On The Mark

Bournvita's new campaign tells parents why they should look beyond the academic scorecard and let children follow their dreams

A common complaint about the education system in India is its singular focus on ‘marks’ as a parameter to judge a child’s performance. Irrespective of how good they are at any sport or art, it is likely to be dismissed as a ‘hobby’. And more often than not, kids are dissuaded from following their heart.

It is this unfortunate reality that Bournvita takes on in its new campaign, called ‘Look beyond Marks’. This comes on the back of their ‘Exam Time Sale’ campaign launched last year around the same time, which was meant to seed the thought that kids were being made to forsake their interests in the mad pursuit of academic scores. “This year, we wanted to bring alive the lack of choice that kids face, that is, pursuit of marks vis-à-vis their real interests and passion where they have shown their prowess or proficiency in.  To drive the point home, Bournvita chose to talk to adults in an atmosphere where exams were farthest from their minds, but choices were of utmost priority,” says Inderpreet Singh, Associate Director- Gum, Candy & Beverages, Mondelez India.

The ad film, which is almost 3 minutes long on digital, uses a metaphorical situation to convey the intended message. The idea was to make grownups understand how frustrating it is, to not have a choice, explains Harshad Rajadhyaksha of Ogilvy & Mather. The collection of an entire fashion store was emptied, and replaced with just black t-shirts in one size. Shot at Akbarally’s in Fort, Mumbai, the video shows customers walking into the store to buy garments like a white shirt, a maroon blazer and a tie. But the staff informs them that they have just a black tshirt, that too in just one size.

The annoyance of the puzzled customers is resolved when a boy walks in and says, “It bothered you so much when you didn't get a choice in your clothes. Can you imagine how I feel when I don’t get a choice in my career?” This sentence beautifully marries the abstract premise of the ad with the hard-hitting message that the brand wants to convey.

“Parents, though well-intentioned, fail to realise what kind of anxiety they are causing in the minds of their children. The feedback and fire-like spread of this video assured us that the ‘look beyond marks’ project got a few things right again,” says Kainaz Karmakar of Ogilvy & Mather. Ironically, we are tempted to say ‘full marks’ to this campaign!