New Delhi: Is laundry only a woman’s job? This is a question P&G-owned laundry detergent brand Ariel has been asking since 2015, urging men to shoulder the responsibility of sharing household chores. Taking a step ahead in pushing the gender equality narrative, the brand has launched a new campaign urging mothers to revisit ways in which they raise their sons, teaching them to shoulder household responsibilities.

With laundry at its centre, the new ad conceptualised by advertising agency BBDO India shows the disparity in the way sons and daughters are being raised even in a progressive household. The film features a mother who is shattered that her daughter is planning to quit her job after marriage because the husband is unwilling to help her in household chores. She realises that her own son has never done any housework and starts teaching him to do laundry. The underlying message being when the sons of today become husbands of tomorrow, they should be equipped to share the load.

“If sharing the load is taught at an impressionable age, it becomes a part of their value system. As a mother of a boy and a girl, I truly believe this is possible. I also believe that with Ariel it is possible to simplify the lives of consumers and a happier household is one where both men and women share the load," said Sonali Dhawan, marketing director, P&G India, and fabric care.

The Ariel campaign has been ranked as the world’s most effective campaign for 2017 and 2018 according to World Advertising Research Centre (Warc) 100 ranking, which ranks the world’s best marketing campaigns and companies according to their business impact. In a third-party survey in 2015, the company said it found 79% men thought household chores were a women’s job. In 2016, 63% men thought household chores were a woman’s / daughter’s job and ‘outside’ work was man’s / son’s job. In 2018, this number reduced to 52%.

“We are excited to launch the next phase of the movement. The new campaign is based on an uncomfortable truth. In the film, the mother’s realisation of an unspoken social conditioning and her determined resolution is thoughtful, sensitive and a big leap for society. Her simple action gives men one more reason to share the load at home," according to Josy Paul, creative director, BBDO.

In 2015, Ariel's first ad campaign on gender equality raised a very relevant question - ‘Is laundry only a woman’s job?’

With the 2016 ‘Dads Share The Load’, the conversation was aimed at unearthing the reason for the disparity, the cycle of prejudice passed down from one generation to the next. The brand is focusing on reparenting sons and teaching them equality.

Priya Gurnani, creative head at advertising agency Publicis Worldwide, Bengaluru thinks that the new Ariel ad addresses an important problem of women’s unintentional contribution to patriarchy in our society.

“When the feminist movement took centre stage, the women knew exactly what to do and how to behave but the men were left behind. This has been captured so beautifully in the Ariel ad with a powerful thought ‘Humne ladkiyon ko toh apne pairon par khada hona sikhadiya, par ladkon ko hath batana nahin sikhaya’ (loosely translated to that we taught our girls to become self-reliant but never taught our sons the same life skills)," she said. Gurnani also pointed out that instead of male bashing and pointing out the faults in stereo typical masculinity, the Ariel ad aims at providing a solution. “This is exactly the need of the hour. We must share this ad as much as we can," she added.