The need for women empowerment has been haunting India in almost all aspects of life. Everyone from the newly formed government to the opposition parties and groups that can influence the public, have been harping on empowering the women of the country. Bringing in gender equality in all roles has been the reigning theme colouring the whole of last year, with most brands, especially in the FMCG sector leveraging the theme in their communication campaigns.
This year, a detergent powder brand has paved the way with its campaign titled ‘#SharetheLoad’ where it has put forward a pertinent question – ‘Is Laundry only a woman’s job? The brand is Ariel India from P&G and it is looking to initiate awareness around the need for men to share the laundry, based on a survey conducted by AC Neilson on household statistics. The survey points out that “76% of Indian men feel that laundry is a woman’s job.”
Other stats revealed more numbers, but none were alarmingly surprising:
- More than 2/3rds of Indian women feel there exists inequality at home, between men and women.
- 85% of working Indian women feel they have two jobs, one at work and another at home.
- 73% of married Indian women feel a man prioritizes relaxing over helping with household chores.
- More than 2/3 rds of Indian men prefer to watch TV rather than do the laundry.
- 77% of Indian men depend on women to do the laundry.
Ariel’s ‘#SharetheLoad’ is powered by a TVC featuring a thought provoking conversation between two older women. Conceptualised by BBDO India, it leaves the viewer with the campaign question – Is Laundry only a woman’s job?
Set in a home where the two are having tea, they begin discussing about the changed times where women have started joining the workforce and earning much more than what they did in the earlier times. Highlighting the state of working women, one of the women makes a remark about her daughter in law earning more than her son, while we see the said daughter in law getting ready for office.
Just then, her son calls out to his wife asking her why she hasn’t washed his green shirt yet. The question pops followed by the campaign hashtag #ShareTheLoad hoping viewers would carry on the conversations on social media using the hashtag.
And, indeed the hashtag became a talking point on Twitter with most women applauding the brand’s initiative. Taking the message further, Ariel has associated with women celebrities in different cities to take the question to the masses. The campaign launch saw the likes of Shilpa Shetty Kundra, Neha Dhupia, Mandira Bedi, Amala Paul asking the men if laundry is only a woman’s job. The message is also being spread through the famed Dabbawalas of Mumbai, with campaign message being displayed on their t-shirts as well as the lunch boxes they bring to the men working at offices.
— Ariel India (@ArielIndia) January 5, 2015
— Ariel India (@ArielIndia) January 5, 2015
— Ariel India (@ArielIndia) January 9, 2015
On the digital front, it has leveraged social media to create buzz. The Facebook and Twitter pages of Ariel India have been sharing the survey results to back up the campaign message, while urging women to raise the question further. Contests on Twitter have been asking women to share unique ways of sending the message to their husbands.
Is Laundry always on a woman’s to-do list? Share your thoughts using #IsLaundryOnlyAWomansJob & win exciting hampers. Participate now
— Ariel India (@ArielIndia) January 12, 2015
Tell us the different ways in which you are sending the message #IsLaundryOnlyAWomansJob to your better half and win exciting prizes.
— Ariel India (@ArielIndia) January 28, 2015
Do you wish to see your man do laundry? Tweet using #IsLaundryOnlyAWomansJob and tag your spouse.
— Ariel India (@ArielIndia) January 19, 2015
Additionally there’s a blogger outreach campaign powered through the many influencers on the medium – like women bloggers. Ariel launched a blogging contest for women bloggers in the country to share their thoughts. Participants needed to write in their real life stories or create fiction around this inequality in the home using the hashtag #IsLaundryOnlyAWomansJob.
A women only movement to raise awareness on gender inequality
The campaign has been designed and executed well across various mediums. Powered by the Neilson data on household stats, Ariel’s #sharetheload stands strong in terms of numbers, and coupled with the interesting association with Dabbawalas of Mumbai, it will add to a ‘high’ brand recall. Also, Ariel has ensured the buzz is kept alive on social media by leveraging celebrities active on Twitter, blogging contests and the social media savvy users by way of simple contests. Influencer outreach, blogger outreach, YouTube ads, incentivised Twitter contests are all helping drive the movement.
Concept-wise Ariel’s message to men to share the load is a noble one. But, surprisingly, men haven’t been involved despite the message being directed towards them. The campaign features only womens’ voices in each of its touch points – the TVC features women, the celebrities roped in are women, the blogging contest is only open for women, the Twitter contests are also asking women users how they would send the message to their husbands.
All in all, the campaign has only given a platform for women to raise their voice against gender inequalities at home. Clever and convenient for a detergent powder brand to create a one-sided gender movement on laundry duty at home! But this could lead to repercussions in a social media driven age where equality is a given. By alienating men, the brand has left a sort of negative ‘feminist’ trail, that defeats the very purpose of gender equality. #ShareTheLoad could do much better if men celebrities joined in the movement and took the pledge to share laundry at home. Also, how about rewarding men who are already taking their share of the laundry at home?