Campaign: Unisex washing machines
Brand: Lloyd Washing Machines
Company : Lloyd Electrical and Engineering Ltd (Lloyd Group)
Agency: RK Swamy BBDO
The ad opens on a couple entering a store to buy a washing machine. A salesman approaches the husband and offers to show him the models, but the husband asks him to show them to his wife since washing clothes is ‘her department’.
This seemingly innocuous remark hurts the wife. She asks the salesman whether they have any unisex washing machine. The question sounds odd and an embarrassed husband tries to explain that every machine can wash both men and women’s clothes. That’s when the wife reveals the sarcasm in her question and says that since the husband never showed any interest in washing clothes, she thought their existing machine is a ‘ladies only’ machine! So now she wants a machine which cannot be labelled as ‘ladies’ department’, as she puts it: “Jise chalaana sirf ladies ka department na ho!” That’s when the salesman introduces the couple to Lloyd washing machines with features that make washing so easy that even men can do it. The husband gets the point and happily goes for a Lloyd Washing Machine.
You have heard of unisex salons, unisex clothing and unisex dormitories. Now get to know about unisex washing machines!
In a category that has several strong brands, making a dent isn’t easy for a new brand. Conventional promises like “we wash your clothes the best” will not be enough to make a dent especially when consumers have been exposed to a deluge of technology/feature-led communication in this category. So if the idea was to do something different, so different that viewers would sit up and take notice, this ad works. Though the ad has been trolled on the internet, it has also been noticed and talked about. So the first round does go to Lloyd. Can a washing machine be unisex or gender-specific? Do the existing washing machines fall in the “ladies’ only” category? What makes a brand call its washing machines ‘unisex’? These are the kind of questions that have been asked as Lloyd announced it had introduced India’s first unisex washing machines!
The company says the campaign is based on an insight that household chores like cleaning and washing are seen as primarily women’s work. Remember, Ariel’s Share the load campaign where men were nudged to pitch in. But in this Lloyd campaign, the agency has gone a step further and actually attempted to create an altogether new sub-category of washing machines by calling them unisex. As Sunil Kukreti, senior partner, R K Swamy BBDO, says, “The idea was to build a connect with the women by flagging the issue of men totally abdicating their contribution in washing clothes. The coinage of ‘unisex’ washing machines will reinforce the message that women want men to help out.”
The ad certainly sends out that message with the right mix of sarcasm and humour. So if the husband in a patronizing way says “washing machines are the ladies department” and therefore beneath his dignity, the wife’s sarcastic retort asking for a washing machine that men can handle is brilliant. Agrees Ankur Suman, senior brand design director, RK Swamy BBDO, says, “The tonality of the communication had to be anything but preachy. By calling our machines ‘unisex’, we have declared our intent and message, loud and clear without being too emotional about it.”
Now we have to wait and see whether that message has been heard right and gets translated into sales.