Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Liril : Bring back the Liril girl

Brand : Liril

Company : HLL

Agency : Lowe

If you are looking for a case of an iconic Brand that is going to be killed by poor marketing strategy , look no further, here is Liril for you.

Launched in 1975, the year I was born, this is a brand that built a segment or should I say category for it self in the Indian market. The brand is also the testimony to the genius of India's Ad man Alyque Padamsee. This is what he says about the Liril Brand

The name Liril had been registered by Hindustan Lever from a list sent to them by Unilever in London. Levers were very keen that the soap have striations, wiggly stripes of different colours running across the tablet. I recommended the tablet be blue - because waterfall is blue with white striations. Hindustan Lever was very excited and produced 1,000 tablets for testing.
At this point Derk Wooller, the Marketing Controller of Hindustan Lever's soaps division, stepped in and suggested we add the freshness of lime to our story. He felt that though the waterfall had tremendous emotional appeal, Liril needed a rational ingredient to clinch the deal. I was not averse to this but suggested that we do an `As marketed' test: Blue Liril versus Green Liril with limes. I was wrong and Wooller was right. The rest is history."
Alyque Padamsee in his book A Double Life.

The brand was a run away success and the Liril girl became the talk of the town. The brand has

beenconsistentt with its communication and the effective use of brand imagery. Further on brand imagery can be found in this article , visit

Liril was positioned on the freshness platform right from its birth. The girl and the waterfall with the unique jingle ensured that the freshness is experienced by the audience. Liril can be called as an experiential brand and the communication perfectly supported that.

Liril did not change its positioning for 25 years although the models changed, the brand communication was consistent. Then some nut in the company or the agency thought that they should change the communication that worked so effectively. The rest as I say it " Liril became history".

Liril has changed the imagery and the jingle in the name of freshness .The new jingle or the ad never had that freshness. That is why Liril had to change the Ads twice with in a span of five years. Mind you Liril never changed its imagery or the Jingle for 25 years...

Reports say that Liril had to change because of its stagnant marketshare. I think there are reasons for declining market share which can be that the brand failed to understand the changing consumer expectations. There was a flurry of brand launches during the past 10 years and Liril was sleeping all the time " may be resting on the laurels" . It should have hold on its positioning of ' freshness " not by changing its communication but by communicating more, developing variants, bringing in flanking brands or variants and thus owning the whole segment for itself.

But it never happened , Liril tried to introduce the Icy mint variant very late and that too with a different jingle and imagery. We knew that the Old Liril had died. HLL could have used the same communication strategy . Then came the horrible experiment of Orange Liril with a stupid Jingle OOFYUMMA.... excuse me what the hell is that?

The product failed. Then came the new campaign involving a couple and a new jingle " La-ira -ela", the ad was good but where is liril ?

Like Onida , Liril has to come back with the old imagery and old jingle that made liril what it Is ( or WAS?) [ It is a prediction].

When it does that consumers will take the brand to their heart .

Laaaaa lalalala laaa ...................


  1. Well, Hii...Great work...Man!...It demands appreciation....But Just to add to ur knowledge....I dont think Liril is anymore with LOWE....Just check out the recent ups & downs...I think McCann Eriksson has taken the Brand for the 1st time from LOWE>>>Liril was its signatory brand...for the past 30 years!

  2. Anonymous10:38 AM

    Possibly the greatest contribution to the success of Liril was that it had its models clad in stringy bikinis bathing in the waterfall & the camera showed extreme close ups of them in the ads. These ads spell bound the whole male audience, who simply used to wait hours to watch these ads. Please appreciate the fact that this was at a time when even Cinema did not expose this much.

    The brand got killed when its advertisements were watered down to less skin.

    This might seem to be a very carnalistic explanation, but if you go into detail of the male psyche of the times, you will realise the truth,

  3. my views on liril is tried to reposition themselves...but it is a risky job....I totally agree with the fact that liril should stick to its freshness part just do a trick...endorse a sports personal for the brand and let him explain about the freshness and that may be cricket player,,,with lot of hard work in the feild and then a liril bath takes away the bad odours from his body and he is as fresh as he had taken a dip in a ocean.

  4. I've tried Liril soap before and I can say that it is pretty effective indeed. I left states for a while and stopped using the soap. I wonder where I can get one of this here in Asia?

  5. Anonymous12:33 AM

    the main reason for the failure of liril was that it didnot cope up with the changing needs of customers and fastly growing competition ...

  6. Anonymous11:10 AM

    comming up with variants not necessarily cannebalises your brand every time. for instance cinthol has done it in many occassions. the scenario for Liril was different then... now the competition and the purchasing power of customer has changed.

    But most importantly now even the segment has changed... what I mean is, in generall , howmany of the urban population are choosy about their bathing soap untill n unless it has a real point of differenciation such as DOVE, or Medimix...
    Lime content is nomore a POD.... need to think beyond as harish rightly states in his ambasador review that "choice has spoilt consumers"...

  7. Anonymous8:02 PM

    Who was the male model acted as the little girls dad in the ad??? Please let the world know that handsome hunks name:)


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