Ariel’s #ShareTheLoad: How a simple message created a conversation about gender roles
Since 2015, India’s leading detergent brand Ariel has been sparking meaningful conversations to drive equality in the division of household chores and urging more men to #ShareTheLoad. In the spirit of keeping this conversation going and furthering the cause of equality within households, Ariel recently launched its latest edition of the #ShareTheLoad movement with the film ‘See the signs #ShareTheLoad’, by BBDO India. This year’s movement spotlights the long-term impact of unequal distribution of chores on relationships, urging more men to #ShareTheLoad for an equal and happy marriage.
Ariel’s latest film raises a pertinent question to men: “Are you growing together or apart?” Ignoring inequality in the distribution of household chores is creating an emotional distance in some relationships. In fact, a recent survey shows that 65% of women feel an emotional distance from their spouse. This distance is leading to a breakdown of communication between partners. When the burden of chores is entirely on the woman, the relentless to-do list leaves her stressed and gradually disconnects her from the relationship, as we see in Ariel’s ‘See the signs #ShareTheLoad’ film.
A recent survey shows that 74% women have given up talking to their partners about sharing the load in the house. Ariel firmly believes that the foundation of a strong relationship is based on equality; where both feel respected, appreciated, and valued. Couples that do chores together and share the load are happier and have a stronger bond. It reduces the stress and burden from one of the partners and can boost companionship and happiness. Over 95% couples surveyed believe that doing chores together will improve their relationship.
This new Ariel ‘See the signs #ShareTheLoad’ film showcases the story of an elderly couple and how their relationship has changed over time. Their daughter, who is visiting them, notices signs of distance between her parents and confronts her father on their way to the cinema, which her mother declines to join at the last minute. The father shares how the emotional distance between him and her mother has grown over time and how today ‘their’ shared life has turned more into “his” and “her” life without the shared moments. The daughter explains that the effect of disproportionate load on her mother could be the reason. The father realizes how he has been taking his wife for granted and vows to share the load. He realizes that to share a life, you need to share the load. The car takes a ‘U’ turn. almost like a ‘U’ turn in his own life. The film moves to day 2, where the wife wakes up with the whirring sound of the washing machine, wondering who started the laundry. To her surprise, she notices her husband coming towards her with two cups of tea. It’s a poignant moment when the husband says, “Can we start again?” She is amazed yet pleased, smiles, and together they are seen having a sip and chatting happily around the washing machine.
The film reflects the experiences of many couples who continue to face inequality in their relationships. Many men have started to do more, and many even take up their full share of responsibilities within the home and #ShareTheLoad equally. For those who have not, the film serves as a reminder to recognize signs of inequality in their relationship. While the husband in the film realizes this in his later years, it is crucial for young couples to recognize the impact of inequality and start sharing the load today to build a happy and equal married life.
Sharat Verma, Chief Marketing Officer, P&G India, and Vice President – Fabric Care, P&G Indian subcontinent, said: “With our movement Ariel #ShareTheLoad, our aim has been to strike meaningful conversations that help drive positive change and address inequality. This year’s communication is based on the insight that the unequal distribution of chores can have a long-term effect on relationships. 81% of women feel that unequal distribution of chores has affected their relationship over time. Continue unequal distribution of household chores over time can lead to one partner giving up and creating distance in relationships. But on the other hand, the foundation of a strong relationship is based on equality, where both partners feel respected, appreciated, and valued. 95% couples say that doing chores together will improve their relationship. Therefore, Ariel is urging us all to see the signs and #ShareTheLoad to grow together.”
Josy Paul, Chairman & Chief Creative Officer, BBDO India, said: “The latest edition of #ShareTheLoad is an eye opener for married couples and for the younger generation. It is based on something we have been noticing in society – a growing section of men who are discovering that they have lost out on their relationship but don’t know why. It is a hidden truth that no one is talking about. The truth that there is an emotional distance between couples because of the unequal distribution of household work. As we see in the film ‘the woman keeps on giving and giving… till she finally gives up’. ‘See the signs #ShareTheLoad’ is a resolution, a step towards realizing that to share life together, we need to share the load.”
For the first edition of the #ShareTheLoad campaign in 2015, Ariel raised a very pertinent question – ‘Is laundry only a woman’s job?’. With the 2016 ‘Dads Share the Load’ movement, the conversation aimed to highlight the prejudices that pass down from one generation to the next. In 2019, with ‘Sons #ShareTheLoad’, the brand urged sons to #ShareTheLoad at home with the core question – ‘Are we teaching our sons what we are teaching our daughters?’ Share The Load for ‘Equal Sleep’ in the year 2020 was all about impact and action. It highlighted the impact of the unequal division of chores on their wife’s well-being and leveraged it with men to drive an urgency to act. Last year’s film Ariel See Equal #ShareTheLoad was about seeing your spouse equally because when you See Equal, you #ShareTheLoad.