One of the most pressing issues of all times is that of gender equality. While media portrays and society gives us hints that women have broken the glass ceiling, there seems to be a slightly nastier truth hidden behind it. The truth of the unequal distribution burden of domestic work.
Ariel's new campaign is an attempt to highlight the fact that while women may be making great leaps in her professional life, in her own house she is probably doing just the same amount of work she did before. "Share the load" is a call to action for people, men in particular, to share the burden of household chores with their beloved. The agency, BBDO in this case, was tasked with a brief to lead the conversation around laundry by starting a movement for Ariel so as to raise the emotional equity of the brand.
The film stars two senior citizens talking about the younger generation. While they discuss how in 'their time' they would earn a pittance, one of them also acknowledges with pride that now her daughter-in-law earns more than her son. While the said daughter in law can be seen getting ready for work in the background, her husband suddenly pokes his head out to admonish her for not washing his green shirt. It ends with the super on screen, asking 'Is Laundry only a woman's job'?
The same question has given rise to a lot of conversations on social media, with the hashtag #IsLaundryOnlyAWomansJob trending on Twitter. The brand has further introduced prizes for Twitter followers who can send out the message in different ways. Its Facebook page has also been populated with data and interesting graphics to represent the findings of a Nielsen survey which shows that a majority of Indian men feel that laundry is a woman's job.
"A brand movement like 'share the load' is all about building on the existing conversation in society. It is about raising the relationship between the brand and its consumers by having an engaging idea around laundry. It rejuvenates the category. The specific product story and benefit is a part of the overall plan," adds Paul.
But does it really bring in any changes, or even, the start of one?
"Execution wise, the performances are stellar. It's a treat to watch the two ladies, especially grand old Sulabha Deshpande completely nail it. However, the opening context got me a little confused. When I first saw the film, I thought 'Madhu didi' was being portrayed as a woman way ahead of her times to hold a job in 1962, because the perception is that women then didn't normally work outside homes and if they did, they were the liberated ones. So the fact that she was a typist and earned Rs 6 did not, to my mind, set the context of inequality. Anything but. That said, the production values are nice and it's refreshing to see a detergent ad without the cliched 'product window' and 5-times stronger claims," she adds.