OMO Auto washing detergent has caught the imagination of South Africans with a pioneering television commercial that challenges traditional gender roles while emphasising the efficiency of their new product.
Conceptualized and executed in conjunction with team Unilever at Ogilvy & Mather, the light-hearted TV ad shows a boy hard at play around the house – drawing, squeezing ketchup and digging up plants in preparation for his parent’s anniversary. His dad catches sight of him enjoying the dirt, just as he fields a text from Mom saying she’ll be back from work in 20 minutes. Dad has enough time to get the clothes in the washing machine and still prepare an anniversary surprise!
“The ad shows how with OMO Auto, a quick wash is enough for tough stain removal,” said Henry Muchauraya, Marketing Manager – Laundry, at Unilever. “We believe dirt is good. OMO allows people to spend less time washing and more time living.”
Muchauraya explained how Unilever research had revealed that men were already sharing laundry duties and have no problem doing so. Thanks to this insight, it made sense to run a TV ad that shows men handling the laundry for the family, reflecting changes already happening in society.
In-house research by Unilever reveals that more and more men are doing the laundry every week. OMO is one of the first brands to leverage this key learning in their advertising, bringing men to the centre of laundry activities, and subverting the standard, “Moms taking care of family chores” narrative.
Social-media reception of the ad, and the #JustAQuickWash campaign it is part of, have shown that the message resonates with women as much as men.
“The response we are getting tells us that South African women are comfortable seeing men in roles different to the historical norms,” said Muchauraya.“In our ad, the black man is a present, engaged father figure ready to step in to handle a quick load of laundry with OMO Auto.
“I think we’ve been able to add something to this conversation, which is why the campaign has grabbed people’s attention,” said Muchauraya. “We’ve also been able to help combat media stereotypes about gender roles and to tell a more progressive family story.”
Muchauraya said the campaign was in line with Unilever’s global commitment to changing the portrayal of gender in advertising and to shifting perceptions away from stereotypical roles.
The #JustAQuickWash campaign includes a social media rollout and a competition that invites customers to post a video showing fun outdoor activities they can share with their family now that OMO Auto lets them spend less time on washing.
“We’re proud to run a campaign with such clear brand communication, but a progressive message as well,” concluded Muchauraya.