Cannes Lions 2017: 'Content is King. Context is King Kong,' says Josy Paul on #ShareTheLoad @WARC session

Team BBDO India comprising Josy Paul, Hemant Shringy and Rajat Mendhi make a case for adding the ‘effectiveness’ quotient to a successful campaign

e4m by Srabana Lahiri
Updated: Jun 23, 2017 8:07 AM
Cannes Lions 2017: 'Content is King. Context is King Kong,' says Josy Paul on #ShareTheLoad @WARC session

While the refrain in the ad industry is to ‘think out of the box’, BBDO India called upon its peers to ‘think inside the box’, decoding great ideas that sharpened the effectiveness quotient of its highly successful #ShareTheLoad campaign for P&G’s laundry brand Ariel, at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity 2017 on Thursday. 

Josy Paul, Chairman & Chief Creative Officer, BBDO India, along with his colleagues Hemant Shringy, Executive Creative Director and Rajat Mendhi, EVP - Planning, of BBDO India, led a session titled ‘Lessons from the World's Best Campaigns’ where they spoke about learnings from #ShareTheLoad, encouraging men in India to do their fair share of household chores. Notably, #ShareTheLoad was ranked as the world's most effective advert in WARC100, a study by marketing intelligence service WARC, which said that the ad had doubled sales by value and by volume, and more than 1.5 million men in India had also pledged to do their fair share of housework.    

Presenting to a packed auditorium, Josy Paul said, "Context is more important to people than advertising. We realized there was something far more important to women in urban India than removing stains from their clothes. There was a purpose to remove the cultural stain of gender inequality."

Seven learnings from the campaign were presented by Team BBDO India. Josy Paul opened the session, then Mendhi talked about the first three learnings. Shringy took the next two, and then Josy brought up the rear again. The seven learnings are:

  1. Content is King. Context is King Kong.

  2. A point of view matters more than a point of differentiation.

  3. Empathy is universal currency.

  4. Not just insights, it’s how you incite.

  5. Think inside the box.

  6. From condition to conditioning

  7. Create Acts, not Ads.

The brand has always stood for one-wash performance - that you can remove any stain with just one wash. So this performance story was being played out for the last three years and yet the market was not responding enough because maybe before the functional, you needed some sort of emotional connect. The functional performance message had not been picked up enough. All we had to do was add one more connecting line or thought, which is you can clean any stain with one wash. And it’s so convenient that anyone can do it. So, the moment you add that thought, it brings you into the gender inequality at home discussion. It’s that shift or perspective that added the emotional connect for that performance equity. Suddenly that performance statement became superbly relevant to all Indians,” Josy Paul said, talking about the campaign.

"Think inside the box. There's a tendency to go into a far bigger topic than what your brand can own," Mendhi observed. “Thinking inside the box is literally about thinking within your category, because the thing with a lot of purpose-led work or social movements is that it’s so easy and to ladder it up something which is far broader. That finally gives you something quite generic with a very tenuous connection to your brand and product. With Ariel, what we decided from the very beginning was that we needed to stay within the category. So, it was about laundry, and how laundry can help share the load. Get that whole gender equation, gender inequality conversation and then share the load. And it was about within the home.”

The WARC survey reveals that 89% of consumers really don’t think there is too much difference between the brand they are using and another brand. So how do you get attention, when people themselves don’t care that much? “One of our learnings was, it’s not just about insight, it’s how you ‘incite’. You have a great insight. It’s not just about you telling someone what your great insight is. But, how you incite them into action, and what are the different ways in which you do that. Other than the main communication of the film that we had, there were also these constant things which were small acts, small ideas which were inciting people into action, like simple instructions for men to use the washing machine. Men tend to believe that they are so brilliant with all machines, but when it comes to the washing machine, they try to play dumb. So, we gave them a little booklet that told them how they can use it. We even had a tie-up with the matrimonial site Jeevansathi, where you have various things to measure compatibility. The last question in the list and the most important one is, are you willing to share the load with your partner? So, this is about inciting action in different ways,” said Shringy.  

Josy Paul credited BBDO’s whole founding principle of ‘Create Acts, Not Ads’ as one of the reasons why culturally the agency is very comfortable with such social and cultural accountability for brands. “That way of working is one of the many reasons over and above all that we said has resulted in work like #ShareTheLoad,” he summed up. 

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