The Lifebuoy story dates back to 1895 when it first entered the Indian market. “Life buoy” literally means the life-saving buoy thrown out to people at sea to prevent them from drowning. This is where the brand got its name from.
Lifebuoy is a product of Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL), India. It was initially launched with the sole intention of targeting men and everything sporty. “Tandarusti ki raksha karta hai Lifebuoy” captured the essence of their campaign brilliantly. The premise was made clear. Use lifebuoy and stay strong. The quintessential red chunky bar of soap became synonymous with masculine health and good value for money. The same brand positioning was maintained for more than 100 years. However, sales started dipping in the 1990’s with the coming of other beauty soaps like Lux, Santoor etc. The consumers suddenly had more options and Lifebuoy’s existing market strategy had nothing new to make the consumers stay loyal to the brand. Also, times had changed and now women were the decision makers in the family as far as shopping for consumerable household products were concerned. The need of the hour for Lifebuoy as a brand was to become more family oriented in its approach mostly focusing on the health aspect. A brand image built over 100 years had to be changed. The task at hand was challenging but the plunge was taken and the brand was repositioned in 2002. The product was transformed from the traditional masculine bar and given a more curvy look. The carbonic smell was substituted by perfume fragrance. The focus now was on a complete bathing experience for the family and the new tagline “kya aap lifebuoy se nahaye kya” did complete justice to the cause. After this re-launch, Lifebuoy’s market share in the bath soap sector rose from 12% to 18%. 2002 also saw the launch of “LIFEBUOY SWASTHYA CHETNA” program aimed to educate people in rural India about the good health practices and basic hygiene habit of washing hands. The initiative wanted to...
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