Lifebuoy – Successful Repositioning & Re-launch of an Established Personal Care Brand



Case Code : CLMC-035
Publication date : 2005
Subject : Marketing Communications
Industry : -
Length : 05 Pages
Price : Rs. 100

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Key words:

Lifebuoy, Brand Re-launch, Mass Appeal, Carbolic Soaps, Media Penetration, Purchase Decisions, Masculine Image, Personal Hygiene Platform, Family Health Platform, Packaging, ‘Lifebuoy Swastha Chetana’ and ‘Healthy Hindustan’.


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The caselet provides details about Hindustan Lever’s comprehensive re-launch exercise of its personal care brand Lifebuoy. The caselet throws light on factors that led HLL to re-position the 100-year-old brand. The caselet then outlines the marketing communications strategy adopted by the company to promote the brand. Finally, the caselet describes in detail the communications campaigns launched by HLL.


  » Marketing communications planning process
  » Significance of a situational analysis in marketing communications planning
  » Effective use of direct marketing and mass media advertising in rural marketing
  » Challenges faced during re-launch of well-established brands


Lifebuoy was sold in India as early as 1895, but was officially launched and marketed from 1935. It was the largest selling soap brand in the world with sales of Rs 5 bn and sold approximately 2 million soaps a day (as on 2002).

Lifebuoy had a 21% market share in the overall soap market and was a category leader in the carbolic soap segment with a 95% market share. For over hundred years since the brand first came to India, Lifebuoy was associated with health and well-being. Its ads reiterated the message that Lifebuoy washed away germs and kept one protected and healthy. The brand went through a major re-launch for the first time in 1964, with a change in product formulation, shape, and packaging.

Questions for Discussion:

1. Lifebuoy’s marketing strategy, which had remained unchanged for over 107 years, underwent a major shift with the re-launch in 2002. Elaborate on the marketing communication planning process behind the re-launch of Lifebuoy.

2. The evaluation and control of marketing communication programs is the final step in the marketing communication planning process. If you were the marketing director of HLL, how would you evaluate and control the marketing communication program for the relaunch of Lifebuoy?