“Not just soap. It’s skin care”
Founder – Lever Brothers, now known as Unilever
The name ‘Lux’ is synonymous with toilet soap in many countries of the world. In fact, it is the leading soap brand in countries such as India, Pakistan, Thailand, South Africa and Brazil to name a few. In 1925, it became the first toilet soap to be successfully mass-marketed in the world.
The current product bouquet also includes shower gel, hair shampoos and conditioners, bath additives and is sold in over 100 countries in the world. The brand was first developed by the Lever Brothers, currently known as Unilever, in the year of 1899 in the United States of America.
Lux – The Beginning
Lux was initially named as “Sunlight Flakes” in 1899 and sold as laundry detergent. The name was changed to Lux in 1900 which meant ‘light’ in Latin and was associated with the word ‘luxury’. The early advertisements were launched to highlight its credentials as a fine laundry product and it appeared as such in magazines such as The Ladies Home Journal in the 1920s.
The Lever Brothers held a contest in 1924 among the consumers and were surprised to find out that Lux was also used as a cosmetic and toilet soap by the ladies. In 1925, Lux was re-launched as a beauty soap in the mass consumer market with the tagline “made as fine as French soap”. In its first few years, the focus was on endorsing its beauty-enhancing qualities and affordable price.
Advertisements to this effect claimed the soap to be made in the process of French beauty soaps and promised softer and smoother skin. Lux soap available during those times was finely textured, richly scented and was indeed made by following a soap-making method developed in France, it retailed for 10 cents a bar.
The Success Story
The year of 1928 was an important one in the development of the ‘Lux’ brand all over the world. It was launched in countries such as the United Kingdom, India, Thailand and Argentina, thus targeting more global markets. In addition, it focused on building associations with the glamorous film and movie industry of the times. Thus started the ongoing trend of endorsement of the brand by movie stars; they eulogized its benefits and encouraged people to use it.
In 1929 alone, as many as twenty six movie personalities from all over the world were roped in for advertising Lux which created quite a stir among the huge movie-going audience. Moreover, movie directors started discussing and emphasizing the importance of youthful skin which popularized the idea of mass-consumption product gaining huge mileage through celebrity endorsements.
This focus on movie stars for popularizing the brand continued through the 1940s and 1950s wherein the consumers were encouraged to look at movie stars and strive to attain their beauty. The focus now shifted to the consumers and the role Lux beauty soap plays in their life to make them look beautiful. In the 1960s, being the era of movie superstars, larger-than-life imageries and beautiful romantic films, consumers were encouraged to fantasize through its senses and emotions.
The trend of showing bathing scenes in Lux advertisements also started during this period. The brand also forayed in the conservative markets of the Middle East at this time. The 1970s saw the celebrities’ trying to connect to the masses by showing that “beauty is more than skin deep” Lux showed in their advertisements that beautiful women have many other talents and qualities apart from beautiful skin.
Lux’s focus further shifted from the physical aspect to the daily life of stars. In the 1980s, amidst the expansion of Lux brand to China, the consumer was educated on the importance of skincare as the stepping stone to long-lasting beauty. The brand further moved towards consolidating its dominant market position by positioning itself as the preferred brand among the different skin types in the 1990s.
It also increased its product offerings by launching shower gels and creams, the Super Rich Shampoo among others. The focus also shifted towards highlighting the ingredients used in making the specific kind of soap and its benefits to the consumer. This trend continued in the new millennium wherein consumers were encouraged to feel confident about their looks. The brand’s focus now expanded from feminine beauty only towards indulging the consumer’s aspirations and fantasies.
The brand endorses philosophy that while beauty is primarily a feminine instinct and indulgence, people should enjoy their beauty and all the perks it is capable of endowing to the consumer.
Marketing Campaigns and Strategies
The success story of Lux’s worldwide success as a brand can be attributed to the vision its manufacturers and the tireless efforts of its associated advertising agencies. The pioneering idea of positioning the brand as the primary choice of movie stars since its launch has worked wonders towards popularizing it all over the globe.
Made as Fine as French Soap – The First Tagline
This tagline put Lux on its way towards worldwide fame. The good thing about it was it was actually made by following French methods instead of just an advertising gimmick.
The Beauty Soap of Film Stars
Lux diligently worked towards building its brand value in the next few decades by its close association with the movie industry. Such was the success of its various advertising campaigns during the times that it came to be known as the preferred choice of the glamour industry.
Lux Brings Out the Star in You
The 1990s and early 2000s saw a further broadening of the brand’s advertising philosophy. Consumers were encouraged to romanticize the notion that they are no less than stars in their own life. Lux users were positioned as both beautiful and confident in their daily lives.
Play with Beauty
In tune with the public emotion during mid-2000s, Lux put forward the philosophy of actively beautiful people. The users were emboldened through advertisements to be vivacious and comfortable with their beauty, which brings out the best in them.
Declare your Beauty
Further stressing their philosophy of empowering women with their beauty, Lux urged its consumers to be outgoing and confident in their beautiful skins. They were empowered to be a lot more than mere beauty symbols and objects, in tune with the times of gender equality, while retaining the essentially feminine aspect of being beautiful in all respects.
To conclude, the Lux brand, currently owned by Unilever, is a true success story behind which there are decades of sustained and tireless effort. Currently, it is spread in over 100 countries with more than 1.2 billion dollars revenue earnings. It is the market leader in soap category in many countries like India, Pakistan and Brazil, it is always innovative with its product advertisements and continues to offer quality products with its association of over 2000 suppliers and manufactures from all over the world.