Saturday, April 05, 2008

Brand Update : Lifebuoy

Today I was surprised to see a Lifebuoy ad featuring Yuvraj Singh . On a quick search, I found an unconfirmed economic times report on Yuvraj Singh roped in to endorse Lifebuoy.
It is for the first time that Lifebuoy is being endorsed by a cricketer. And ever since the brand has repositioned itself as a family soap, it was not endorsed by any celebrity.
And according to media reports , HUL has resisted using cricketing celebrities for their brands.
However, as a marketer who loves the brand " Lifebuoy " , I am terribly disappointed.

Disappointed because of two reason :
a. The use of celebrity.
b. The choice of celebrity.

Lifebuoy do not need a celebrity. From the earlier days itself , the brand had built itself without relying on any personalities. Even without those beauties and hunks, the brand had given us some path-breaking advertisement campaigns. The brand had that terrific power to stand on its own feet. But then why the use of a celebrity ?

Secondly, the choice. Yuvraj is a terrific cricketer but I have never seen him " performing " in commercials. Secondly he is an absolute mismatch for the current positioning of the brand. Lifebuoy's latest positioning statement " Koi Dar Nahin " is based on the time tested promise of protection from germs. How Yuvi is going to do good with the current positioning is something to wait and watch.

The current campaign is for a contest as a part of the consumer promotion scheme and does not give any indication to a change in positioning. So we may have to wait for the next commercial to see whether Lifebuoy has taken a serious repositioning exercise. But how will Yuvraj add value to a family brand is something that confuses me. Only logic that I see is that Yuvi is a rage among Kids. I have a feeling that the brand has lost its confidence of standing on its own.

Lifebuoy has long been known for its commercials featuring kids . One of the latest commercials which I liked most is that of Lifebuoy Care. The TVC features a girl outsmarting boys in a football game.

Watch the TVC here : Lifebuoy football

Some of the blockbuster campaigns like ' Little Gandhi ' was made without the help of any celebrities. It will never be the same again with a celebrity.
But the temptation is so strong. Yuvi is expected to bring in lot of eyeballs from Kids and HUL hopes that kids will pester parents for Lifebuoy. But that sounds a little cheap for Lifebuoy who boasted " Koi Dar Nahi " ( No need to fear )

I would like to ask this question to Lifebuoy : Dar Gaya kya ? ( are you afraid ? )