REFRESHER COURSE

Short List
TitleREFRESHER COURSE
BrandSC JOHNSON
Product / ServiceBRAND CAMPAIGN
CategoryA01. Glass
EntrantSC JOHNSON Yokohama, JAPAN
Idea Creation OGILVY JAPAN Tokyo, JAPAN
Production GUNSROCK Tokyo, JAPAN

Credits

Name Company Position
Doug Schiff Ogilvy Japan Chief Creative Officer
Ricardo Adolfo Ogilvy Japan Executive Creative Director
Junkichi Tatsuki Ogilvy Japan Associate Creative Director
Odding Wong Ogilvy Japan Art Director
Maki Enomoto Ogilvy Japan Senior Copywriter
Wataru Miyahara Ogilvy Japan Copywriter
Naoko Yamakawa Ogilvy Japan Strategic Director
Kei Asakura Ogilvy Japan Group Account Director
Takuya Murakami Ogilvy Japan Senior Account Manager
Masaki Kato Ogilvy Japan Program Associate
Yoshiaki Tada Hogarth Japan Senior Producer
Tatsunari Saito Flag Film Director
Naoki Fukushima Flag Film Producer
Shohei Takabashi Flag Editorial Writer
Kentarous Yasunaga Freelance Photographer
Kanako Shirao Freelance Illustrator
Koichiro Takahashi Amana Photo Producer
Shogo Hiroki Amana Photo Producer
Shuji Masumoto AgWORKS Web Producer
Sachiko Masumoto AgWORKS Frontend Engineer
Ryota Hiramoto JFOODO Overseas Promotion division

Background

In a recent World Economic Forum gender equality ranking, Japan came in at 114th, last among industrialized countries. This inequality is especially prevalent within the home. In fact, Japanese women spend 7x more of their time doing housework than their husbands, one of the most unequal ratios in the world. This, at a time when there is an historic high of Japanese women in the workforce, leaving them with even less free time for household chores. SC Johnson cleaning products wanted to spur on change and encourage more gender equality in the household by inspiring men to share the responsibility of house cleaning.

Describe the cultural/social/political climate in your region and the significance of your campaign within this context

Women in Japan are recognized as having equal legal rights and equal opportunity of education to men, but there are several events, including some recent scandals at Universities that put this understanding in question. One situation with Tokyo University was shown to have admissions severely restricting the acceptance rates of women. In addition, traditional expectations for married women and mothers are cited as a barrier to full economic equality. Taking care of the family as well as the household are seen as predominantly female roles, and working women are expected to fulfil them all. Now, 69% of women are working, but the responsibilities of housework chores between men and women continue to remain completely out of balance.

Describe the creative idea

Japanese children grow up cleaning their classroom together, equally. However, later in life after marriage, gender inequality sets in, with men shirking their duty to help cleaning in the home and women doing all or nearly all the work at home. We decided to demonstrate this gender bias through a real-time social experiment. We chose a typical Japanese classroom, and during a day in class, with parents observing, the teacher asked only the girls to clean, while the boys were allowed to go outside and play. Watching on a monitor in another room, the parents were shocked to witness the inequality. But then, afterward, the couples were asked why they felt that way when it only mirrored what happens within their own home.

Describe the strategy

Gender equality in Japan is a charged issue. While most brands fear the repercussions of even bringing up the subject, some brands have been lambasted for reinforcing old gender stereotypes in their advertising work. As such, we needed to find a way to create meaningful impact and incite behavioral change, while not issuing blame and fostering negativity. We knew from research that Japanese couples are happiest together when they share their home cleaning duties. And so our strategy was to shine a light on the imbalance and use it as a trigger to bring couples closer together under the strategic platform, #CleanTogether.

Describe the execution

This social experiment played out in a film released in social channels to underline the social change. A non-branded Twitter account became the sponsor of the movement with thousands of retweets spurring conversations from the original post. Both women and men shared opinions and posed questions as well as expressed self-reflection. A landing page became the hub of the campaign, expanding the story further with pictures of families who have embraced a better balance at home. After millions of people engaged with the campaign, SC Johnson’s home cleaning products put out a thank you full-page ad in national newspapers expressing appreciation for those who pledged to address the inequality in their own homes.

Describe the results/impact

“Refresher Course” was viewed over 4 million times in just the first two weeks after launch, spurring thousands of social comments. The film not only became a hot topic within industry publications such as Campaign, but also elicited articles and comments among those in mass media—such as New York Times correspondent Makoto Rich, and gender equality luminaries like Cindy Gallop—providing extra fuel to the conversation.

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