carry out the responsibility, and with full knowledge of how society in general looks upon people living with the virus and the likely impact on her own family, made it an extraordinary act of care in our eyes.”

‘Touch of Care’ ads have frequently starred or prominently featured the people they were about. But the latest film is an exception. Speaking about the decision to stay away from casting ‘real’ people, Vikram said: “We see the real mother and son in the out of focus shot at the end of the film.

“This was in keeping with their request for privacy and anonymity. While they, and we, wish this wasn’t the case, the reality is that for those who are HIV positive, there is still a long way to go in terms of gaining the acceptance of society.

“It is our ignorance that causes us to respond in the way we do, and not that people want to be cruel.”

Speaking about the campaign, P&G brand director of healthcare for Asia-Pacific Akhilesh Negi said: “With ‘Touch Of Care’, we aim to share stories where people have transformed lives of others through their extraordinary acts of care.

“The story of “Agnes” was one such story which just needed to be told. We hope the campaign inspires more people to transform lives and transcend social norms, definitions and stereotypes through their own acts of care.”

P&G Philippines marketing director Lester Estrada added: “The story just grabbed us from the start and we felt this moving tale of mother and son, amidst their challenges, was something we want to share with the world.

This is the power of care that Vicks celebrates, for when you choose it, you have a hand in transforming another person’s life and make it better.”

P&G hopes sharing such stories will “create a ripple effect that inspires people to look past the current beliefs, social norms, definitions, and stereotypes and ultimately create a transformative power of care.”

In addition, Vicks has tied up with with Project Red Ribbon, a partner of the Philippines’ Department of Health to support children with HIV, through the Duyan [cradle] project.

The #TouchOfCare campaign has been running for four years now with films from India and the Philippines highlighting unusual parent-child relationships.

Previous films have chronicled the relationship between a transgendered parent and her child from Mumbai, India.

Hernando, an unemployed man from the Philippines who turns his life around after adopting a child.

The parents from Bengaluru India who adopted a child with a rare skin condition.


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