AD/JUDICATED: Ariel Detergent’s “Share the Load” Campaign Has a Lesson in It



Laundry detergent is a typically uninspired product category rife with clean freak moms saving the day through stain removal, obsessed with sniffing their laundry. Often paired with feature-touting demonstrations of Brand A vs Brand B, preferably on a sock. Laundry detergent is not something I spend a lot of time thinking about. I’ll admit I don’t even separate my whites from my darks (don’t tell my mom). 

So when I saw Ariel detergent’s “Share the Load” campaign out of India last year, I thought….wow (OKAY, so I also teared up a bit). They took a household product and elevated it to a social issue. This spot connected with women in terms of their relationship to laundry, but also their relationships with their husbands. It wasn’t just helping them do laundry better, it was looking to change the whole laundry dynamic. 

The spot had empathy, and it had a lesson in it that was as much for the husbands as for the wives. Told through a grandfather’s letter to his daughter, it’s a story of regret. But the takeaway was that people can change, and roles are not set in stone. Our actions are daily micro-lessons passed on to our children, and there’s great responsibility in that. 

Ariel detergent also didn’t shame the husbands, it saw their traditional role as the result of a family dynamic going on for generations. It treats everyone with understanding, while laying it out pretty clearly: things need to change.  

Lately I’ve seen a lot of brands trying to tie themselves to a higher cause, or the societal cause du jour. Too often I’m turned off because it feels pandering, or disconnected from what they’re actually selling. It’s eye-rollingly irritating to me when it’s done badly. When it’s done well, even for laundry detergent, well apparently it makes me cry.