Lifebuoy was introduced by Lever Brothers in 1895 in England. Originally a carbolic soap containing phenol, different varieties were later introduced without the medicinal carbolic smell, such as the coral-colored Lifebuoy during the late 1950s and Lifebuoy Minty Refresher in 1966. Lifebuoy first came to India in 1895 in Bombay. It was an instant success. Lifebuoy is India’s largest selling soap brand and has been so for a long time now. It is the only soap brand to have ever crossed 100,000 tonnes in sales in a single year. The brand has a mammoth user base of over 600 million consumers in India and is one of the most recognisable symbols of health. Remarkably, over the next 109 years the brand has never veered away from its original platform. It has consistently stood for „Washing away germs to keep you protected and healthy. Constantly evolving and keeping pace with the times, the brand has undergone huge makeovers and still delivers a distinctive, compelling promise of health for the whole family.
In the product front from the very early stages, Lifebuoy was the basic brand that upgraded consumers who used other products by delivering a basic, cleansing experience. In 1964, it saw its first major re-launch with significant improvement in product quality, a change in the tablet shape as well as the wrapper which had continued from the initial days of Lifebuoy.
The latest formulation was introduced in the market in 2002. Today, this soap continues to be the most effective against germs and also has an invigorating and very distinct perfume that makes every bath enjoyable. The new avatar is just the beginning in the evolution of Lifebuoy. This brand aspires to make the concept of health and hygiene not only an important one, but also an enjoyable experience for the consumer.
Keeping in line with its objective of providing „Health and hygiene for everybody., Lifebuoy has added to its repertoire, Lifebuoy Active Green (with the goodness of neem and tulsi) and Lifebuoy Active Gold (with the goodness of milk cream). This is of course, in addition to Lifebuoy Active Red and Lifebuoy Active Orange which are the trusted choice of millions. There is also the Lifebuoy liquid soap that ensures that hands are protected from germs. Now Lifebuoy also has a talcum powder, efficiently delivering a promise of „All day protection from body odour, by fighting germs. The Lifebuoy franchise, through each of the products, has stayed true to its promise of meeting health and hygiene concerns.
On the pricing front, Lifebuoy in urban and rural markets, the brand has gained a familiar and likable status due to its effective pricing. A 125 gm lifebuoy soap costs about Rs26. Bodywash costs around Rs175. Lifebuoy keeps its product prices relatively lower than the prices of its competition. This has been an advantage for the brand and has led to making it one of the most popular choices among Indians.
Promotions with Lifebuoy has always made in win many accolades. The advertising and communication for Lifebuoy has been recognised as one of the most effective at the advertising effectiveness awards „Effies-2003. The Lifebuoy jingle, synonymous with health and hygiene, has become a classic – indeed, it can be considered as part of the Indian social fabric. The Brand Equity Survey, 2003 ranked this mega-brand as one of the Most Trusted Brands in India.
Be it promoting itself in traditional media through ATL (Above-the-line) or BTL (Below-the-line) activities or social media.
It created a hysteria in Dubai where it partnered with Geometry Global for an on-ground activation awareness programme. Since shoppers can pick up germs when they shop for groceries with your cart in the supermarket. The Lifebuoy’s team created a handy doughnut-shaped gadget that slides along the shopping cart handle, instantly sanitizing it. On the one hand, this enabled healthier shopping, killing 99% of germs with one swipe, and on the other, it raised awareness of Lifebuoy’s sanitizer gel (refer figure 1).
In India, Lifebuoy as a brand has taken long steps in generating good health hygiene habits among Indian consumers. In the year 2013, at the world’s largest religious festival Maha Kumbh Mela, Lifebuoy reminded attendees to wash their hands before they eat by hand stamping 2.5 million chapattis (rotis) with the message: ¡°Did you wash your hands with Lifebuoy?¡± (Refer figure 2).If that was not all Hindustan Unilever’s created an award-winning campaign with social cause marketing at its heart, which went viral. The soap brand that has been an active proponent of handwashing with soap, kickstarted a movement Help a child reach 5M to instill hygienic handwashing behaviour in schools and villages, as over two million children under five die of infections like diarrhoea and pneumonia. A heartfelt digital film about Gondappa and his son Muthu was created for the campaign, while Facebook and Twitter were abuzz with pledges and the hashtag #helpachildreach5. The video depicted how a father ¡°Gondappa¡± walked on his hands to a village temple on his son’s fifth birthday as a part of his son’s good health wish. The 3-minute film garnered over a million views in the first two weeks and now stands at 19M+ views (refer figure 3).
Indian market is witnessing the creation of a new category in the hand hygiene segment – hand sanitizer. Although hand sanitizer products existed in India since 2002, this category is witnessing a lot of marketing activities only in the last couple of years. Two giants in the Indian FMCG market are fighting it out in creating this category – Dettol and Lifebuoy. Hand Sanitizer is an alternative to soap and used for maintaining hand-hygiene. This product which is available in gel, spray, liquid, or foam form can be used directly to the hand and unlike soaps need not be washed away. Just apply the hand sanitizer and leave it like that. It is not Lifebuoy or Dettol which introduced this product in the Indian market. Godrej Consumer Products Ltd, had introduced this product in the Indian market even as early as 2003. Later Himalaya introduced its brand – Pure Hands – which is a herbal hand sanitizer. But these brands were not able to create a noise in the market so far when compared to Dettol and Lifebuoy.
Hand sanitizers are popular in markets like the West and Europe because of fear for hygiene coupled with the convenience of the product. In India, the Hand Sanitizer market is still nascent but marketers believe that this category will do well on Indian soil due to its vulnerability to various infectious diseases like SARS, bird flu, etc. In fact, in 2002-03, hand sanitizer companies in India tried to cash in on the SARS Virus pandemic which created huge amounts of concern and did not pull up sales as expected. Despite the setback, marketers are optimistic and give a new push. Lifebuoy, a brand that promotes healthy hygiene habits crafts many ways to protect its consumers from these dangers. Hand Sanitizers are priced between INR 30 to as high as INR 500 depending upon the brand and its size of the product offering.
Given that, India has more of the rural population (at 66.46 % in 2017, according to the World Bank collection of development indicators) than that of urban crowd,
Question: Which psychological factor or factors of motivation, perception, learning, and attitude is Lifebuoy trying to target in India (10 Marks)