Guess What! A Healthy Soap.
When people identified that a red bright chunky solid bar has taken personnel hygiene seriously, they have taken the soap very seriously. My grandmother would vouch for this fact and the strong mission the soap firm has set. Lifebuoy, a soap which helps one to keep germ free and so healthy is known by generations for its 100+ years of existence.
Lifebouy is part of the soap manufacturing division of Unilever. It was once a carbolic soap and had an iota amount of phenol. In some time phenol is not added but then the soap used to be in coral color in late 1950s. The minty refresher version has also come to market during 1960s. Beforethe perfumed soaps took over the US market, Lifebouy was the king from 1923 to the mid 1950s. The carbolic aroma, the yellow and red shaded packing, carbolic aroma and octagonal shape were the highlights.
1895: Lever Brothers gave birth to a healthy soap
William Lever, introduced Lifebouy in the UK as the Royal Disinfection Soap. The color red started its 100 year old journey. The first logo of Lifebuoy soap was the name Lifebuoy spelt in white on a red background. This red and white combination has been continued till this date.
The firm Lever Brothers is a British manufacturing firm established in 1885 by James Darcy Lever and William Hesketh Lever. Their investment in a soap making process developed by the chemist William Hough Watson built bricks to their dreams. Their small factory was located in England, Warington where they used vegetable oils to manufacture soap.
1914: To support to WW1 soldiers
This was the year when this hard carbolic soap, red in color and containing phenol, a germ fighting solvent, was sent on its first journey to the soldiers fighting the WW1. The Lifebuoy name was still spelt in white on a red background, but had a picture of a bearded soldier on it. The color red a warning that healthy soldiers make fitter fighters.
1919: Strong scent or the germ protection who won?
And they still stink! Words that changed the appearance of Lifebuoy and its smell. The Lifebuoy soap with its harsh carbolic smell was great for fighting germs, but did nothing about the sweaty smell people still carried with them after bathing. Thus, the new logo had a red background with a white lined border and the word NEW boxed above the name Lifebuoy. The new wrapper with a new logo and a softer, fragrant red soap in it.
1921: When it felt woman has the upper hand
It was the year when the Lifebuoy marketing team realized that till now they had advertised Lifebuoy as soap for men and that women and especially , were more responsible for health care of their family and thus they now decided to market the soap as a soap trusted by mothers to protect their young ones from illness. Thus the new logo had a red background with a dark muster colored edging and had the words “The Health Dr Says”, on it.
1930: The Advertising way
Lifebouy got its new campaign theme which was B.O Or Body Odor. A good dancer, but body odor spoilt it all was the line that the Lifebuoy soap advertisements carried, in which a couple were shown dancing with the lady partner shying away from her mate due to his sweaty smell. Many such ads were released to advertise the new improved Lifebuoy soap with its new logo, which was a white background with red dots on it and the name Lifebuoy has written on it on a plain red background with the word Coral printed in capital in the corner, the design somewhat resembling an envelope. So the sweet, coral fragrant hexagonal Lifebuoy got a new wrapper and a new task too. Lifebuoy now started an educational program in schools to teach children the importance of hand washing.
1939: It supported WW2, the germ free way
It was the year when the WW2 ravaged Britain and Lifebuoy took the initiative of sending emergency mobile washing facilities to the soldiers helping them to fight against illness. The logo was still white on red, but the background changed from red dots on white too a more red with oval white patches on the top and bottom with the word New Pink Toilet Soap written on it. The new logo explained the importance of washing oneself with Lifebuoy to stay fit and clean.
1950: The changeover of the soap bar and its logo
A year when one not only looked great, but smelt great too. Users were no longer put off by the carbolic smell as a new ingredient, Puralin was added to make the soap softer and the red color was replaced by a soft pink color so the logo too changed from the red background to a white one with streaks of silver gray on it and the new words Coral Lifebuoy Deodorant soap printed on it were for the first time changed from the white font to a red font.
1966: New logo for a new era
It will be remembered as the year when liquid hand Sanitizers was invented and Lifebuoy became Minty and the logo got a new modern stylized font with Lifebuoy written in white and with a red outline, a glittering, broad, wavy, blue, red and white stripe as a background. The new wrapper emphasized the new era of hygiene and health.
2000: The logo in a Monarch way
Lifebuoy won the challenge of reducing deaths of children under the age of 5 by its Clean Hands Campaign. Lifebuoy Gold was launched and the new logo had Lifebuoy in red again with a swanky looking gold and red striped background. The red and gold wavy outline under the word GOLD said it all. The monarch of good health and hygiene ruled the world again.
2005: Time for an award!
There was a change in the Lifebuoy logo again. The logo had Lifebuoy has written in white on a red background. On the left hand corner a family picture added more emotion to the cover. The words Lifebuoy Toilet Soap for Family Health written on it, says it all. This was the year that Lifebuoy was awarded the Citizen Brand Accolade.
2007: The cross and the ring, a symbol of protection
Lifebuoy held a real life clinical trial of 2000 Mumbai families to find out if using their soap really made a difference to people’s health and they succeeded in proving that families who used Lifebuoy regularly fell ill less often than those families who did not use Lifebuoy. The new logo had a picture of a modern family in white bathrobes on it and more than that had a blue sign which stood for clinically proved on it. The hard, strong smelling soap had become a soft scented deodorant with a special germ killing ingredient. The blue cross and the red rings, protecting the family proved it all.
2008 – Present: Plus hygeine, plus germ free and plus for infants
The logos now acquired a prominent plus sign of good health and the picture of a happy and healthy family on it was enough to make one trust this mighty hygiene giant. Lifebuoy Total now became Lifebuoy Total 10. Lifebuoy protects in 10 different ways and helps the body to fight against germs and diseases. Lifebuoy Mild Care protects infants against germs and is soft and gentle on their skin. The new aqua blue color also represents the new fragrances introduced by Lifebuoy to suit the modern environment, yet continuing its fight against ill-health.
It has been more than a Centennial and the Lifebouy bar is still strong with its wings far and wide globally. It is a result of a vision to offer accessible and affordable health solutions to get rid of hygiene and health anxieties.