Vicks Brand and it's Creative Positioning

Brand Vicks has been synonymous with ‘Khich-khich’ since time immemorial – many have grown up with the term being associated with the brand. While the ‘Khich-khich’ continues in the latest commercial for the brand, it promises to undergo evolution henceforth.
Coughing creatively

The new TV commercial for the brand opens on a blind old man listening to cricket commentary on radio. When he fidgets, the radio falls on the floor and splits into two pieces. Two young boys, who are watching the incident from the terrace of an adjoining house, rush onto the scene. Despite it being broken, one of the young boys reassures the worried man that the radio is in good shape.

With no other choice and to prove his claim, the young boy begins a commentary. When his throat is irritated, he pops a Vicks Jumbo lozenge. While the neighbours watch over and participate in the make belief commentary with equal enthusiasm, the commentary goes on. Just when the boys think they are done with their task at the end of the day, there is a twist in the tale. The old man, who can’t get enough of the radio, tells them to put on the news!

The creative has been put in place by Publicis Ambience, the agency that has partnered the brand for more than a decade.

Ambar Chakravarty, executive creative director, Publicis Ambience explains that the creative brief by the client was two-fold: “First, it was about longevity of relief after consuming a Vicks goli. Secondly, it was about talking about a better voice. There was no better way to express longevity and an apt voice except than that of commentary.”

The ‘Khich-khich’ positioning staying intact, Aalok Agrawal, associate marketing director, Asia Personal Healthcare, Procter & Gamble reveals that the new commercial only continues the positioning by highlighting the long lasting relief from ‘Khich-khich’ that new Vicks ‘Jumbo’ provides to consumers.

The film has been shot over a period of two days in the lanes of Chandni Chowk, Delhi. It was directed by Sujay Shetty of Whodunnit Films and co-directed by Chakravarty.

The creative team behind the film includes Senece Mendonza, Satish Sethumadhavan, Rishi Upadhyay, Nasir Patel and Sagar. Rakesh Hinduja leads the account from the client servicing side.

Chakravarty is sure that the brand is taking a creative leap now. This commercial is an instance of how the brand wishes to engage the consumers and make the creative more memorable.

Khich-khich, for how long?

The ‘Khich-khich’ proposition for Vicks Cough Drops (VCD) has been around since the mid 80’s. The advertising for the brand has been essentially about depicting an animated figure, the ‘Khich-khich’, stuck in the throat, giving trouble. One of the earliest commercials in the series, with actor Jayant Kriplani and the animated ‘Khich-khich’ still enjoys strong recall. The Khich-khich creature continues to stay.

Publicis Ambience has been handling the brand for more than a decade now. Earlier, Madison was the creative partner.

VCD has been in India since 1952.

Today, the Indian throat lozenges market is estimated at about Rs 300 crore (in sales value). Vicks is the leading player, controlling more than 50 per cent of the market. Halls stands at No. 2 and Strepsils at No. 3.

Gale main Khich-khich?

Atishi Pradhan, senior vice-president and executive planning director, Contract Advertising finds it an enjoyable ad, wherein the product is still very much at the heart of the ad/story.

“The Vicks goli ad that is in my head is the one with Jayant Kriplani telling a story to his daughter -‘bhediye ne memne se kaha, main tumhe kha jaoonga…’. This is a different world – no parents and bedtime stories, but youth and cricket. But still – the same values,” she adds.

Vineet Mahajan, senior creative director, McCann Erickson Delhi views it as a nice fresh start for an iconic brand such as Vicks. The commercial is not just funny but conveys the message very nicely.

“The direction is also done well. But had it been an original idea, I would have enjoyed it even more – it’s just that the Captain Morgan Beer commercial cheered me up long before,” he says.

Moreover, he says that the ad probably does little to Vicks as a brand, considering it’s more of a product driven piece of communication launching the Jumbo Vicks goli.

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