Indian detergent brand takes on gender stereotypes with touching commercial

Detergent company Ariel India’s latest #ShareTheLoad advertisement, which delivers a powerful message about gender bias, is going viral on social media. The video clip racked up over half a million views on Ariel India’s official channel and over 11 million views on Facebook, after the social networking site’s COO, Sheryl Sandberg, shared it on her page on February 25.

In the clip, a man visits the home of his married daughter, where he notices her manage a fulltime job while looking after the needs of her family without missing a beat or a single complaint, and with no help from her oblivious husband.

Chastened and humbled, the father writes his daughter a letter, apologising on behalf of all those men – including himself – who have allowed their little girls to believe that their place is in the home. He signs off with a promise to make a difference, and returns to his house, where he helps his astonished wife do the laundry.

The commercial has struck a deep chord in patriarchal India, where household tasks are considered the domain of women, and makes a strong counterpoint to the stereotypical, gender-discriminatory tropes in advertising that persist to this day. A case in point is rival detergent brand Surf Excel Matic’s 2015 campaign. It used the tagline “As good as mom’s hand wash”, prompting a severe backlash on social media.

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