Horlicks shows importance of 'emotional nutrition' in new digital campaign

Screenshot from the Horlicks advertisement
Well-known malted health drink brand Horlicks has furthered its years-long campaign aiming to allay the dreaded fear of exams among Indian schoolchildren with a new advertisement that focuses on arguably the worst hit of places — the coaching hub of Kota in Rajasthan. The digital campaign titled Fearless Kota shows children at the “coaching capital” for higher studies in distress and feeling “caged”. The ad, running for over two minutes, begins with grim statistics on student suicides in Kota. But to the pleasant surprise of the students, their mothers turn up together in buses and spend quality time, restoring calm with their tender care and home-made food. The brand flags the idea, through this campaign, of “emotional nutrition” as an essential ingredient for the well-being of harried schoolkids.

Vikram Bahl, area marketing lead, nutrition and digestive health, GSK Consumer Healthcare India, says Horlicks as a brand has always aimed at providing students with nutrition to achieve more. “Through the ‘Fearless Kota’ film we wanted to highlight that along with a healthy body, a healthy mind is equally important to perform. Hence the right emotional nutrition is needed for children to overcome the fear of exams. The film captures the belief that a mother’s love is the best dose of emotional nutrition that helps a child overcome stress and face exams fearlessly.”

As the ad points out, Kota which houses coaching centres for India’s toughest entrance examinations, attracts over 1.5 lakh students every year. Bahl adds that a recent study by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences shows that between 2013 and May 2017, 58 student suicides were reported at coaching centres in Kota.

The campaign was conceptualised by FCB Ulka.

Swati Bhattacharya, chief creative officer, FCB Ulka, stresses that brand Horlicks has had a long association with campaigns around exams, starting with one titled “Exam ka bhoot bhagao” about 11 years ago. The brand has been airing TV ads every year during the exam season.

“The exam brief is something we have been doing for years. But this is the first time we have done an activation,” she says. While “Fearless Kota” takes forward the general idea of fearless exams, the idea behind the campaign sprang from the question of which is the “most fearful geography” in India in terms of exam tension. As Kota emerged as the answer, the next question for the brand was what could it do to relieve children of this fear?

“That’s how emotional nutrition came into play, and it’s a big idea for that we are going to work on for years. Fearlessness during exams depends on two things. One is physical nutrition, and the other is emotional nutrition,” says Bhattacharya.

She points out that Horlicks hasn’t done strong digital communication or activation earlier. After the creative mandate for the brand was bagged by FCB Ulka last year, the agency has been planning more on-ground activation and experiential ideas. For example, the brand will run a free courier service for any mother who wants to send anything to her child in Kota in a jar of Horlicks.

GSK Consumer Healthcare Ltd is a leading player in the Indian health food drinks industry. Besides its flagship product of Horlicks, GSK manufactures Boost which is among the top three health food drink brands in the country, according to the company.

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