Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Lux : Celebrating Beauty

Brand : Lux
Company: HLL
Agency : JWT

Brand Count :190

Lux is a super brand that celebrated beauty across the world since 1925. The soap which was endorsed by the beautiful film stars came to India in 1929. Lux has been the largest selling personal wash brand in the country.

Lux has effectively managed its PLC through careful brand building and changing the product in line with the changing consumer. The brand is being positioned as the favorite soap of Film stars has been consistent interms of communication and positioning. The brand is also the classic example of successful celebrity endorsement. The first celebrity to endorse the brand was Leela Chitnis . From Leela to Aishwarya , From Madhuri to Madhubala, Lux has been endorsed by more than 50 film stars ( a sort of record isn't it). But in all these communications, the celebrity never shadowed the brand.

Lux was always changing with the times. Whether it be interms of the product or interms of promotions, the brand kept the consumers excited. Lux has two basic extensions interms of segments. Lux beauty soap and International Lux.
Lux was initially a premium brand. Lux was being projected as an aspirational brand and the endorsements by stars further reinforced the positioning. The increasing competition in the soap category forced Lux to rethink on its targeting strategy. The brand had a choice either to compromise on market share and uphold the premium positioning or to retain the market share and dilute the positioning. Lux wanted to ensure that the brand be positioned as premium but also did not wanted to compromise on the share. Thus born International Lux which is the premium variant and the affordable segment was catered by Lux beauty soap.
Lux beauty soap is available in Four variants : Exotic Flower Petals,Fruit Extracts,Almond and Sandal. Lux has a common ingredient of Milk cream in all the variants.

Although the brand enjoyed success and has sustained its leadership position, of late this brand has been facing issues of stagnation. The stagnation is caused by the plethora of brands competing for the market share and the scope for differentiation has reduced to almost nil. Together with the rush for celebrities to endorse anything from salt to cars, Lux is finding it difficult to sustain growth in this cluttered market.

In 2005 Lux celebrated its 75th anniversary sparking of a controversy. Deviating its tradition of roping in Bollywood Divas , this time none other than Shah Rukh Khan endorsed Lux. The ads created instant controversy with marketers discussing whether the brand has suddenly become MALE.Paul Newman also has endorsed Lux soap which shows that Lux makes such stunts to excite the market. Whatever be the controversy, the brand again succeeded in creating excitement in the market. Some argue that HLL was testing a new positioning to appeal to male users while others say that it was a one time endorsement to break the clutter. For marking the 75th year Lux came out with a celebration range endorsed by Kareena Kapoor . The Celebration range too created news because of its variant :Chocolate Seduction. These innovative products created lot of excitement that ensured that Lux remained in the top of mind of the consumers. Another variant which I like personally is the Lux with Orchid which looked cool in terms of packaging and looks.
Over these years, the positioning of Lux also evolved. Earlier the brand used the positioning " Beauty soap of Film stars" . But as the customer evolved, the positioning lost its charm because customers began to doubt whether the film stars actually used this brand. Taking a cue from the customers, Lux changed the positioning appealing to the need for becoming a star. The new positioning is communicated with the tagline " Bring out the star in you".Although worldwide the brand is being endorsed by film stars, the actual package usually contains picture of international models and not film stars.

While Lux beauty soap is sticking to the age old positioning, Lux international has moved from being a soap brand to a skin care brand. Lux International has the tagline " Not Just Soap, Its Skin Care". Under the Lux umbrella brand, HLL has introduced variety of personal wash products like body shampoo,hair shampoo etc.
Lux is the classic example of HLL's marketing genius. The brand will experiment and explore more in the days to come....

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imagesource: superbrandsindia