CANNES: For the agency team behind Ariel’s WARC 100 topping Share the Load campaign, a point of view remains central to communications, as the strategy depended on spurring people to act.

The campaign, which made international headlines with its message urging gender equality at the level of the household, has been one of the detergent brand’s most effective to date. (For more, subscribers can read WARC’s report: How Ariel’s Share the Load created a series of acts, not just ads)

“We live in a world where advertising is increasingly turning into a blur,” Rajat Mendhi, EVP – Planning at BBDO India, told WARC’s Lessons from the world’s best campaigns session in Cannes.

“The context of people’s lives is undoubtedly more important to people than advertising,” he continued. As such, the P&G-owned detergent brand was clear that “there was something far more important to women in urban India than removing stains from their clothes.” The gender disparity in housework was “simmering” within families.

To activate the campaign, the brand needed to show that it understood “the condition that Indian women are going through right now,” Hemant Shringy, the agency’s executive creative director, added. By placing the brand in the corner of Indian women who face two jobs – one in the office and one at home – every day.

However, Mendhi said, the typical cause-related marketing formula was not a part of the campaign. “There’s this huge tendency to go wider, broader, into a far bigger topic than what your brand can own,” leading to a very tenuous connection to both brand and product.

Becoming the consumer’s advocate created volunteers for the brand in the process, Shringy said. This began subtly in the first year, as the brand put out a ‘His and Hers’ pack of Ariel, which taught men to use the one machine in the house they claimed not to understand.

Beyond that, labels were included in clothes sold on Amazon and Flipkart, and an integration with leading matrimonial websites in India saw thousands of men agreeing to share the load of housework in order to find a partner.

Finally, Josy Paul, Chief Creative Officer and Chairman of the agency, concluded that the ad’s success arose not from a desire to change the world, but from “trying to move to a better place,” creating, in the process, “better energy.”

Data sourced from WARC