Procter & Gamble/Ariel: Sons #ShareTheLoad
As Procter & Gamble’s flagship laundry detergent in India, Ariel has enjoyed a strong bond with families for generations. So when the brand posed the provocative question “is laundry only a woman’s job?” in 2015, it had a direct effect on the fabric of Indian culture. Ariel’s subsequent #sharetheload campaign directly challenged the disparity between women, men, and household chores, and launched both meaningful conversation and social change. As the brand approached 2019, we realized that #sharetheload was no longer a campaign – it was a movement — and our responsibilities had only intensified. To take #sharetheload to the next level, we needed to drive awareness and thought leadership on gender equity in a big way, with a message that generated both affinity and sales for the Ariel brand.
So we put the focus on a next generation solution. Ariel posed the question “Are we teaching our sons what we’ve been teaching our daughters?” and directly challenged our target customer. Mothers needed to step up as changemakers by raising their sons to do laundry. Through comprehensive messaging and activations that asked sons to “share the load,” we built emotional connections and purchase intent that went right to the heart of modern India.
RESEARCH AND INSIGHTS
Our research confirmed what many already knew: Boys in India are coddled. Even as the country moves towards more professional opportunities for women, their domestic responsibilities haven’t gone away, and mothers share responsibility for shielding sons from doing household chores.
Brand surveys revealed that 74% of women in India are reluctant to accept additional responsibilities and promotions at work, believing they will conflict with their domestic duties. 68% of men believe weekends are for relaxing, while 72% of women use weekends to catch up on housework. 50% of men don’t do laundry, much like their fathers before them, and 40% don’t even know how to operate a washing machine.
The sons of today who will become the husbands of tomorrow are not prepared to be equal partners. And Ariel was uniquely positioned to make a difference.
Sons #ShareTheLoad was designed as provocative social movement, building on the positive recall of Ariel’s previous campaigns as it urged parents to rethink the way they raise their sons. Sharing the load of laundry would become the symbolic step towards removing the cultural stain of gender inequality at home, so both sons and daughters could realize their full potential.
Compelling video would be supported across all channels in a pan-India strategy featuring brand collaborations, concept-driven events, and coordinated social media, influencer, and marketing association campaigns.
And that troubling statistic about men not knowing how to operate a laundry machine? PR set out to tackle that in an especially unforgettable way.
EXECUTION AND TACTICS
- Hosted prominent speakers and celebrities to launch Ariel Sons #ShareTheLoad with panel discussion and video premiere.
- Engaged 45 cities in India in activations to spread the campaign and generate media coverage.
- Activated Mommy Bloggers throughout India, voicing the need for mothers to be changemakers while promoting Ariel’s Sons #ShareTheLoad mission.
- Created a topical integration for Women’s Day, featuring celebrity couple Sargun Mehta, Ravi Dubey, and Ravi’s mother endorsing the Sons #ShareTheLoad message.
- Launched the concept of SON-day, converting every Sunday in a month into a sons-share-the-load opportunity, complete with a laundry-fueled rap song.
- Focused Sons #ShareTheLoad messaging on the most popular and public form of transportation in India: auto rickshaws.
- Partnered with the Hello English app and Thrive Global India to spread the message of gender equality within households.
- Curated the #HamperOfEquity as a novel depiction of the #ShareTheLoad mission, inspiring shares from our multiple influencers, celebrities, and targer consumers.
- Partnered with Whirlpool and retail chains Big Bazaar and Metro Cash & Carry to give men a crash course in doing laundry tied to the colorful — and stain inducing — Festival of Holi.
EFFECTIVENESS AND RESULTS
- From product sales, to brand equity, to powerful culture-shifting messages, Sons #ShareTheLoad resonated across genders throughout India — and even into the global consciousness.
- Sons #ShareTheLoad generated more than 3 billion impressions worldwide through earned media coverage across TV, publications, consumer activations and outreach.
- The campaign video garnered 64 million views and increased engagement fivefold.
- The movement had a significant impact over the years, with more men sharing the load than ever before. In 2015, 79%* men thought household chores are a women’s job. In 2016, 63%* men thought household chores are a woman’s / daughter’s job and ‘outside’ work is man’s / son’s job. In 2018, this number has reduced to 52%*. Despite progress, more work is still to be done.”
- After the Sons #ShareTheLoad campaign, Unaided Brand Awareness for Ariel increased 13%, consideration increased 21%, penetration and share increased 11%, and sales increased 125% compared to previous year.
- Ariel was ranked among Brand Equity’s 10 Most Trusted Brands, jumping to #7 in 2019 from #44 the previous year.
- The Sons Share the Load mission was amplified at the World Economic Forum in Davos, where gender equality advocates including Sheryl Sandberg celebrated its powerful message. The Ariel campaign was also the centerpiece of conversation at the UN Women and P&G’s International Gender Equality summit (#WeSeeEqual).