Current agency: JWT
Lux has been creating waves since 1924, when it was launched as the world’s first mass-market beauty soap in the US. Launched in India in 1929 as ‘The beauty soap of film stars’, Lux has been featuring a bevy of Bollywood beauties right from its first ‘star’ Leela Chitnis to Priyanka Chopra in the present day. In between there have been Madhubala, Zeenat Aman, Madhuri Dixit, Karishma Kapoor, Aishwarya Rai, and Kareena Kapoor, and curiously, for some time even Shah Rukh Khan. In fact, Lux is probably the only brand that has been endorsed by no less than 50 Indian film stars.
In its 75th year, celebration was imminent. Two new variants – Aromatic Glow and Chocolate Seduction – were launched as special limited edition offer. Posters of a stylish and sexy Kareena Kapoor in chocolate sauce rocked the market. For its AV ads, Lux brought together actresses Hema Malini, Sridevi, Juhi Chawla and Kareena – representing four decades in one commercial. The four beauties appeared with Shah Rukh Khan, the first male star to appear in an ad for the beauty soap brand.
Brand Journey – A Testimony in Itself
Speaking on Lux’s journey in India, Sudhanshu Vats, Vice President - Skin Cleansing and Home Care, HUL, said, “Lux has been in India for over 75 years and has been the beauty soap of the film stars. Lux has always been inspired by the Bollywood connection. The brand has been endorsed by leading film personalities. Lux has been the epitome of beauty for the Indian woman and her to enjoy the process of beautifying without any constraints. Lux has always energised the category with successful launches, relaunches and new variants, and has constantly evolved to meet the changing aspirations of the Indian woman.”
Dhunji Wadia, Managing Partner, JWT Mumbai, observed, “Lux is aimed at delighting the feminine senses. However, expressions evolve in step with the evolving cultural trends. Through the years, the brand has moved from driving pure aspirations to playing a more involved role in the lives of women. Today, it also aims to inspire women to enjoy the pleasures of their beauty. And yet, there is a part of Lux that has remained constant – the beauty soap of film stars.”
Wadia further said, “Lux has still managed to sustain itself in terms of high recall among consumers and trustworthiness, because at Lux, understanding our consumer intimately and keeping an eye on cultural trends is an-going process. And doing things ‘differently’ is not just a mantra, but a passion with team Lux. Year on year we strive to create communication that has the capability to generate talkability, thereby aiding recall. For example, the SRK 75-year celebrations under the wrapper promotional activity was propelled to another level all together due to communication, wherein the soap of the film stars signed on its first ever male star generating curiosity and creating a lot of buzz in the market place.”
“The Lux brand kept up with the changing times. Everything about Lux, from the look and feel of the products and packaging to the fragrances, is a delight to the feminine senses. And that has been a constant for the brand. Expressions of femininity may change and evolve. And Lux aims to be the paradigm of the new femininity, each year, in every decade. The brand idea is about the pleasures of using your beauty. Only the brand inspires the woman do that. Re-invention has been a key word for us even in terms of execution, after a long line of Bollywood leading ladies, we had SRK. Moving from philosophy to product, introducing variants to constantly keep the consumer engaged and excited, for example, chocolate variant or aqua sparkle for freshness,” Wadia explained.
On a more personal note, Wadia said, “Lux is a brand that is very close to my heart. I have been involved with the brand for almost three-fourth of my career. And I look forward to being a part of the brand’s progress as we go further.”
An Onlooker’s Perspective
Giving his observations on the Lux campaign over the years, Prathap Suthan, National Creative Director, Cheil Communications, said, “I am not sure whether the advertising has evolved but for the changes that have naturally come in with the progress of time. I mean their plots have been pretty basic, they always follow a predictable line, and they have been with Bollywood stars for I think around 50 years. And every year, their advertising has revolved around the biggest female actor of that era. Besides the little nuances that the product has gone through, and the changes in fashion, looks, glamour, etc., that the passage of time has progressively brought in, their advertising has been a constant. The differences have been, as a layman who only watches their advertising and will always have nothing to do with their soaps, at best the faces of glamour and the ever improving craft of execution.”
Suthan further said, “The one quality that has made the ad so endearing is – I am not sure personally if they have ever endeared to me, but as a brand, the Lux advertising has been a landmark in brand building. I am not sure if there’s any other brand that has consistently pegged its destiny around film stars and stardom and film star like skin. This is not just in India, but it is right across the world. I recollect Lux ads with Penelope Cruz and Jennifer Lopez, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they continue this for as long as possible. I think the appeal has been in its disarmingly simple plots, yet rich glamorous stories that bring supple soft skin that’s star like to star struck women and many men too.”
“I think Lux ads would be the pioneer of celebrity advertising, and how its fortunes and its market leadership have been built. In a very non-twisted way, there’s certain innocence to Lux ads. There is vulnerability. It has an uncomplicated appeal and charm, without too many layers, without too many levels. I mean, one doesn’t have to decipher their ads. It’s brilliantly beautiful. And it is a world that I suppose the basic need and want of a woman to stay beautiful and glamorous is magnified and effectively pandered to,” he added.