BBDO’s Mumbai is the ad agency responsible for creating a laundry detergent commercial that is resonating all around the world. This Indian company has used a simple product endorsement as an opportunity to share a powerful message about the imbalance that often exists between the sexes.
Its particular focus is on parenting, with a hard-working woman’s father catching a glimpse of the life that his daughter is living. The viewer sees this man observing his daughter, son-in-law and grandson on a typical afternoon, which prompts him to write the letter that serves as narration for the commercial.
The ad shows a striking contrast between the behavior of the woman and the man. The woman is shown breezing into the house and immediately attending to a variety of household tasks. She asks about her son’s day, conducts business over the phone and begins to prepare dinner while her husband shouts a request at her from the couch. He never gets up from his cozy position watching TV, and this disturbs the narrator, who hates to see his beloved daughter run so ragged.
Her father is forced to realize that he is partly to blame for this situation. His daughter grew up watching her mother do all the work around the house. She played house as a little girl, pretending to be an adult who served everyone in the family, just as she had seen her mother do. She learned that it was the privilege of the father to rest after a day of work outside the home. As a result, a pattern of imbalance was perpetuated.
Using the hashtag #ShareTheLoad, this commercial encourages men to step up and do some of the housework at home. It is mainly concerned with laundry, since it is a detergent commercial, but the implications are far-reaching. Watching this father express his regrets has a powerful emotional impact. This is a man who loves his daughter very much and does not want to see her overworked. What’s more, he wants his grandson to grow up understanding that families function best when the parents truly work together for the good of the whole.
While strict gender roles are often a particular problem in India, where this commercial was made, gender equality continues to be an important issue all around the world. It’s little wonder, then, that this ad has evoked such strong reactions from people all around the world. Might a two-minute-long commercial have the power to change hearts and minds, contributing to a gentler tomorrow? It certainly couldn’t hurt.