Kota in Rajasthan is famous for tutoring India’s talented young crowd to get into the top most prestigious engineering colleges in the country by cracking the most dreaded and difficult competitive entrance examinations. Every year almost 1.5 lakh students come to this education town, that is also infamous at the same time, for having the highest number of student suicides – 88 students in the last four years. Horlicks has taken up this important issue to make a point in their latest campaign ‘Fearless Kota’.
A super in the commercial shows a chilling figure – since March 2016, 1464 calls have been made to the Kota suicide helpline. Crazy schedules, unimaginable pressure to succeed and a life surrounded only by books drive a lot of students in Kota to think of the unimaginable. Horlicks, as a brand, is known to provide nutrition. Through this ad they try to portray that ‘emotional nutrition’ is equally important as physical nutrition, something that cannot be manufactured in laboratories.
During the exam season, Horlicks took the initiative to surprise students in Kota with a bunch of ‘nutrition experts’ — their mothers. The ad shows a bus full of emotional mothers on their way to Kota with bags full of food and love. The students are overjoyed seeing their mothers and some of them even break down in tears. Some moms cook their son’s favourite fish and rice for them, some give them a head oil massage while some give them a glass of milk with Horlicks (of course). The ad ends with the super ‘Horlicks believes that mother’s love is the best dose of emotional nutrition that helps you defeat stress and fearlessly face exams’.
As a concept, the advertisement created by the agency FCBUlka, is superb because it touches upon a very important yet not-as-widely-talked-about issue, the rising case of student suicides in India. An advertisement often emotionally manipulates its viewers, but a good advertisement doesn’t let you feel manipulated. It’s subtle. The latest Horlicks ad fails in that aspect. You know you’re being manipulated but you forgive it because they’re talking about a grave social issue at the end of the day. More than the product itself, it talks about what’s plaguing the society today and for that, they definitely need a thumbs up. Well done.