Cannes Lions: The quest for gender equality behind BBDO’s entries this year

BBDO’s award-winning campaign #ShareTheLoad for Ariel will compete in the global advertising festival once again with its latest version. Will the ad repeat history?

e4m by Kanchan Srivastava
Published: May 11, 2022 7:55 AM  | 4 min read
Cannes Lions

With the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity 2022 inching closer, advertising agencies in the country have wrapped up their entries for the most prestigious global advertising gala. The festival is slated to be held from June 20 to 24.

Today we take a look at BBDO’s entries this year. The Indian arm of the New York-based advertising group has sent three entries of the fifth edition of “ShareTheLoad” for its client P&G India in various categories for the Cannes Lions.

Interestingly, the campaign won metals at Cannes Lions in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2019. BBDO leaders have their fingers crossed for this year.

“We are entering the integrated campaign for Ariel detergent ‘See Equal #ShareTheLoad’ in the Glass, Film and PR categories,” Josy Paul, BBDO India Chairman and Chief Creative Officer, told exchange4media.

Glass Lions was launched in 2015 with the goal of recognising works that challenged gender bias and shattered stereotypical images, which have got rooted in marketing messages.

“We are also entering our ‘name change pack’ #ShareTheLoad in the activation and outdoor categories and Ariel’s ‘open letter’  to advertisers and media partners in the Print & Publication category,” Paul added.

The Campaign

Every campaign for Ariel since 2015, seeks to highlight the inherent patriarchy in the Indian society in a thought-provoking way and encourages men to do their share of household chores at home.

In the spirit of keeping this conversation going and furthering the cause of equality within households, the 5th edition of #ShareTheLoad raises the question – “If men can share the load equally with other men, why are they not doing it with their wives?”

The film revolves around a woman who visits neighbours with her husband. Looking at the two men go about their morning tasks in complete harmony and both contributing equally, she starts a conversation with her husband. The man casually recollects how he used to split all chores back in the day with his college roommate. This incident, along with a few more, make the woman realize that she is not being seen and treated as an equal. After mulling over it, she takes a stand for herself and shares her realization with her husband, demanding to be seen as an equal. This conversation makes the husband drop his bias and share the workload at home.

Ariel reached out to all content creators and advertisers through front-page advertisements in leading dailies to address the representation of women in the media.

In the name change pack, Ariel has turned its packs into a silent protest – by changing the name on its pack with names of hundreds of Indian men.

‘It's a movement’

BBDO is known for highlighting gender gaps and patriarchal norms in our society through its powerful campaigns. Over the last 7 years, Ariel’s campaigns have continuously sparked conversations around the unequal division of domestic chores within households.

“For BBDO India, #ShareTheLoad' is not a campaign but a larger story and a 'movement' that started in 2015. Over the last 7 years, it has influenced culture and changed the mindset of men while contributing to the success of the Ariel brand,” says Paul.

The World Economic Forum predicts that gender equality is at least 136 years away. “The campaign aims to accelerate the change,” the agency asserts.


The ad film has garnered more than 73 million views on YouTube alone. This campaign has got over 4 billion impressions, earned $35 million media impressions and achieved a 43 per cent increase in emotional equities and 29 per cent rise in sales for the brand, says BBDO.

It has also triggered millions of uncomfortable conversations covered in 1,900 publications across 40 countries.

As per P&G surveys, over 41 per cent of men still believe that doing laundry is a woman’s job and 83 percent of women feel that men don’t see women as equal when it comes to housework.

“Until our survey gets that percentage to zero, our job is not done. As a socially responsible brand, we will continue to pursue this movement,” Sharat Verma, CMO, P&G India; VP and Business Unit Head for Fabric Care, had told e4m in a conversation early this year.

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