Aishwarya Ramesh

With Ariel's new 'Share the Load' spot, the dirty linen comes out to dry

Mayank Arora, a social media producer at Swiggy has stepped forward with allegations of idea theft from an interview brief he was given last year.

Ariel recently released the latest rendition of its long-running campaign 'Share the Load.' The campaign is an attempt to draw attention to the unaccounted hours that a woman in a house spends, doing additional chores and as a result, has a tendency to be sleep deprived. In a story that afaqs! had written, we reached out to the agency, who mentioned that their research the source of the insight that had been used in the film.

Mayank Arora, an assistant manager - Social Media (New Supply) at Swiggy stepped forward with an allegation of idea theft.

To further the discussion, Arora also shared a rough script that he had written for the assignment.

When afaqs! reached out to Arora in the morning, he acknowledged that there might have been similarity in creative thought. Arora is relatively new to the Indian advertising world, with from two internships at J Walter Thompson Worldwide and Leo Burnett; and a brief stint at digital creative agency Foxymoron. At the time of filing this copy, we were unable to reach Paul for a comment on the matter.

Sharat Verma, marketing director - P&G India and Fabric Care explained that Share the Load is a campaign centred on research. "We conducted a research at the beginning of the #ShareTheLoad campaign in 2014, and found out 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," he says.

Sharat Verma
Sharat Verma

He dwelled on the insight the campaign is based upon - that this chapter of the Share the Load campaign is still largely applicable - even if the dynamic within households has shifted. "Within progressive households, men have started to increase their involvement in domestic chores. However, the woman still takes the onus of getting everything done; the mental load, is still only hers. 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 and with this campaign Ariel is urging men to take the first step towards equal sleep by Sharing the Load when it comes to laundry," Verma explains.

On mail, at the time of filing the first story based on the new Ariel campaign, Josy Paul, chief creative officer of BBDO India said - "At BBDO India, we’ve been on a long journey with P&G and Ariel ever since we began the ‘share the load’ movement in 2015. We’ve been building this together and we’ve always tried to be in sync with the time, to sense the moment. We look deep for that aspect of inequality at home that no one has recognised before. This year we found that in unequal sleep - another indicator of household inequality," he told us.

Josy Paul
Josy Paul

In a written statement, BBDO India stated that they had no dealings with Mayank Arora and denied that he applied for a role at BBDO India (his post says he applied to a ‘digital agency’.) Chief creative officer at BBDO India, Josy Paul says "We did not meet him or give him an assignment or test. He did not present or mail any thing to us. We did not work with any 'digital agency' in the conceptualisation and creation of the idea and script. The idea was originated, developed, scripted and created in-house by talent that work full time at BBDO India on the Ariel brand. Every year we unravel a new truth about inequality at home, that no one has spoken about before. That’s what we did this year too."

Paul's statement adds that the hidden truth about women waking up earlier than men and sleeping later was a revelation by one of the agency's admin heads in a consumer confession session hosted in their office in August 2019. "The presentation to the Ariel team for the 2020 edition of Ariel #ShareTheLoad took place on September 13, (much before the date that Mayank Arora says he presented to a ‘digital agency’.) As one of India’s leading creative agency, we take pride in the ideas we create for our conscious clients and brands. Our campaigns speak for themselves," he said in a statement.

Arora also posted on LinkedIn as an acknowledgment of the creative work carried out by BBDO India on the campaign.

BBDO India has been creating work for P&G Ariel since 2015. Starting with #ShareTheLoad in 2015, Dads#ShareTheLoad in 2016, Sons#ShareTheLoad in 2019 and now #ShareTheLoad for Equal Sleep.

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