HANG ON A MINUTE – WHY CAN’T MEN DO THE WASHING?
MediaCom's mission: to launch Ariel Matic, a new premium detergent in the Indian subcontinent, including India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Its obstacle: tens of rivals and an uninterested consumer target. Its secret weapon: men.
On the Indian Subcontinent, washing is seen as women’s work. It doesn’t matter what a woman does out of the home. If she’s a director, a highly qualified professional or even a CEO, doing the washing is part of being a “good wife”.
“You might be president of PepsiCo. You might be on the board of directors. But when you enter this house, you're the wife, you're the daughter, you're the daughter-in-law, and you’re the mother. You're all of that. Nobody else can take that place. So leave that damned crown in the garage. And don't bring it into the house.” – A conversation between Indira Nooyi, President and CEO PepsiCo and her mum.
The agency identified a huge growth opportunity. Local cultures were hugely patriarchal, and washing was simply something that women did in more than 95% of households. But while women were bored with new detergents and brand messages, men were a whole new audience. By growing brand affinity and brand preference with men, Ariel could overtake its rivals.
Its best weapon in the detergent war was to ask a simple question: “Why couldn’t a man do the washing?” This was a powerful global truth that could not only work on the Indian subcontinent but also add value elsewhere.
Across the Indian subcontinent women play an important part in many walks of life. It has leading female politicians, star actresses, bankers, journalists, astronauts, businesswomen, scientists and army personnel. They are breaking the glass ceiling in many professions, but all of them have a second job: running the home.
MediaCom's insight was that, no matter how successful a woman is professionally, at home she is still the house wife. It was time for men to “SHARE THE LOAD”. It would use laundry as a metaphor for all the other jobs that women also took on at home - and seek to create lasting change in centuries-old beliefs.
It called on men to contribute to household work, highlighting the fact that Ariel Matic made it so simple to remove stains and clean clothes that “even a man could do it”. To succeed, the agency knew it had to flip the detergent marketing model on its head. Instead of talking to women about a superior detergent, it told their other halves how to do the laundry.
To get credible advocates onside, Ariel partnered up with washing machine manufacturers and even clothing labels to build the conversation about how men can share the load. Ariel Matic would be the subcontinent’s first His ‘n’ Hers washing powder. The content created for this message would also add value to Ariel Matic in other markets, creating a powerful communication that would resonate with women around the world.
The agency kick-started the debate with a unique Nielsen survey, which revealed that 85% of women on the subcontinent felt that they have two jobs – one at work and the other at home. 83% believed that men should Share the Load at home.
Top news channels initiated debate around the results, while it invoked influencers and celebrities to ask men to Share The Load.
It also asked prominent clothing brands – American Crew, Shoppers Stop and designer Masaba Gupta – to get involved, creating new clothing tags that read: “This fabric can be washed by both men and women.”
In store, MediaCom launched a custom ‘His and Her’ Laundry Pack.
On social, it asked men to show their commitment via a ‘Wash bucket challenge’, challenging them to post selfies doing the laundry and commit to Sharing The Load on their social channels.
The campaign appealed to men’s competitive nature, challenging them to demonstrate their new-found knowledge while leading washing machine manufacturers endorsed the Ariel His and Her packs.
And it even cheekily asked dating sites and portals to actually make “Sharing The Load” part of a woman’s selection criteria for finding the perfect man.
The video – showing a father regretting the poor role model he set for his daughter by not helping at home – has been used as owned content not just in India and Pakistan but also in Spain, Germany and Romania.
Ariel improved lives of millions of women by making laundry relevant for men:
- Sales grew by 75% year on year, double the target.
- The video was viewed more than 50m times globally in just 50 days
- More than 2 million Indian men pledged to do the laundry – that’s more men than there are in New Zealand!
- 25,000 His and Hers washing instruction tags were sewn into expensive clothes designed to appeal to the target.
- Ariel’s message has gone viral in 22 countries in 16 languages with Ad Recall increase at 192 Index.
- Consumer engagement with Ariel increased 4.6 times – the highest ever.
- 98% of consumers surveyed recommend Ariel to their friends.
- Millions engaged and the campaign delivered more than 1.6 billion free earned impressions.
- Unaided Awareness for the brand indexed at 132.
- It generated earned media worth $11 million with two billion free impressions
- #ShareTheLoad trended No. 1 on International women’s day.
Ariel was so successful in influencing the cultural fabric that India’s second biggest matrimonial portal – Jeevansaathi.com – has now made ‘Sharing The Load’ a key criterion for selecting the perfect life partner. Share The Load became a unique and emotional equality platform for Ariel – and will be leveraged for years to come.