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Sunlight - Housework Can Wait: Empowering Modern Women

In late 2017, a captivating and thought-provoking communication campaign emerged, centering around the relationship between women and household chores. This campaign aimed to address the deep-seated belief ingrained in Vietnamese society that "housework is a woman's duty." What was particularly concerning was that many women themselves believed in this notion.


Background

On average, Vietnamese women spend 10 years of their lives on household chores, a reality that continues to impede women's lives unless societal norms evolve. With modernization and technological advancements, household tasks like dishwashing, cleaning, and laundry have become less mentally burdensome and no longer require women to shoulder the entire responsibility. Gradually, a segment of women began to believe that housework is no longer an overwhelming burden.


This shift, however, gave rise to social tension as traditional and modern values clashed. Should women prioritize their own happiness, or should they fulfill their traditional role of taking care of the household first? With the "Housework Can Wait" campaign, Sunlight aimed to encourage women to enjoy life by efficiently managing household tasks and finding comfort in doing so.


Insight

The campaign targeted modern women living in a time of conflicting values – traditional expectations that women must sacrifice their own desires for the sake of the family versus modern values of balancing family and personal life. Most of these women found themselves entangled in nameless household chores, leaving them with insufficient time and mental energy to enjoy life fully. They longed for moments with close friends, pursuing their passions, and even some declared they did not want daughters to avoid them experiencing life as they did.


Sunlight discovered that besides the societal pressure to excel in housework, a significant obstacle for Vietnamese women was the "mental load." They believed that no one could share household responsibilities, not even family members or hired help, because they either did not know how or did not want to. This psychological burden led women to mismanage their time, make poor consumer choices, and underutilize household tools, causing them to overlook life's many other beauties and fall into the trap of self-sacrifice.


However, modern women are increasingly aware that "stagnant lives" need to "blossom." They need a competent "assistant" to accompany them on their journey to rediscover missed delights.


Strategy

At this juncture, a dishwashing brand saw an opportunity to assist Vietnamese women by gradually releasing this mental tension and promoting practical living. For the first time in years, Sunlight shifted its communication focus from product features to emotional bonding. Sunlight, however, infused a unique emotional element into its campaign, unlike other homecare brands. Instead of the conventional call for sharing responsibilities from men's perspective, Sunlight awakened the hidden desires of women and encouraged them to stand up for their own happiness.


To achieve this, Sunlight started with the most common household task: dishwashing – a chore Vietnamese women perform 3-4 times a day. Sunlight transformed it into a "starting point" to relieve psychological pressure from other household chores. This precise strategy allowed Sunlight to "own" the entire concept of "housework," becoming the top-of-mind brand leading women away from societal and self-imposed pressures.


Creative Idea

To effectively convey the message, Sunlight posed a question: "If dedicating 10 years of your life to household chores takes precedence over everything else during your 60-year lifespan, will personal enjoyment, socializing with friends, and bonding with your family always remain at the bottom of your priority list?"

Since individuals cannot prioritize everything simultaneously in life, women needed to remember that "housework can wait," and their happiness should come first.


This led to the birth of the "Housework Can Wait" campaign, with the main message being: "Housework can wait; your life cannot."


The challenge lay in the fact that the mundane task of dishwashing was difficult to leverage for an engaging story. Nonetheless, with creativity, Sunlight overcame this challenge and captured the community's attention.


Implementation

Within two months, the campaign was deployed across various channels, including social media (Facebook, YouTube, Zalo), PR, and activations.

The campaign began with an online short film (Manifestation clip), sparking debates on Facebook regarding whether women could let go of housework and enjoy life. This was followed by a series of PR articles in various newspapers. Finally, workshops and Zalo activations offered practical solutions for women.


Viral Clip

Despite launching during a period when many brands released Tet (Lunar New Year) films, the short film "Housework Can Wait" still garnered a record-breaking 11 million views. The video's unique and emotionally charged message resonated throughout its 1 minute and 18 seconds duration.


The video depicted the life of a woman engulfed in household chores, such as dishwashing and cleaning, causing her to miss precious moments with her family. The script brilliantly tapped into the common struggle of modern Vietnamese women, caught between traditional and modern pressures, as they tried to balance societal expectations with their desire for a fulfilling life. In the end, she learned to release the pressures and prioritize her own happiness alongside her family.


By aligning closely with the general mindset of most women today, the video received overwhelmingly positive feedback. Many viewers commented humorously and empathetically on social media, likening the off-screen voice to their mothers or mothers-in-law. Notably, the statement that "on average, Vietnamese women spend 10 years of their lives on household chores" was a shock factor that triggered numerous discussions.


Social Debate

To expand the theme, influential Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) joined the discussion. Leveraging the controversy surrounding "Housework Can Wait," KOLs representing various perspectives on motherhood either supported or opposed the campaign.


The supporting group mentioned progressive and experienced women, including "women's writer" Trang Ha, MC Trang Moon, VJ Thuy Minh, and hot mom Uyen Bui. Uyen Bui advised, "Never forget that there are many wonderful things waiting for you beyond the kitchen door. So, housework can wait while you enjoy your time with family and take care of yourself."


In contrast, the opposing group believed that women could not relinquish housework, and their strong stance had a significant impact on the Vietnamese female community. This group included journalists Thu Ha and MC Diep Chi, singer Thuy Tien, who believed that "housework will ultimately be in your hands."

Notably, even male KOLs such as Hoang Bach, Le Hong Dang, and Dang Khoi participated, showing support for women's right to enjoy life. They cited examples from their own lives, highlighting the accomplishments of their wives.

This social debate attracted nearly 500,000 followers and interactions, creating a real buzz in the community.


PR

At this point, PR articles played a role in amplifying the discussion, with various newspapers joining the conversation. "Housework Can Wait" was featured in renowned publications such as Dan Tri, Soha, Nguoi Lao Dong, and many others.


Activation

The culmination of the campaign was the "Housework Can Wait" workshop series, held in two cities. These workshops were designed to not only help women manage housework more efficiently but also nurture their mental well-being. Sunlight partnered with Nguyen Thuy Duong, a renowned psychologist, to lead the workshops.


Nguyen Thuy Duong is a psychologist and mother, known for her refreshing perspective on the roles and relationships between women. She advised women on ways to better balance their personal lives and housework. The workshops also offered practical solutions to housework-related issues, such as choosing suitable dishwashing tools and organizing time more effectively.


Moreover, Sunlight organized a Zalo activation called "Sunlight Housework Can Wait," with a series of activities and useful tips. A Zalo bot was developed to engage users in quizzes and discussions related to the campaign, further spreading the message.


Results and Impact

The "Housework Can Wait" campaign achieved remarkable results:

  • Online Video Impact: The campaign's viral video reached 11 million views within a short span. It became the topic of discussion on various social media platforms, sparking debates and conversations.

  • Social Engagement: The social debate involving KOLs generated significant interactions, reaching nearly 500,000 followers. It led to a deep conversation within the Vietnamese female community.

  • PR Coverage: The campaign received substantial coverage in reputable publications, further amplifying its reach and message.

  • Workshops and Activations: The workshops attracted hundreds of participants who benefitted from practical advice on managing housework and balancing personal lives. The Zalo activation also engaged a wide audience.

  • Shift in Mindset: Perhaps the most significant achievement was the shift in mindset. The campaign successfully challenged the traditional notion that women must prioritize housework over personal happiness. It encouraged women to reclaim their time and lives.

  • Long-lasting Impact: "Housework Can Wait" left a lasting impression on Vietnamese society. It contributed to an ongoing conversation about gender roles, expectations, and the importance of women's well-being.

Conclusion

Sunlight's "Housework Can Wait" campaign was a remarkable success. It challenged deeply ingrained societal norms, sparked conversations, and encouraged women to prioritize their happiness and well-being. By creatively using a seemingly mundane chore like dishwashing as a starting point, Sunlight managed to touch the hearts and minds of Vietnamese women, empowering them to rethink their roles and reclaim their lives.


The campaign serves as an exemplary case study of how a brand can go beyond product promotion to address pressing social issues and make a positive impact on society. Sunlight not only elevated its brand image but also contributed to a broader conversation about gender equality and the importance of women's mental and emotional well-being in modern society.

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