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When 2 P&G brands went to market with the same message...

By Ashee Sharma , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Advertising
Published : December 20, 2016
After Ariel said #ShareTheLoad, Pampers says #ItTakes2. The message is loud and clear - men, please get off the couch. A look at the new Pampers ad campaign.

From a Grand Effie (APAC Effie) to a Grand Prix (Spikes Asia); from a Cannes Lion to a Facebook Award, P&G India's 'Ariel - Share the Load' campaign won many accolades for the brand. Needless to say, this piece of work by BBDO India is one of P&G's most successful creative properties. That P&G decided to extend the thought to its diaper brand, Pampers, where 'Sharing the Load' finds a natural fit, only seems like the next obvious move.

Pampers' latest campaign, 'ItTakes2' recognises the role that inclusive parenting plays in a baby's holistic development. Conceptualised by L&K Saatchi & Saatchi, it is backed by a survey commissioned by Pampers in India's top metro cities.

The study, involving 432 parents, was done by AC Nielsen and it brings to light some interesting facts on parental behaviour - 97 per cent moms believe that 'It takes 2' to raise a happy; healthy baby, 90 per cent of them want their husbands to be more involved in baby care; 88 per cent moms agree that their husbands hesitate to change diapers and 88 per cent dads believe that baby chores primarily need only the mom's involvement.

Following the Nielsen research, Pampers also commissioned an independent research with IPSOS and spoke to Indian doctors. The research revealed that 97 per cent doctors agree that both parents must play an active role in baby care for the baby to develop happy and healthy.

The campaign is targeted at new-age parents in metro cities. "With changing times, we often see fathers heading to a supermarket buying diapers for the baby. So essentially the campaign is a call out largely for the fathers, and to an extent to the mothers as well, to be an advocate of inclusive parenting," says an official response from the P&G spokesperson.

Commenting on the brief and the challenges of executing this digital-led campaign, an agency spokesperson adds, "The diapering category is filled with choices and similar benefits, we needed to build a deeper emotional connection with the mom to make her realise that no other brand cares for her baby more than Pampers. Hence the challenge for us was to get moms to fall in love with Pampers."

While it's evident that the Pampers #ItTakes2 movement is based on a strong insight, the resemblance to 'Ariel - Share the Load' is difficult to miss. However, if the former campaign had happened first, would one be compelled to question the use of this concept for the laundry category? Unlike laundry which is usually one person's 'department' in an urban household, the 'share the load' insight works better in case of parenting because taking care of a baby is a not a job/chore, but a responsibility that ought to be shared.

Take for instance, the Nestlé Everyday Masala Fusion ad with actor Nimrat Kaur which shows how household chores are clearly divided among urban couples. And with all the ease of automation today, is laundry something that requires two people in the first place? Or is it the other way around? Is it that 'share the load' has more salience when talking of laundry, since that is not a conventional role for men?

Jaibeer Ahmad, executive business director and vice-president, J. Walter Thompson, thinks that while fathers have always been shown as caretakers or protectors in ads, Pampers' portrayal as a nurturer is a first.

Jaibeer Ahmad

Ayan Banik

"The idea is more about acknowledging the role of fathers in what has traditionally been classified as a mother's domain. The execution is good and captures a few endearing moments, but the emotional quotient could have been dialled up a bit more. Unlike laundry, men, especially the new age fathers, have always done their bit in bringing up kids. But this has not been reasonably represented in advertising. This ad does that and stops there," he says.

However, according to Ahmad, the ad will definitely resonate with fathers and persuade them to pick up a pack while pushing the shopping trolley in a store.

Ayan Banik, head - brand strategy, Cheil India, feels that although at a superficial level it seems that both Pampers #ItTakes2 and Ariel #Sharetheload operate in the same space of husband and wife needing to share every responsibility equally, if one deep dives into the hidden motivation, it will appear that both are operating in completely different spaces, with different motivation.

"Not just today's modern day dad, but most dads usually get involved in the entire process of bringing up a child, right from changing diapers to spending quality time after coming back home however tired they may be. And this is not today's phenomenon. It has been in existence for quite some time," insists Banik.

He quotes the example of Dove Real Dad Moments, 'It's time we celebrate dads' and Raymond's 'The Complete Man' campaigns to make his point.

Commenting on the motivation behind this behaviour, he says, "It's a selfish one. It's their only way to bond with their kids. Because moms are with the kids even before birth, there's a natural attachment, but dads are the outsiders and they know that well. So as to not remain this stranger to their own kids, they try to share all loads in the child's upbringing. This is the insight on which the 'Robinsons Juice- It's good to be a Dad. It's even better to be a friend' ad was based, and this is quite an old one."

So, while Banik finds the Pampers#ItTakes2 a "nice, cute ad", in his view, it shows something that has always been happening, particularly so now with more working mothers.

In that sense, he says, Ariel's #Sharetheload campaign is doing a tougher job of changing a strong patriarchal mindset that 'men don't do such menial, thankless jobs'. "For men, these are absolutely thankless jobs. They don't want to participate in them out of their own will, and therefore, these chores have been historically relegated to women," notes Banik.

For feedback/comments, please write to newsteam@afaqs.com

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