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The Covid-19 pandemic has posed many challenges for brands in terms of creativity and innovation in marketing, as consumer behavior changes more or less. 

Here, let’s find out with Malu how Lifebuoy has asserted itself as the “world’s number 1 germ-free” brand in 2020.


 Lifebuoy is one of Unilever ‘s oldest brands . In 1894, William Lever created the Lifebuoy product to help the British people maintain hygiene when the cholera epidemic raged. 126 years later, Lifebuoy once again asserts the role of its history.

Previously, Lifebuoy’s products were popular in India and Southeast Asia. In these large markets, Lifebuoy has always remained a prominent and profitable brand.

However, when the COVID-19 pandemic occurred, Lifebuoy took the opportunity, quickly returned to the track, re-branded and expanded the market.


From a brand that has strengths in certain markets, Lifebuoy wishes to affirm itself as “the world’s number 1 germ-free brand”, demonstrating its role in helping the world’s population to be safe and healthy.

Kartik Chandrasekhar, Global Vice President of Lifebuoy said: “During the pandemic, we do marketing in ways that are culturally appropriate for each market. We want to convey the message of Lifebuoy’s purpose and mission to as many people as possible.”


Act early and decisively

As soon as the pandemic began, Lifebuoy acted early, releasing announcements encouraging people to use soap, of any kind, to keep themselves clean. The brand then went on to use a range of tools, partnerships and global campaigns to spread the message.

“All these campaigns are about spreading the message of washing hands and stopping germs, thereby forming good habits,” said Lifebuoy Global Vice President, Kartik Chandrasekhar.

Lifebuoy has also cleverly transformed its campaigns to connect customers, families and young generations around the world to detect and prevent the spread of disease. When hygiene becomes an essential need of every person, Lifebuoy’s messages are stated more clearly and attractively.

Unilever is also funding more than 20 million products around the world for frontline workers, using its factories to scale production for medical staff, caregivers or taxi drivers.

In order to increase the persuasion and spread the habit of washing hands to protect everyone, instead of focusing on profits, Lifebuoy also did not hesitate to mention the names of competitors (eg Lux, Dettol, Santoor and Godrej) No 1).

Message calling on people to fight the epidemic

Consolidate old market, expand new market

Within 100 days, Lifebuoy has simultaneously launched products and advertising campaigns in more than 50 new markets.

For the old markets, Lifebuoy is also starting to get back on track. Promotion activities at US supermarket chains are implemented. In China, the brand opens a store on e-commerce platforms.

Use sports elements

In addition to cultural factors, Lifebuoy also pays attention to sports factors. The company believes that this is the hobby and passion of billions of people around the world, regardless of gender, age, region. As a result, Lifebuoy connected with the sports competition to reach a wider audience.

For example: In South Asian countries, the company chooses cricket – the most popular sport here. Lifebuoy has partnered with the Cricket Authority of Bangladesh and Pakistan to promote the importance of hand washing. In India, the company and  its agency  have worked closely with the Cricket Premier League and sponsored the Formula 1 race.

Lifebuoy is the winning streak of Pakistan Cricket Players from August 2020
Lifebuoy becomes official partner of Pakistan Cricket Team in August 2020

Fun, catchy music

Lifebuoy also makes promotional videos using music as the main material, with catchy, funny songs.

In India, a rap song called ‘Lifebuoy Karo Na’, roughly translated as ‘Use Lifebuoy’ was released. Accompanying it is a signature dance, making disease prevention by washing hands part of popular culture. The song was a huge success when it reached more than a billion views on TikTok. Likewise in Indonesia, Vietnam and Singapore, the brand has used popular music and stars to attract audiences.

In Vietnam, Lifebuoy has released the video “Funny 6 Steps to Wash Your Hands Correctly” from March 2020.

Followed by a video of the song “Don’t be afraid”, with the appearance of the “child phenomenon” Facebook and Tiktok, baby Piggy. In this MV, the 8-year-old rapper expressed his nostalgia and desire to go back to school. At the end of the video, viewers had the opportunity to burst out because it turned out that thanks to the powerful “Skin Resistance Bodyguard”, Piggy was able to strongly declare “Don’t be afraid” to the viruses and bacteria that cause diseases, thereby peace of mind. back to school.

In his home country, England, Lifebuoy launched the “Bish bash bosh” campaign. This is a slang phrase that denotes the simplicity of hand washing and killing germs.

In Pakistan, Lifebuoy runs the “Hathon ki hifazat” program, while in Singapore, Lifebuoy encourages people to be “hygiene heroes” and contribute to protecting the community from the spread of corona virus.

On the occasion of World Handwashing Day on October 15, 2020, launched by the World Health Organization (WHO), Lifebuoy again launched a new initiative called “H for Handwashing” in Asia. Its name is derived from children learning to spell, such as “A for Apple, B for Ball” and often the letter H will be “H for Hat”, which has now been modified by the brand. The program aims to change behavior, encourage children to learn the habit of washing hands.

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Learn how to live life at home through the covid 19 pandemic
Colorful posters in the “H for Handwashing” campaign carried out by Lifebuoy in October 2020

In India or Indonesia, Lifebuoy also organizes challenges on TikTok with  hashtags  attached. Through it, the company has created image coverage to millions of TikTok users, especially the young audience.

Archive of all LifebuoyKarona hashtag videos on TikTok
Colorful posters in the “H for Handwashing” campaign carried out by Lifebuoy in October 2020


According to Unilever’s CFO, Graham Pitkethly, as of September 2020, Lifebuoy has expanded to 55 new markets in just 100 days. The brand’s market share increased to 93% and became Unilever’s next billion-euro brand. Its annual growth rate also reached 67% and the compound annual growth rate increased about 13% over the previous decade.

By applying the right and timely strategies and taking advantage of local cultural factors, Lifebuoy once again affirms its position as “the world’s No. 1 germ-free brand” in the hearts of consumers.