How Ariel took a deep-rooted cultural stain head-on with #ShareTheLoad

Category penetration is an important business metric. It sets the premise for most marketing campaign discussions.

There are usually two types of categories —

  1. Established: Purchases beyond a threshold, high on awareness and competition. Eg: Detergents, Colas etc
  2. Emerging: Purchases below a threshold, awareness is low, competition might be less. Eg: Mutual funds, Digital payments

Products in emerging categories commit a large part of their $$ budgets to educate consumers and grow the category.

Established categories enjoy high awareness but cut-throat competition, dynamic market shifts and changing consumer preferences keep brands on their toes.
And thus, loyalty (repurchase) & brand advocacy (will recommend to friends) are critical. Having a deeper connection with the consumer through a brand purpose helps.

Surf cracked this brilliantly in 2005 with ‘Daag ache hain’. It formed an instant connect with the consumer — Urban Indian woman.

Meanwhile, Ariel stuck to their narrative of superior product performance and quality.

By 2010’s — Surf had made it evident for Ariel to find a contemporary conversation to woo the urban consumers in India. Focus only on product performance and stain removal wasn't going to work.

The quest for ‘relevance’ for Ariel made them look closely at the Indian household. A deep-seated insight came out — the stain of gender inequality in Indian households.
Females were spending ~5 hours in doing household as opposed to ~19 minutes by Males. A Nielsen study pointed out — 76% Indians believed laundry is a women’s job.

Ariel struck gold. While Surf’s approach was progressive, it still showed Indian woman as the housekeeper more so responsible for laundry. Ariel’s insight challenged this ideology altogether.

Ariel posed an important question to Indians — ‘Is doing laundry only a woman’s job?’

Ariel further sustained the campaign with #DadsShareTheLoad & #SonsShareTheLoad taking the narrative a step further and inviting other members of the family in the conversation.

Ariel also picked up some highly contextual and unexplored media choices.

1. Wash Care Labels
Reinvented the most overlooked part of clothes — washing labels, to include a new instruction “Can be washed by both Men & Women”

2. Packaging
Introduced ‘his & her’ pack to promote an equal split of responsibilities. This was further amplified with an interesting integration on a leading calendar.

3. Matrimonial websites
Ariel partnered with leading matrimonial websites to enable a mandatory requirement during sign-up to share the load of laundry.

Marketing, Coffee and Formula 1 keep me up at night.