A story as old as time

The touch of care is for everyone proclaims P&G in its latest Vicks TVC

Progressive seems to be the new catchphrase in the world of advertisements these days. Riding on the bandwagon of trending topics such as feminism and human rights, ads are sure to trend and become the talk of the Internet — as was, of course, what it was aimed for in the first place.

Fresh on TV is the heartwarming Vicks’ commercial that unites two extraordinary themes — adoption and transgender rights. For a vapour rub, this seems to be almost a metaphysical union to successfully bring about. Or is it?

Over the years, Vicks from P&G has been building up its narrative on family care, particularly the love and concern of a mother — as they say, a story as old, as time. “Vicks has always been about generations of love and care, and the brand will support initiatives which are in the same space,” says Nitin Darbari, chairman and CEO P&G Teva JV China, marketing director Asia, Middle East and Africa. Subtly questioning the roots of long-lasting social stigma, the ad conjoins the brand’s narrative with an impetus for social change. It is not until the very end that the identity of the mother as being a transgender is revealed. What the film emphasises throughout is a single mother’s love for her adopted daughter, Gayatri.

Created by Publicis Singapore, the ad tells the story of the loving relationship Gayatri shares with her mother, transgender activist Gauri Sawant. How did the ad agency come up with this concept? Ajay Thrivikraman, CCO, global clients, Publicis Singapore has a ready answer. “Publicis tried to look at stories that made the brand contemporary and fitted its ‘family and care’ idea. That’s when we came across Gauri’s story. We felt that the story needed to be told.”

Darbari adds, “The idea of family now goes beyond just biological connections or sharing a surname. We want consumers to recognise that everyone has a right to family and that wherever there is care, that bond is a family.”