Aishwarya Ramesh

"Consumers globally, are demanding real, powerful storytelling": P&G's Ritu Mittal

Vicks' 'One In A Million' Touch of Care campaign from P&G India, won Four Metals at Cannes Lions 2019. We spoke to Ritu Mittal, Country Marketing Manager at P&G India, on the multiple wins.

Vicks' 'One in a Million' Touch of Care campaign brought home four metals at Cannes Lions 2019. The campaign was created by Publicis Singapore and produced with Offroad Productions, Mumbai and won a Silver Lion in the 'Film for Single-market Campaign' category and three Bronze Lions for 'Creative Strategy', 'Film Craft' and the 'Film Healthcare' category.

"Consumers globally, are demanding real, powerful storytelling": P&G's Ritu Mittal

The first film in the Touch of Care campaign featured a transgender single parent

This film is the second video in Vicks #TouchOfCare campaign in India and focuses on a young girl who has a rare skin condition - Ichthyosis. A press release issued by the company tells us that in the past year, out of 29.6 million orphans in India, only 42 with disabilities found a home. The campaign talks about her journey of transformation through the love and care of her adoptive parents.

"Consumers globally, are demanding real, powerful storytelling": P&G's Ritu Mittal

The second edition of the Touch of Care campaign tackled the issue of adoption

In a previous story about the campaign, afaqs! spoke to Ajay Vikram, chief creative officer, Publicis Group, who said, "Ichthyosis is so rare, but on this shoot, by complete coincidence, one of the crew members also had it, albeit of a different nature. She said she never met anyone else with the condition until Nisha (from the ad)."

We spoke to Ritu Mittal, country marketing manager - Personal Health Care, India Sub-continent, P&G. We wanted to know that beyond the campaign, what were some of the challenges of marketing Vicks as a brand.

"Consumers globally, are demanding real, powerful storytelling": P&G's Ritu Mittal

Ritu Mittal

She told us that the Touch of Care campaign was an attempt to stay rooted in the purpose of the brand and to make the brand more contemporary simultaneously - this was the brief to the agency partners. "In recent times, the biggest challenge that we've had is the world evolving at a rapid pace; especially a consumer's habits and behaviour. The consumer today is vocal, demanding and they want a faster pace of innovation... faster than it has ever been before," Mittal shares.

We asked her what innovations Vicks has been introducing to live up to consumer expectations. She replied, "When we launched a new product innovation after many years - it came from consumer need. They wanted a product for younger children and babies. Hence, we launched Vicks Baby Rub in 2017."

Despite this, she tells us that the brand has a long way to go. "I wouldn't say that we are where we need to be. We need to strengthen our pace of innovation further. Innovation is not just in terms of product, it's also in terms of the advertising," Mittal says.

She points out that a consumer's content consumption habits have undergone a huge shift and from marketers, in return, this demands a whole new level of creativity. "Consumers globally, are demanding real, powerful storytelling and are rewarding brands that act as a force for good. It's high time that brands recognise it and be a part of it. What will be a real differentiator in the times to come is real storytelling," She tells us.

She also says that these challenges excite her as they push marketers to reimagine creativity and rethink advertising.

Mittal reiterates that consumers are always evolving and it becomes really important for the brand to stay in touch with them. She adds, "It has always been important, but now it's more important than ever to do frequent consumer immersions - to find out how their habits are evolving, where they are consuming content and be a part of the conversation sooner than later..."

She clarifies explaining that the consumer is more informed, more connected and more demanding and it helps growth overall. Mittal outlines that consumer immersion refers to when a brand representative goes out, meets consumers, speaks to them, and interacts with them to find out, on a ground level, how they feel and what their preferences are. "As a marketer, I like doing that the most. These simple nuances help you get an in-depth understanding of a consumer and it makes a huge difference to what you do as a marketer," Mittal shares.

We asked her what the lead medium of communication for the Touch of Care campaign was and she informed us that it was digital (through social media platforms) as both the films are long-format (3 minutes or longer). She also added that TV is still the most effective way to reach the most number of people, but the long-format demanded the right medium. "TV is not the right fit when it comes to long-format advertising. A shorter edit wouldn't have done justice to the story," she explained.

She highlights that at the end of the day, the consumer is medium agnostic. "The consumer is not acting based on the medium. The consumer thinks seamlessly; therefore, we need to act seamlessly when it comes to marketing," Mittal signs off.

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