The Guilt Trip through #ShareTheLoad
Ethos, Logos and Pathos form Aristotle's Rhetorical Triangle and are important components of storytelling and persuading the audience. And, P&G India’s #ShareTheLoad campaign for Ariel by BBDO India especially employs emotional appeal through guilt to engage the audience and create a positive change in society, beyond helping the brand reach record sales figures.
The #ShareTheLoad campaign was first introduced in 2015 and brought the issue of gender inequality into public consciousness with a provocative question “Is laundry only a woman’s job?” through the above video that featured a father saddened at how stereotypes and his own behavior have contributed to his daughter’s situation (Ariel India, 2016).
The #ShareTheLoad campaign was launched as an answer to the ‘Dirt is Good’ campaign by Unilever India for Surf. Instead of fighting with product features the #ShareTheLoad campaign was an attempt to engage a social movement in India, tapping into the force of progress that demands gender equality. The provocative, guilt-inducing content led to the campaign becoming a great a success – 1.57 million men pledged to share the load, Ariel benefitted from USD 10 million in earned media publicity and the brand grew value and volume sales by 106% and 105% respectively (WARC, n.d.). The campaign also won 3 D&AD Pencils, including a White Pencil 2 Golds at Spikes Asia 2015, 1 Gold for Effectiveness at Appies Asia 2015 and 2 Golds at Effies India 2015 (WARC, n.d.).
The success of the first campaign led to two follow up campaigns in 2019 and 2020. The 2019 campaign was launched with the above video that again asked a provocative question, “Are we teaching our sons what we have been teaching our daughters?” and features a mother having an epiphany even as she tries to talk her daughter out of quitting a job and makes her reflect if she raised her daughter and son as equals (Ariel India, 2019).
The 2020 campaign launched through the above video highlighted the fact that due to the pandemic-induced lockdown there is an “unequal division of household chores (which) is keeping women awake” and featured a woman waking up at odd hours to complete household chores as her husband and daughter continue sleeping (Ariel India, 2020). Both these campaigns also make emotional appeals and have been widely acclaimed with the video from 2019 receiving nearly 9.5 million views and the video from 2020 receiving over 7.5 million videos on YouTube.
Ariel India. (2016, February 19). Ariel - #ShareTheLoad [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wJukf4ifuKs
Ariel India. (2019, January 24). #ShareTheLoad asks “Are we teaching our sons what we have been teaching our daughters?" - Ariel [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8QDlv8kfwIM
Ariel India. (2019, January 24). Unequal division of household chores is keeping women awake. #ShareTheLoad - for equal sleep [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QAxm23SjHDo
WARC. (n.d.). Ariel: Share the load. Retrieved June 20, 2021, from https://www.warc.com/content/paywall/article/ariel_share_the_load/107822