Lifebuoy makes a healthy comeback

Ad: “Upset stomach”
Client: Lifebuoy – Unilever

Lifebuoy’s was launched in 1894 in the UK by lever brothers as a germ killing soap. The soap has recently made an amazing comeback into the Kenyan market on the same platform it was originally positioned; the active-germ killing soap that sportsmen can trust.  Other Unilever Brands it competed against ‘those days’ included Kimbo, Cowboy, Treetops, Rexona, LadyGay etc.

In this new commercial that is attempting to launch Lifebuoy’s comeback into this particular market, we see a young boy in bed, with his mother and a doctor who has come to examine him. When the doctor asks the mother what the problem is, she says it has to do with his stomach and as expected, the doctor prescribes some medicine. The ad then comes to life when the Doctor asks if there is somewhere he can wash his hands. The mother of the sick boy courteously directs him to the sink and as he gets there, we see him frown the minute his eyes land on the soap available for use at the sink.

Disapproving, he bins it quickly and proceeds to pick it up and exchange it for the new Lifebuoy soap. The voice over takes us through all the advantages of lifebuoy and the fact that its tested and proven to kill all germs etc.

The scene then switches to the boy playing outside with a big red cross showing the area in which germs have been killed.  The ad ends with the kid telling the doctor that he no longer has any fear – we assume of getting sick because he’s well protected.

While many of us are quite shocked to witness the return of Lifebuoy into this market, it seems that positioning the product on the germ killing-platform may be a strategy that needs more work.  Already the market seems is cluttered with similar products that all promise similar results. This means that other than its nostalgic association, the product is struggling to stand out from the market. Perhaps future campaigns will focus on different angles that capture the attention of today’s generation – compelling them to make Lifebuoy one of those products that becomes a more common sight in homes – as it was before.

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