Creative Brand Strategy

P&G’s bid for an equal household continues with the new Ariel ‘Share the Load’ launch


By Amit Bapna, Editor-at-large

February 15, 2022 | 6 min read

The Drum goes behind the scenes of the just-launched fifth edition of Ariel ‘Share the load’ with Sharat Verma, chief marketing officer, P&G India, and Josy Paul, chairman and chief creative officer, BBDO India.

Ariel launches its 5th ‘Share the load’ edition

Ariel launches its 5th ‘Share the load’ edition

Paul and Verma share the journey of the award-winning campaign since its inception. They share the evolution of the category-building campaign since it first launched in 2015, the process of creative briefing that goes behind each edition, and what went into making the current edition.

Way back in 2015, Procter & Gamble India had launched what has now become an industry-famous campaign for its laundry brand Ariel '#ShareTheLoad', giving it a never-before human voice away from just being a detergent powder. The campaign has sparked conversations over the years, around not just laundry but a larger stance on household chores and how they need to be shared equally by the household members.

The brand has just launched its fifth edition of ‘Share the load - See Equal’ campaign, conceptualized by its agency BBDO India.

“With #See Equal, we want to address years of unconscious bias and conditioning, which may be coming in the way of us all sharing the load", says Sharat Verma, chief marketing officer, P&G India, and vice president, fabric care, P&G India.

Sharing the load in 2022 and beyond

This year Ariel wanted to continue to spark conversations around the unequal division of domestic chores within households and urging more and more men to #ShareTheLoad.

"With Ariel #ShareTheLoad, we strive to trigger meaningful conversations that will help drive positive change", says Verma.

The brand campaign raises a pertinent question – if men can share the load equally with other men, why are they not doing it with their wives?

The current film is about a modern woman, who visits the neighbors with her husband. Looking at the two men go about their morning tasks in complete harmony and both contributing equally, she points this out to her husband. The man recollects how he used to split all chores back in the day with his college roommate. The woman then asks him tough questions and makes him realize that she is not being seen and treated as an equal. She decides to take a stand for herself and shares her realization with her husband, demanding to be seen as an equal.

Says Verma, “The creative brief has been very simple: let us give men one more reason to share the load.” The movement is about amplifying the conversations that are already happening in society, he adds.

The 2022 campaign

How is this edition different?

Explains Josy Paul, chairman and chief creative officer, BBDO India: “There is a definite shift in the tonality in this edition of Ariel #ShareTheLoad. For the first time, it’s the woman who speaks for herself and sharing her point of view.”

Much has changed in the last two years and the campaign has tried to fully reflect the sense of restlessness and impatience in women today, especially at the pace of change, adds Paul. A recent World Economic Forum report has pointed out that gender parity, at the current pace, is more than 135 years away.

Evolution of the ‘Share the load’ positioning

For the first edition of the #ShareTheLoad campaign, Ariel had raised the question around ‘Is laundry only a woman’s job?’.

The next edition, launched in 2016 was around the ‘Dads share the load’ movement with the conversation aimed at bringing out the prejudices that pass down from one generation to the next.

In 2019, the focus was brought on sons and their upbringing, with the brand urging sons to #Sharetheload at home with the core question: are we teaching our sons what we are teaching our daughters?

The fourth edition, launched in 2020, was around sharing the load for equal sleep in the year 2020, highlighting the impact of the unequal division of chores on the wife’s wellbeing.

The latest film #ShareTheLoad SeeEqual is about seeing the spouse equally because when ‘you see equal, you share equal’.

Behind the scenes on the briefing process: In conversation with Josy Paul, BBDO India

It’s not a brief, it’s a briefing. The difference between a brief and a briefing is that a brief is transactional, while a briefing is a discussion and an emotional exchange. In the case of P&G Ariel, we cease to be a client and agency. The division dissolves because we’ve been together building this movement over the last seven years. The starting point of course is what Sharat (Verma) says, “Let’s find one more emotional reason to get more men to share the load equally”.

The briefing process is highly collaborative and very fluid and can take days. Everybody contributes with findings. It involves deep listening and new data and observations to capture the current context. We keep our eyes and ears open to absorb what is happening around us. What were the conversations that happened over the years when we have been talking about #ShareTheLoad, how has that evolved, what are the experts saying, what is the sentiment of the larger groups of people, what are the pain points, and what have we observed as progress already? These are some of the questions we ask ourselves, so we are able to understand the context better.

Unless the message is contextually aligned, relevant, relatable, and triggers a discussion, it won’t be able to create any impact. That’s the way we arrive at the insight and idea.

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