Soap alone was not sold, also stardom. Lux was the secret to the attractive faces and if the customers used it, they too would be attractive.
Lux entered India in the late 20s and was officially launched in 1929. Like its global brand-building strategy, Lux concentrated on associating with the world of films, stars and showcasing the usage of Lux by them.
In 1929, a global campaign included 26 of the greatest heroines of the time, making an enormous impact on the target audience. Following this were Hollywood directors emphasizing the importance of smooth and youthful skin. Experts believe this was the first step of celebrity product endorsements.
In the 40s, the Indian film industry was growing rapidly and Lux decided to use local film stars. The first advertisement featured Leela Chitnis. This became a necessity. If one had to be a star, then she should have endorsed Lux.
There was a difference between the early Lux campaigns with Hollywood & Indian stars. The former used several variations that included the display of their bodies, and in the latter, the focus was on the faces for morality.
Unilever did not sell the soap alone but more of stardom, emphasizing that Lux was the secret to the attractive faces and if the customers used it, they too would be as attractive.
Magazines like Femina, Star & Style etc. had long term arrangements with Unilever to publish Lux ads. Lux was the first to use women brand ambassadors. No wonder it was the “Beauty Soap of the Film Stars.”
The campaign was built on the fact that it was beneficial for all parties. Stars used to actively try to be a part of the campaign as Lux was a sure way of getting publicity across many cities and towns not only through the press but also posters, hoardings, wrappers etc.
When the soap was first launched in India, the company targeted the upper and middle class in urban and semi-urban areas keeping the importance of ‘beauty of women’ and positioned itself as the ‘luxury soap affordable for all’.
Lux soon became synonymous with the glamorous lifestyle of film stars. The look and feel of the ad was premium, but the price point was always affordable, helping the brand’s popularity amongst a large section.
JWT has used only 2 male stars for Lux campaigns in India – Shahrukh Khan and Abhishek Bachchan.