The new ad in the 'Share The Load' series puts emphasis on housewives' unaccounted time - before everyone wakes up and after everyone goes to sleep.
Recently, we saw a slew of Women’s Day ads celebrating multi-tasking women who work and manage their homes. The latest addition to this list of ads was released in association with BBDO India. The fourth edition of Ariel’s 'Share The Load' campaign talks about the after hours. The focus of the new commercial, released on World Sleep Day (March 13), is sleep deprivation that women face because of early mornings and late nights.
Sharat Verma, CMO, P&G India and fabric care head for the Indian Subcontinent, says that the company conducted research at the beginning of the 'Share The Load' campaign in 2014. The study revealed that 79 per cent of married men thought that laundry was a woman's job. “Over the years with our awareness campaigns, we have found a way to change attitudes and bring that number down to 41 per cent. Unless we find a way to bring that number down to zero, there will always be barriers that we will need to address. So, it's not really been a challenge in the sense of being able to find a conversation hook. The real challenge lies in deciding what can be the most relevant conversation given the contextual surroundings? How do we guide and participate in that conversation?,” he explains.
Verma also reveals that within progressive households, men have started to get increasingly involved with domestic chores – but the onus of getting everything done is still on the woman. “In fact, in most households, women are the first to wake up and last to sleep. Uneven distribution of household chores like laundry is coming in the way of women getting enough sleep and rest. With this campaign, Ariel is urging men to take the first step and #ShareTheLaundry, by initiating the movement #ShareTheLoad for equal sleep,” he says.
Verma went on to add, "Every household has a different, yet unique, makeup - that isn’t really a barrier to the concept of gender equality. With the current communication, we took care that it doesn't isolate any one particular household. It's not just about a household which has a wife, husband and a child... It's about equal partnership. It's about the family. Whatever unit you live in, we're trying to communicate that the onus of household chores shouldn't fall on one partner.”
Emphasising on the importance of brand values, Verma says, “Our studies have shown that 50 per cent of consumers are willing to switch brands basis shared values and beliefs. Nine out of 10 consumers feel more favourable about a brand if it supports a social or environmental cause. When it came to 'Share The Load', we started with the basic question – is laundry only a woman’s job?,” he says.
Verma further states that with ‘Dads #ShareTheLoad’ movement, the conversation was aimed at addressing the cycle of prejudice passed down from one generation to the next. “Children learn what they see and, if there is inequality within the household, it will end up being passed on to the next generation. Last year, with 'Sons #ShareTheLoad', we urged mothers to be the change-makers, and change the way we raise our sons to prepare them to be partners that demonstrate equality within the household,” he says.
BBDO India has been working with Ariel since the conceptualisation of the 'Share The Load' campaign in 2014. Talking about the campaign, Josy Paul, chief creative officer, BBDO India, says that the ad is a conversation about relationships, in a way. "In every relationship, there are blind spots. In this case, the blind spot is the household work that happens, which most men don’t see. It’s the hidden truth. The campaign is an eye-opener, a revelation. When we ‘see’ inequality, there is no excuse. We are moved to act, to share the load."
The ad takes place through the gaze of a young child, and Paul says this treatment is intentional. "The child is not conditioned. She sees things with fresh eyes! She sees inequality at home. Through her eyes, we see the things we are blind to. We see the unequal division of household chores. And in seeing, we realise! The emotion is one of sudden realisation. It’s an epiphany! A ‘thappad’ that wakes us up and helps us see," he explains.
When asked how he found different ways to carry forward the idea of 'Share The Load', Paul calls on the concept of emotional data. "It’s about empathy, about constantly listening. The more we work on 'share the load', the more sensitive we become to the world around us. We start seeing things that, on the face of it, look ordinary, but when you look again, are extraordinary. Our highly emotional sharing sessions lead to these deeper truths," he says.
Elaborating on the insight that was used to create this campaign, Paul says, "Creativity is about unravelling a truth that already exists. That no one had seen or spoken about before. In this case, it was the theatre of the after hours. It is a theatre that’s been going on for thousands of years. We just used an emotional highlighter to make people look at it again."