Lux is a global brand developed by Unilever. The range of products includes beauty soaps, shower gels, bath additives, hair shampoos and conditioners. Lux started as “Sunlight Flakes” laundry soap in 1899.
In 1924, it became the first mass market toilet soap in the world. It is noted as a brand that pioneered female celebrity endorsements.
As of 2005, Lux revenue is at 1.0 billion euros, with market shares spread out to more than 100 countries across the globe.
Today, Lux is the market leader in several countries including Pakistan, Brazil, India, Thailand and South Africa
The brand was founded by the Lever Brothers (today known as Unilever) in 1899. The name changed from “Sunlight Flakes” to “Lux” in 1900, a Latin word for “light” and suggestive of “luxury.”
Lux toilet soap was launched in the United States in 1925 and in the United Kingdom in 1928. Subsequently, Lux soap has been marketed in several forms, including handwash, shower gel and cream bath soap.
Since the 1930s, more than 400 of the world’s most famous female celebrities have been associated with Lux. Sarah Jessica Parker and Aishwarya Rai are some actresses featured in Lux advertising campaigns.
Lux’s early advertising campaigns aimed to educate users about its credentials as a laundry product and appeared in magazines such as Ladies Home Journal. By the early 1920s, it was a hugely successful brand and in 1924, the Lever Brothers conducted a contest that led them to a very interesting finding: women were using Lux as toilet soap.
Building beauty soap credentials
Introduced in the US in 1924, Lux became the world’s first mass market toilet soap with the tagline “made as fine as French Soap”. In the first 2 years of launch, Lux concentrated on building its beauty soap credentials. Advertisements offered consumers “a beauty soap made in the French method” at an affordable price, with the promise of smooth skin.
Made with fine-texture, rich in fragrance, and manufactured using a method created in France, the first Lux toilet soap was sold for 10 cents apiece.
1928–1940: 9 out of 10 stars
This era saw key launches of LUX in the UK, India, Argentina and Thailand. The brand concentrated on building its association with the increasingly popular movie world, focusing more on movie stars and their roles rather than on the product. In 1929, advertising featured 26 of the biggest female stars of the day, creating a huge impact among the movie-loving target audience. This was followed by Hollywood Directors talking about the importance of smooth and youthful skin. This pioneered the trend of celebrity product endorsements.
In 1931, Lux launched a campaign with older stars, “I am over 31”. The series of print ads had stars talking about preserving youthful skin. Lux also launched campaigns featuring interviews with Stars and Close Ups of Stars, bringing to life the ‘9 out of 10’ idea
40s & 50s: Romancing the consumer
Using movie star as role models, Lux’s strategy was to build relevance by looking at beauty through the consumer’s eyes. While still retaining the star element, the focus shifted to the consumer and the role of the brand in her life.
Advertising commercials showed ordinary looking women with direct references to stars, such as Deanna Durbin.