Brand : Lifebuoy
Company ; HLL
Agency : Lowe
This is a brand that was launched in 1895. Well that is pretty old isn't it? Looking at the life of Lifebuoy is interesting for a marketing person.The brand has reinvented itself and that too successfully.
The brand was initially positioned in the health and value platform. Targeted at the male with a unique jingle " thandurusti ki raksha kartha hai lifebuoy, lifebuoy hai jahan thandurusti hai vaham". The campaigns showed footballer players and athletes using the soap and the jingle followed made it a soap for the male. The soap was brick red and carbolic ingredient with a unique smell (chryselic perfume) that distinguished itself from other feminine brands and making it the largest selling soap brand in the world
In the year 2002 the company changed the positioning and I would say a historic decision. The brand was no longer a masculine brand. The brand was repositioned as a family brand.The brand was no more carbolic, the perfume changed and new ingredient Active B which eliminate harmful germs was introduced. The campaign was " a pretty girl who was teased for having a pimple then after using Lifebuoy Gold, retorts I don't care" was an instant hit among the public. The company maintained the health platform but targeted at the family so that the brand usage goes up. It was a risk that no marketer will take for a brand that was there for 100 years. HLL have to thank god for surviving that repositioning.
2004 also saw another repositioning for the brand. The target was the "discerning housewife" and the positioning was " health protection for family and me".
The new campaign by Lowe was right on target and still does not dilute the age old positioning of Health and freedom from germs.
The brand personality also changed from health to warmer , versatile and socially responsible. Hll have also given this brand a rural thrust through its CSR initiative " Lifebuoy Swasth chetana". UNICEF under its health initiative have found that the habit of using soaps to wash hands can reduce the chance of diarrhea among the kids dramatically. UNICEF needed 150256 soaps and HLL agreed to supply it. Now 70mn families and 18000 villages are covered under this initiative.
This is a unique brand that have survived the test of time and "ideas of marketing professionals". Still when I see lifebuoy, that jingle keeps singing in my mind
" Thandurusti ki raksha kartha hai Lifebuoy,
Lifebuoy hai jaham
Thandursty hai vaham