Ad of the Day: A Father’s Touching Apology to His Daughter Highlights the Struggles of Working Mothers

#ShareTheLoad earns praise from Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg

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A powerful new ad campaign from India focuses on one of the challenges faced by women around the world: balancing the demands of raising a family with maintaining a successful career.

BBDO's Mumbai office turned what could have been a standard promotion for laundry detergent brand Ariel into an extended apology letter from a father to his adult daughter. In fact, the product in question is not clear until the end of the emotionally wrenching two-minute spot.

#ShareTheLoad boldly takes on India's traditionally patriarchal society. The father apologizes to his daughter both for his inability to help with household chores and her husband's seemingly naive role in reinforcing the cliché that a woman's place is in the home—where her work is never done.

The most powerful aspect of the short film may be that the father's apology applies to multiple generations of women, including his wife and his daughter, who as a child was taught to occupy more traditional domestic roles and as a successful career woman tries to balance myriad responsibilities while her distracted and oblivious husband sits in the background.

The work also doubles as a call to Indian husbands to resist long-held double standards and help their wives shoulder the burden of household chores. It's an extension of the #ShareTheLoad initiative, which launched last year; the agency's first effort told a similar one-step-forward, two-steps-back story of progress as seen through the eyes of two elderly women.

BBDO India won a Glass Lion for the above spot at 2015's Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.

The new ad has already gone viral in India, where domestic roles remain a controversial topic and media pundits (many of whom happen to be men) debate how accurately BBDO's work reflects the gender divide in contemporary Indian society.

Today, #ShareTheLoad also earned the praise of Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, who may be the world's best-known spokesperson for gender equality in the workplace. The Lean In author and popular speaker shared the ad on her personal Facebook page, writing, "This is one of the most powerful videos I have ever seen – showing how stereotypes hurt all of us and are passed from generation to generation."

"The real win is the way they are changing stereotypes and showing that a more equal world would be a better world for all of us," Sandberg wrote, ending with "Dads, #ShareTheLoad and #LeanInTogether for equality." The work is a perfect compliment to Sandberg's own multimedia campaign, which focused on the challenges faced by women like the one in the ad.

In her post, Sandberg also made a point of thanking BBDO worldwide president and CEO Andrew Robertson, parent company Procter & Gamble's global marketing officer Marc Pritchard, P&G India marketing director Sonali Dhawan and other company executives.


Client: P&G India

Brand: Ariel

Creative Agency: BBDO India

Chief Creative Officer and Chairman: Josy Paul

CEO: Ajai Jhala

Executive Creative Director and Writer: Hemant Shringy

Creative Director: Umma Saini

Planning: Rajat Mendhi, Manisha Sain

Account Management: Rohit Chatterjee, Nilza D'Mello

Director: Shimit Amin

Agency Producer: KV Krishna

Production House: Red Ice

Producer: Gary Grewal, Vandana Singh, Richa Krishna Lal

@PatrickCoffee Patrick Coffee is a senior editor for Adweek.