Cannes Lions 2019: P&G shows the way with 'Brands as a Force for Good'

Maithreyi Jagannathan, Associate Marketing Director, Healthcare P&G & Ajay Vikram CCO, Publicis Singapore, discuss 'Brands as a Force for Good' in the Behind The Work Stage session at Cannes 2019

e4m by Neeta Nair
Updated: Jun 18, 2019 8:54 AM
Cannes 2019 PG

The first session at Behind The Work Stage at Cannes was dedicated to the topic 'Brands as a Force For Good'. The speakers Maithreyi Jagannathan, Associate Marketing Director, Healthcare P&G and Ajay Vikram CCO, Publicis Singapore, took us through the journey of Vicks, a P&G product, in playing the role in leading culture with popular ad films featuring Gauri, a transgender Indian mother and Nisha, a girl with a rare skin condition, which was widely lauded in India and abroad.

Jagannathan and Vikram spoke about how the #TouchOfCare campaign has a direct connection to the history of the 128-year-old brand and the very purpose of its invention finds seeds in a need to help with the breathing problem of the son of the founder and how the formulation became successful in its 48th attempt. Jagannathan says, "How many brands have the luxury of associating with a moment of family bonding, most people you ask would remember Vicks as a product their mother applied on them to ease breathing. Vicks has been in India for 75 years. Interestingly, an ad made for Vicks back then would have the exact same elements even today, it has the power of consistency. Yet, familiarity and ubiquity had become the biggest challenge for the brand because we wanted to take it to the next level with millennials who referred to it as their mothers' and grandmother's brand. So it had become a double-edged sword for us."

Explaining how they went about tackling the challenge Vikram says, "We couldn’t change the product and the blue tub packaging as that would have been suicidal, neither could we change what it stood for. So we felt that growing globalisation has changed the very idea of family. It is no more about blood ties alone or about joint families. In a harsh challenging urban empire, newer family bonds were being formed. Building on that we came up with an insight that everyone has a right to family and thus started looking for extraordinary stories to communicate the idea in a powerful way. With that came the story of Gauri and Nisha in India and Hernando in the Philippines amongst others."

Talking about how P&G benefitted, Jagannathan says “Because of the focus on brands as a force for good, the past couple of years has given the company double-digit growth. 6.5 million new households were added, a bulk of which came from the younger generation, while the market share has been the highest in two years for Vicks."

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