The film - a BBDO product - is directed by Gauri Shinde.
P&G's detergent brand, Ariel has released a new ad as part of its 'Share the Load' campaign. BBDO India conceptualized the first ad in the year 2015. The first ad raised the question – ‘Is laundry only a woman’s job?’ Keeping with the core theme of the campaign, the latest and third ad in the series draws attention to the gender disparity in household chores, with a special focus on laundry. All the ads in the
series are backed by research done by Nielsen data. In 2015, 79 per cent of urban Indian men thought household chores are a women's job; in 2018, that number fell to 52 per cent.
The survey was conducted among 897 respondents (married men and women) between ages 25-48 in Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore and Chennai in June 2018. A similar survey was conducted in 2015 and it also included the city of Hyderabad and had a total of 1000 respondents.
While it's heartening to note that men everywhere are pitching in more on the domestic front, it will be interesting to see how Ariel plans to make a difference with their campaign.
Sonali Dhawan, Marketing Director, P&G India and Fabric Care, says, "This year, we reignite conversations to go deeper into the cause of this disparity. In the context of right upbringing, we urge this generation of mothers to be the change makers for the future and raise yet another pertinent question - are we teaching our sons what we have been teaching our daughters?"
Talking about the consumer’s presence across multiple screens and devices, P&G’s spokesperson tells afaqs!, “... there has been an unarguable shift in the audience consuming content... multi-screen engagement makes the consumers register the message more positively as they are watching at their own will and leisure, where the appetite of engagement is stronger... digital drives conversations --instead of it being a monologue from the brand-- and consumers can leverage the platform of their preference to share their perspective, reactions and stories...”
The brand team adds, however, “... the digital campaigns still have roots in traditional media, and it is important for us to be present beyond digital.”
This campaign, P&G tells us, has transcended the “brief” space and is now a “collaboration” with BBDO. “... We sit and go through all the consumer reactions from the previous films, we try to extract conversations from around us to tap into the current relevant context, and from that the agency carves out brilliant ideas that you see as executions...”
Speaking of BBDO, Josy Paul, chairman at the agency, tells us the biggest challenge was about ensuring reliability, connect and balance. “We didn’t want it to look like a drama, but a scene that could be happening in a household around you!” says Josy.
While the mother in the film is a mix of modern and traditional, the son, Josy tells us, “represents the boys of that age; he had to have a balance – of being in his own world with the headphones and the laptop, but also being concerned about the mother and his sister...”
About Gauri Shinde’s direction, Josy says, “...The film is a roller coaster of emotions – it goes from happiness, to confusion, to realisation, to determination, and then to a strength of action and change, all in 2.5 minutes. She’s packed a lot in. So, we needed someone like her to do justice to the story...”
We couldn’t help but ask Josy about the ongoing wave of ‘activism advertising’ or ‘cause-vertising’. “... brands that have the power to make a change should go out there and do so. You’ve got to do what you’ve got to do,” he insists.
We at afaqs! notice that the green shirt in these ads has evolved into some sort of element of continuity – a symbol of the campaign. “Good catch,” he says “the green is symbolic of Ariel, and has hence been an important component of the campaign all through the years.”
We spoke to a couple of experts to get their views on the ad.
KV Sridhar, founder and chief creative officer of Hyper Collective (a cross-disciplinary innovations company) or Pops, as he is fondly called, loves the latest film and the larger campaign umbrella it belongs to.
"It is in tune with what they're doing, except you feel a little sad because this revolution started much earlier. I remember when I was part of the brand team at Leo Burnett in the '90s, we did 'Ariel Husbands'... In the ad, a man calls people for dinner but in the morning his wife makes him clean all the dishes. So, Ariel has always taken a progressive stand," he says.
Ads under the 'Share the Load' umbrella are becoming formulaic and each rendition is about the same message with a different relationship (husband-wife, father-daughter, now mother-son).
"Today's parents care about their daughters-in-law and want them to be treated equally. That's where the tiredness of the brand comes in. If you don't make the copy relevant to that generation and to what is happening socio-culturally, you're missing out on something. That's why you get the feeling of seeing the same old ad with no difference. It's a brilliant idea that needs to be nailed, but it should've been done with a different hammer!" says Sridhar quite emphatically. He further states that if [Surf Excel's] Lalita ji existed today, her outlook would've changed too.
In Ambi Parameswaran's (founder, Brand-Building.com, a Brand Advisory) book, brands, especially low involvement consumer products of the future, will offer three kinds of benefits - rational (stain removal in the case of detergents), emotional (they satisfy an urge) and third - the need to embrace a larger cause. For the laundry segment, it could be a message about saving water.
Acknowledging P&G's efforts, he says, "They should be commended for picking up a worthy cause and sticking with it, especially because brands change their 'cause' like they change their consumers change their underwear."
"It takes a mature marketer to pick a cause and stick with it, irrespective of the fact that others may be copying your strategy or the fifth execution looks a lot like the fourth and third. I commend the marketer for not falling prey to the 'cause of the year' disease," Parameswaran adds.
About the latest ad, he shares his opinion saying, "I think it pans out well, but if you know where this has started, you can guess the end..." Perhaps those who're unfamiliar with the campaign will find it interesting till the end.
Parameswaran is sure P&G can expand the canvas by "looking at a Hinglish execution of the idea or maybe more contoured storytelling," after the brand has bagged a critical mass of people who are familiar with the philosophy of the brand.
Apart from the message about equality, the ad carries another message - "It is indirectly saying washing clothes is no longer such a difficult task if you have a good washing machine like Whirlpool (the brand name is visible in the ad) and a good detergent like Ariel to help you. So even a dopey looking son can do the job well."
Agency: BBDO India
Chairman & Chief Creative Officer: Josy Paul
Executive Creative Director: Hemant Shringy
Executive Vice President: Atin Wahal
Sr. Creative Director Copy: Aarti Srinivasan
Sr. Creative Director Art: Balakrishna Gajelli
Copy Supervisor: Karan Nair
Art Supervisor: Vijay Kumar Vasala
Account Management: Mitul Shah, Kayur Desai
Agency Producer: KV Krishnam Raju
Production house: Offroad Films
Executive Producer: Khalil Bachooali
Director: Gauri Shinde
Producer: Anirudh Sharma