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Ariel's #ShareTheLoad campaign turning purpose into desirability and sales

The brand and agency share the recipe for creating a resonating purpose-driven campaign

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MUMBAI: Brands today aren’t just selling products, but are providing unique experiences that merge with their identity and consumers’ lives. Technically called purpose-driven marketing, the campaigns tend to touch the right chords.

A number of national and international brands are currently using this mode of marketing to place their products not only on the shelves but also in the conscience of the consumers and laundry detergent brand from the vast portfolio of Procter and Gamble (P&G), Ariel has been one of the forerunners to use this power of brand image and loyalty into communicating something larger to the society.

#ShareTheLoad campaign, which launched its first edition in 2015, is one of the most beautiful campaigns driving the message of ending gender-parity at home. The brand released its third edition (http://www.indiantelevision.com/mam/media-and-advertising/ad-campaigns/a...) recently, and within a few days, its digital campaign has garnered 15 million views and a lot of praise online, including one from Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg. Indiantelevision.com interacted with P&G India, and fabric care marketing director Sonali Dhawan, and BBDO  chairman and chief creative officer Josy Paul regarding what makes this campaign different from other purpose-driven ads in the market and what all went behind in creating its immense success.

Dhawan shared that for her this is not ‘purpose-driven marketing’ but something greater than that. She noted, “Yes, there is a purpose to the marketing but that doesn’t mean any brand can make ads on any particular purpose. There are two very important things, which, if in place, can take the campaign indefinitely. First, is that your product should play a role in the social change you want to affect and second is that your brand should be in a position to influence. For us, the starting point of #ShareTheLoad campaign was the fact that Ariel makes it so easy to do the laundry that anyone can take it up. Ariel thus has a very important role in the conversation and that role can be expanded for a lot of causes.”

Paul also reflected the same sentiments as he reflected, “There are a lot of people jumping in with cause and purpose but ‘without purpose’. What I believe is that the brand has to have not only the authority [to promote an idea] but it [the idea] has to be linked with what the brand can offer. When we say ‘share the load’, it actually resides in the basic truth about the product and the brand. We say it can wash the toughest stains and anyone can do it. That ‘...and anyone can do it’ is what Ariel reflects. It is linked to the brand promise and therefore we earn the license to say this.”

The campaign has not only initiated a change in the core of the society at a very important juncture in time when women equality is actually a massive global phenomenon but has also helped the brand in increasing its sales. That makes it the perfect campaign to support the idea of equality while it also pushes the brand to perform.

According to Dhawan, the reason behind this has been the authenticity with which the brand creates its campaigns. “If the brand is not authentic in its approach towards the campaign, the audience can read through it. P&G has always been authentic in its conversations. Be it Whisper talking about period taboos because it is a brand associated with periods, or be it Pampers talking about it takes two to parenting approach because it is a brand for babies. It is not about any brand picking any topic and saying I want to talk about it because I have the eyeballs there. Then the campaign will not make any impact,” she said.

And how did they realise that its approach has to be towards targeting gender-parity? To this Dhawan replied that the idea came from the core thought of how their brand is affecting consumers’ lives. During a consumer interaction they heard women saying that it is so easy to do laundry with Ariel that they can now share the load with their kids, or their husbands. “At the same time, we did a Nielsen survey because we wanted to understand the state of the society in terms of equality at home. That survey showed us that 79 per cent of the men thought that household chores were only a woman’s job. We saw that there was huge inequality between the genders at homes. This was the second realisation, the first being that my product is great and it can help in many ways.”

That’s when BBDO came in with the pitch of #ShareTheLoad campaign that talks about addressing the core of the problem—that is the conditioning people are given since childhood. The campaign started with a simple question “Is laundry only a woman’s job?”

Paul shared, “When you start you do not plan that it will go into phase two or phase three. It starts with just an idea. But when we saw the response to our first campaign we realised that it was not just another campaign but a movement.”

He further added, “The thing about a movement is that it is very dynamic. It’s not like a campaign where you plan something and now you push it out in the media and get it to distributing. Here you are constantly watching how the audience is reacting to it. So lot of social listening and observations happened and we realised that the campaign or the movement is working. People want to get involved, partners want to get involved, and then the client [Ariel] came to us that they want to go ahead with phase two of it.”

Paul also shared how such campaigns serve a dual purpose of encouraging a change and also help the brand to grow. He said, “The beauty of this is not that it is just about social change. It is purpose-driven but it’s also something that talks about the brand. It allows the brand to be more loved. So, it’s quite interesting how purpose turns into love, love turns into desirability, and desirability turns into sales through such initiatives.”

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