Indian e-commerce giant Flipkart recently launched a campaign to celebrate progressive dads calls #PenguinDads, inspired by the male penguin which takes on a very active role as a parent.
The campaign saw not just Flipkart's but other companies executives change their LinkedIn profile pictures to the picture with their kids and elaborate on tough choices made at work to share the task of parenting.
According to Flipkart, the penguin dad is considered one of the ‘best dads’ in the animal kingdom. The penguin child is one of the few species on Earth that is raised equally by both mother and father, who take turns going into the sea to catch fish so that one is always with the child.
The Drum spoke with Apuarv Sethi, director of brand marketing at Flipkart, to find out the strategy behind the campaign.
He explains: "The campaign is a celebration of the Do It All Dads who are involved in every aspect of their kid’s life. We surveyed men across 17 Indian cities and were overwhelmed with what we found. If working mom is the mark of progressive India then we must appreciate the men who make this progress possible.
"Our survey results showed that today, unlike the olden days, there are so many men who partake of household responsibilities along with their wives. These are dads who believe that cooking, cleaning, helping kids with homework are not the job of women alone. Through the #PenguinDads campaign we wanted to showcase the progressive India in an iconic way. Yes, women are making progress and yes, men are taking up household chores."
Flipkart also rolled out a short digital film directed by award winning director Ashwiny Iyer Tewari. The Penguin Dad film is a depiction of the changing face of fatherhood and how the need to be better Dads is driving the new generation of Penguin Dads in India."
Despite the growing influence of females, India still remains a male dominated society. As to how such campaigns can make a difference, Sethi says: "The social fabric of Indian society has been slowly and steadily changing and becoming more progressive. With more and more households becoming nuclear and dual income households, the family roles are also changing alongside."
Sethi says that alongside a more progressive approach to parenting, it's become something that fathers actually strive for, to be seen as the nurturer and caregiver.
"Through this campaign, they are discovering and celebrating a side to themselves that they never knew existed. A side that ‘shows’ love when it’s felt, a side that spends time instead of just money, a side that doesn’t hold emotions back, ushering a change in the Indian social fabric. It hit the right chord with dads across cities. Our idea is to make a small change to trigger the big change. We started with a small video and a LinkedIn activation where we asked all dads to change their LinkedIn profile picture to one with their kids. The idea was appreciated and we received a very warm response."
Whether LinkedIn remains the main mode for the campaign, he explains: "Our inspiration for LinkedIn came from one big pertinent question - In India and in many places across the world, when kids are asked “What does your dad do”, the answers are geared towards defining their professions. LinkedIn is not the main mode of this campaign but a very integral one. It is the most formal of networking sites. Motivating dads on such a channel was a brave idea and the response this garnered gave us the confidence of having it done right. Fathers across cities, industries and age groups are showing off their Dad-side on LinkedIn!
"The film’s message extended to a unique activation on LinkedIn as well, where Flipkart began a movement to celebrate the most important designation of all - that of being a father! We encouraged LinkedIn Dads to show how they are defined by more than just their job, by changing their LinkedIn display pictures to one with their kids. The whole idea behind this is to celebrate fathers who choose to be identified by more than just their profession - after all being a Dad needs a skill set like no other!"
As to why this campaign was important for Flipkart, Sethi says: "Flipkart has always been at the forefront of digital India and over the decade we have become part of the digital heritage of the country by shaping the ecommerce landscape.
#PenguinDad was launched as part of Flipkart’s ongoing brand refresh, to celebrate the fact that the 'Do It All' dads are defined by more than just their jobs. We will champion the causes that will empower every Indian and help contribute in creating a progressive India.
"Our vision is to tell stories that reflect the positive change in every fabric of society and stories that celebrate the best in everyone for everyone. Penguin Dads is a first of many such progressive stories that we a Brand will celebrate. As a symbol of rapidly evolving and progressive Indian society, Penguin Dads are a fast growing breed and we wanted to celebrate them and inspire many other in the process to become progressive dads."
Flipkart has a 15 days paid paternity leave for new fathers and up to three months of unpaid leave for father to bond with their child and also help around in the house while the mothers get back to a normal life.
Flipkart also has a Work From Home option to employees to create a healthy work-life balance. Parents also have an option of a creche in the office premises, so they can get their kids to office and spend time with them.
Flipkart also offers support to new parents in the form of a wellness coach who can guide them on parenting, child care and work-life balance.
According to Sethi, other businesses can encourage subjects around diversity by proactively creating policies that enable diversity. He says: "Understanding the real constraints that hinder diversity like progressive leave policies for new parents, encouraging and supporting woman to get back to the workforce and creating a more flexible work atmosphere can go a long way in addressing diversity related issues at workplace."