The Winner's Podium: New Milo ad reveals the psychology behind children’s need to be a champion

This new Milo ad from Ogilvy Malaysia shows that often children want to be number one because they fear disappointing their parents.

When they filmed this ad, the team behind the Ogilvy Malaysia Milo campaign asked children between the ages of seven and 12 to stand on a winner’s podium. They found that 81 per cent spontaneously opted for the number one position. And when asked why, the children cited reasons that ranged from mother’s kisses to the threat of scolding if they were not the winner.  

These children were not so much inspired by a passion to win, but by a fear of unpleasant consequences when they fail. The team also discovered something curious: children who are pushed to be the best will give up faster when faced with setbacks, not through laziness but through unrealistic expectations that set them up for failure.

The concept of “Tiger Parenting”, where a child is pushed to be a champion by one or both parent, is prevalent in many Asian societies. But this fostering of competitive spirit in children may not be best for them.

The Milo Winner’s Podium experiment showed that children do not need to be pushed to excel, but encouraged not to give up. Ogilvy Malaysia hope the advert will influence parents to help to inspire their children to do well, but to also keep a healthy perspective.