Past & Current Agency: Lowe Lintas
Liril has always had that evergreen association with freshness, waterfall and a frolicking Karen Lunel in a lime green swimsuit under it. This image, accompanied by the energetic ‘La la la…” jingle, is recalled even today. Launched in 1975, Liril created a segment in itself and is testimony to the genius of Ad Guru Alyque Padamsee.
For 25 years, Liril has continued with its freshness proposition. Though the models changed over the years, the brand communication has remained consistent. However, things have been changing for the brand in the last five years, with re-invention and now rebirth as ‘Liril 2000’ – from ‘individualist indulgence’ to ‘family intimacy’.
Flashback mode: From Karen Lunel to Preity Zinta…
The first ‘Liril girl’, Karen Lunel, brought in the freshness appeal. Her carefree cavorting under the waterfall (incidentally shot at the Pambar Falls in Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu), was seen to be synonymous with the women’s liberation taking wings in those times. There were several others who followed her over the years – Aneesha Dalal, Pooja Batra, Hrishita Bhat, Tara Sharma, Deepika Padukone, Divya Palat, and Preity Zinta too.
The brand also saw the introduction of quite a few variants – Icy mint, Orange Liril, etc. Now, Liril is in an almost unrecognisable avatar of ‘Liril 2000’. Gone is the lone girl enjoying her Liril moment, and in comes a family (with a decidedly international look and in an international home setting) sharing their intimate moments of togetherness. The latest TVC, currently on across channels, has been conceptualised by Lowe Lintas India. The TVC speaks about the 2,000 sensitive points in our body that Liril refreshes and rejuvenates.
2,000 ways of being intimate… with family & Liril
Commenting on Liril’s transition, Amer Jaleel, ECD, Lowe Lintas, said, “There is no doubt that Liril is an iconic brand, nevertheless, the brand has stood in the way of individual inspiration. The prior strategy, where the brand stood for its sensuousness and freshness, has now moved forward as a family intimacy brand.”
So what is this ‘family intimacy’? Jaleel explained, “Intimacy has various meanings that one can define for Liril 2000. However, what it stands for is the 2,000 ways of being clean, fresh and intimate with the family.” In Jaleel’s words, the recent commercial gives one a sense of fresh, touchable feel.
As for the new brand strategy, Jaleel said, “The waterfall commercial and its strategy were around the sensuousness and freshness around the brand and women. It is related to a woman discovering herself beyond the four walls of her bathroom. That was the then USP of the brand, which helped Liril become an icon. However, today women are liberated and have moved on. In the same way, the new strategy is liberalisation of the brand, which has now moved on to being clean, fresh and intimate with the family.”
“Communication will always change with time and people changing. Brand Liril has always been woman-centric, but we now move on to being family-centric, where again the woman is the focus as she will be the potential consumer,” he added.
An Onlooker’s Perspective
KV (Pops) Sridhar, NCD, Leo Burnett, remarked that great advertising made the brand ‘Liril’ and bad advertising killed it many years later.
“In my opinion, every element of the commercial added to the success of the brand, to start with ‘Freshness’, the product idea (RTB: Lime), and the waterfall were breakthroughs in the category as every soap ad was showing fully clothed women in bathtubs, while Liril showed the girl bathing under the waterfall, which every Indian girl could dream off and identify with than the bathtubs. The jingle was awesome, so was Karen. The real execution brilliance came in the form of the two-piece bikini, which scandalised a generation of young men and women. It was a truly contemporary idea and execution, which not only stood out, but also influenced the future of advertising in the Doordarshan days.”
However, Pops stressed, to keep a brand contemporary was very difficult unless one invested in understanding the ever-evolving trends in society. He said, “In this Baywatch and FTV era, a bikini is barely scandalous, even live-in relationships aren’t raising eyebrows anymore. So, what does on old brand do to remain relevant in the Facebook era?”
He further noted, “Liril has always been a struggling brand. Ever since its phenomenal success initially, it never ever replicated the magic and charm of the original commercial. And finally, it is close to death today.”
Josy Paul, Chairman and National Creative Officer, BBDO India, said, “Liril created history in the seventies. It broke new grounds and created huge salience, because it took bathing out of the bathroom and turned it into fantasy. There was a voyeuristic glee in looking at some young woman bathing. The lemon-waterfall made the whole thing legal, and thus presented the ingredient story very effectively. Everything about the film was remembered, including the song. There was total engagement and talk-ability.”
“My guess is that Liril was a stroke of luck! It’s a one ad wonder! Some of the films that followed were underwhelming! The brand was staying alive and fighting competition based on the residual value and echo effect of its original film,” he added.
Paul further said, “Today, the brand still enjoys recognition and familiarity. But probably scores low on relevance. It’s not part of conversation and there is no new news. The brand will have to connect with new audiences in a new way. Liril will have to offer new meaning and play an integral role in the lives of young people. Brands like Sunsilk have shown that you can take a fresh start. Liril will have to shed its past completely, if it has to go forward.”