Taking the narrative of unequal division of domestic chores a step further, Ariel India has released the #SeeEqual. Social Samosa went behind the scenes with Sharat Verma and Josy Paul.
Ariel India has been urging more and more men to #ShareTheLoad over the last 7 years. Conceptualized by BBDO India, the brand has launched the 5th edition of the #ShareTheLoad campaign - #SeeEqual to further the narrative around the subject of spouses sharing household chores equally.
Social Samosa gets in conversation with Sharat Verma, CMO, P&G India; Vice-President, Fabric Care, P&G and Josy Paul, Chairman and Chief Creative Officer, BBDO to deep-dive into the making of the #SeeEqual campaign and its real-time impact through the recurring initiative.
#SeeEqual - Objective & Insight
While the lockdowns in India brought some challenges, it also brought trends that witnessed more men participate in the household chores, actively. But studies suggest that this trend faded away as things began to open up. Ariel shares that data suggests, “73% of men agreed that they did their share of household chores when they were staying with other men or roommates”. The study further revealed that 80% of women believe their partners know how to do household tasks but choose not to do them.
So, if men have taken the responsibility of chores in the past with other men, what stops most of them from doing this with their life partners?
Verma explains, “This ‘choice’ signaled a mindset issue arising from years of unconscious bias which has resulted in many women feeling that they are not seen as equals when it comes to housework.”
Raising a question against this bias, Ariel India has released its latest campaign, #SeeEqual, reminding families, that true equality is only reflected when domestic chores are shared. Because when we SEE EQUAL, we SHARE THE LOAD!
Thus, the objective of the Ariel India campaign remains in line with the previous narrative – to give one more reason to men to #ShareTheLoad and reach more and more people with the notion of equality in households by posing relevant questions. Verma adds, “By raising a mirror to society, we are seeking a better world where there's equality within the household and hence happier households where men and women see each other as equals and have equal ownership of chores.
The brand-agency duo also commissioned extensive research about the ongoing/recent trends, given how COVID-19 had been an unprecedented factor. The starting point of the insight for the year came from a statistic based on the impact of the pandemic.
The BIG brief: A Collaborative Process
BBDO India has been working on Share The Load since 2015. Josy Paul, Chairman and Chief Creative Officer, BBDO shares, “It’s not a campaign, it’s a movement. Thus, there is no brief but what we have instead is a briefing session - a collaborative process where all of us sit together to figure out what can drive maximum impact."
Paul further explains that the idea is to keep igniting a conversation around gender equality at home and asking pertinent questions – to provoke an emotional reason for getting more men to share the load equally.
The core idea of #SeeEqual remains consistent - to address the unequal division of household chores. The intent is to address it in the most culturally relevant and contextually aligned way.
Paul emphasizes, “There is no formula to sparking conversations. We stay in the moment, keep our eyes and ears open to absorb what is happening around us.”
The brand-agency duo for #ShareTheLoad believes in the collective journey of deep listening that focuses on the ongoing sentiments and the pain points of the people on the subject. Thus, the woman in the Ariel India campaign not just speaks for herself but for the majority of the women in India who silently face inequality at home. “That’s how we arrived at this emotional payoff -when we see equal, we share the load,” says, Paul
The Heartstorm-ing Session For #SeeEqual
In the latest film, the woman is seen taking charge of the situation when she realizes that she is not seen as an equal in her marriage, demanding equality from her husband. Paul shares how the team keeps in mind that the cultural and societal context needs to be kept in mind.
To bring #SeeEqual to life, Pauls explains that the director plays a huge role in the nuances and relationship sensitivity. Overall, the team behind the making of the campaign works through a collaborative process with relevant conversations that reflect current situations and even personal journeys and experiences.
“This forms the emotional data that is essential to us. Thus, it’s not a brainstorm, but a heartstorm”, he shares.
#SeeEqual aims to be reflective of today’s reality where the woman refuses to accept inequality in her marriage. Along with the protagonist’s husband, the film also has two other men who are effortlessly dividing the chores and responsibilities, equally. Whether they are friends, roommates, flatmates, a couple, or brothers – what they represent is the equality with which they see and treat each other.
Sharing some interesting behind-the-scenes, Paul reminisces the last-minute changes and fine-tuning done for the script till the end. “A day before the PPM we reviewed the script and, along with the client, decided to change things around significantly. It made all the difference”, he chimes.
A Recurring Content IP With Real-time Change
Ariel India launched the #ShareTheLoad campaign back in 2015 with a question - why is it that over 95 percent of Indian households have only women doing the laundry? This led to pioneering a conversation around the issue of equality within the households.
The second film in 2016 followed with ‘Dads #ShareTheLoad to break the cycle of prejudice that was being passed down from one generation to the other. In 2018, the narrative of the Ariel campaign revolved around teaching the sons to be the changemakers, and the 2020 film brought another important topic of ‘equal sleep’ to light.
In 2022, the brand brought in #SeeEqual. Verma explains that social and cultural changes take time. “It is a journey as it takes time to undo years and years of conditioning and unconscious bias”, he puts forth.
Speaking about real-time changes or impact through the initiative, Verma asserts that the brand has made progress by making people rethink the subject, resulting in 82% of men now participating in household chores, although not equally.
There is a sentiment of what UN women leaders call, ‘Radical Impatience’, brewing in the society. Verma shares that women feel that the change is not coming fast enough, so much that a recent report by World Economic Forum claims that gender parity is still 135 years away.
Ariel India aims to accelerate this pace of change to bridge inequality within households, sooner than later by addressing the issue, first, followed by urging people to make the change in real-time.
Further, the brand shared that since the campaign’s launch in 2015, the percentage of unequal distribution of household work has dropped year on year, and now stands at 41%. Millions of men have pledged to #ShareTheLoad and the participation of men in household chores has gone up multifold with nearly 25% of urban households claiming to divide household chores in an almost equal manner.
Verma elaborates, “Leveraging our voice for larger social change is not just the right thing to do for the society, but also the right business choice as consumers today have a strong point of view and expect their brands to do the same.”
Further, the brand has also seen the initiative translating into results with STL, as well. “As we connect with our consumer’s shared values and beliefs, they have rewarded us with Loyalty and Preference”, he highlights.
Ariel India is leveraging all the platforms that provide them the opportunity to exchange dialogue with the consumers based on the core theme of the #ShareTheLoad.
Packaging is a powerful tool for the brand in this context – to remind people to share the load, all through the year.
The brand brought special edition STL packs that can help trigger conversation at a household level. Keeping resonance and like-mindedness at the heart of its communication, Ariel also partnered with influencers for more credible share-of-voices across genres and sections of the society
Our largest tool that encompasses it all is Word-of-Mouth, shares Verma. The brand intends to bring faster changes and relentless conversations on a national level.
Further, from qualitative understanding through personal stories to quantitative research with online surveys and in-depth consumer research to gauge relevant insights on matters in hand, the team utilizes various tools to reach the heart of the matter. Verma highlights, “Over the years, we have commissioned multiple kinds of research with Neilsen and other online partners like Toluna.”
88% of women believe it is time to talk to men about doing their share of the household equally, which is what the brand attempted to bring to lif, he exclaims
Going Beyond Being A Seasonal Campaign
For brands looking at relevant and recurring campaigns, Verma shares that it's crucial to be consistent. Verma explains, “All brands have the potential to be a force for good. But the purpose cannot be seasonal but has to be a long-term journey – it has to be sustained over time.
It is fairly easy to do a social-cause-related campaign once. But difficult to advocate for the same cause, fuelling the same conversation year after year as a movement, he says.
Agreeing to this thought, Paul urges that social purpose is inherent in every product or service. “It is our moral duty, as marketers, to find it and build it. That’s how brands transform themselves and become icons while adding meaning to the lives of the people."
Advertising, if done right, can truly have a lasting impact. However, it is equally important to complete the circle. Many times, brands move from one issue to the other, which is ineffective. Moreover, consumers can see through it when brands are not honest in their intention of driving change, explains the industry veteran.
“Brands should not leverage the ‘social cause’ as a quick mantra to draw attention; something we are mindful about with Ariel ‘Share The Load’ campaign, shares the team.
- Creative Agency: BBDO India
- Chairman & Chief Creative Officer: Josy Paul
- Chief Executive Officer: Suraja Kishore
- Chief Creative Officer, Mumbai: Hemant Shringy
- Senior Creative Director Art: Balakrishna Gajelli
- Associate Creative Director Copy: Karan Nair
- Art Director: Omkar Rachha
- Account Management
- GM and EVP, Mumbai: Priyanka Rishi
- Client Services Director: Omar Khan
- Account Manager: Varun Shah
- Agency Producer: Krishna KV
- Production house: Ransom
- Executive Producer: Salil Khurana, Suhana Sharma
- Director: Shimit Amin
PR Partner – Ketchum Sampark
Digital Partner – Kinnect
Media Partner – Mediacom
On-ground Partner – Encompass
*Disclaimers: Based on a 3rd party survey conducted by Toluna with 900 respondents across seven cities