Home / Companies / People /  ‘Expressing brand values is not optional anymore’
Listen to this article

NEW DELHI : P &G India’s laundry brand, Ariel, has been advocating gender equality through its award-winning campaign #ShareTheLoad. The brand published a series of messages in matrimonial classifieds of newspapers, encouraging prospective grooms to declare I #ShareTheLoad in their matrimonial profiles. In an interview, Sharat Verma, chief marketing officer and vice-president of fabric care, P&G India, spoke about creating campaigns drawn from meaningful social messaging to advertise mass-market brands. Edited excerpts.


Can you share the impact of Ariel’s “Share the Load" campaign on the brand’s reach and awareness?

Ariel is committed to driving progress and improving the lives of consumers. One important way to achieve this is to address the inequality in the division of household chores. It has been a long journey so far, but what keeps us going is the impact we are seeing. For us, Ariel’s #ShareTheLoad is much more than a campaign. It is a movement to help bring about social and cultural change...When we started in 2015, as many as 79% of married men in India thought of laundry as only a woman’s job. I am happy to share that this number has dropped year-on-year and now is 41%. Over the years, millions of men have pledged to #ShareTheLoad, and the participation of men in household chores has gone up multifold. Today, nearly 25% of urban households claim that they divide household chores almost equally. While we have made great progress, and Ariel is proud to be at the forefront of it, we are aware that there is a long way to go before we achieve gender equality in the division of household tasks.

Are issues around equality and inclusion crucial now for mass-market advertising?

At P&G, we’ve chosen to step up and use our voice in advertising as a force for good and a force for growth. We produce several ads every year. As one of the world’s largest advertisers, we believe that the best way to break through the clutter is to connect with consumers on shared values and beliefs and have conversations on the world stage that bust myths, break biases, and shatter stereotypes while building our brands. Consumers today have a strong point of view and expect their brands to take a stand. While we provide consumers with the best products that money can buy, it is also important for us to use our voice to help bring about the change that consumers want to see. Nine out of 10 consumers feel better about a brand that supports a social cause. Therefore, leveraging our voice for larger social change is not just the right thing to do but also the right business choice. As much as 64% of consumers choose, switch, or avoid brands based on their stand on societal issues. Expressing brand values isn’t optional anymore. Our brands such as Vicks, Ariel, and Whisper are great examples of bringing this belief to life. Whisper has been raising awareness around period taboos, Ariel has been working towards gender equality in the division of household work, and Vicks has helped have conversations on transgender rights, adoption, and children with disabilities through the “Touch Of Care" campaign.

Has there been a shift in the company’s media spending post covid? 

It all starts with the consumer. Covid has definitely increased the time consumers spend online. Our mix reflects that change. We also include more digital touchpoints in our media mix. However, in a diverse market such as India, every platform or medium has a role to play and a place in our mix. So, our media mix is dynamic. It is influenced by the brand and category challenge, the consumer habit, the message we want to share with our consumers, as well as the specific aspect of the marketing funnel we want to impact.

Let me take Ariel #ShareTheLoad as an example. Our objective is to reach as many people as possible with our message to advocate for equality in the division of household chores, which have traditionally been assumed to solely be a woman’s job. We believe in the role conversations can play in unwinding decades of conditioning to challenge stereotypes and pave the way for more equality. For that, we will use every medium we can to spread our message. The latest film was placed across social media, digital, YouTube, over-the-top platforms, cinema, and prime time TV, where they have the potential to stir up digital or dinner-table conversations. We are already using our packaging as a powerful tool to be a reminder to share the load. We believe that the more the voices, the faster the change will come. We look to partner with influencers and credible voices across sections of society to share their points of view and give more direction to the conversation that is brewing.

Subscribe to Mint Newsletters
* Enter a valid email
* Thank you for subscribing to our newsletter.
Recommended For You
Edit Profile
Get alerts on WhatsApp
Set Preferences My ReadsFeedbackRedeem a Gift CardLogout