At the Effie 2010 case study presentation round in held in Mumbai recently, JWT India presented its case on Lux in the Consumer Products - Cosmetics and Toiletries category, on how it regained lost magic amidst housewives in small town India.
In early 2009, Hindustan Unilever, the makers of Lux, noticed that the Indian housewife was falling out of love with Lux and the brand was particularly losing penetration in small town India due to an explosion of enticing imitation brands. The task, clearly, was to bring the romance back into Lux and shed the dreary image it had started to develop in households.
This unmet need required to be addressed and JWT thought of getting Bollywood's real life star couple, Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, to feature in the communication.
Aishwarya, as one knows, has been a long standing brand endorser for Lux (for more than a decade). So roping in her husband seemed to be the logical thing to do, if couple play was to be used as a creative idea. The duo represented the most ideal romantic couple from the Bollywood factory and there was obviously a lot of curiosity surrounding the two after their much hyped marriage.
The commercial showed Aishwarya enjoying a luxurious bath with new Lux with beauty oils, and deciding to spring a surprise on her husband. When Bachchan comes home from work, she blindfolds him and he is to trace her by her new-found scent. A playful sensual game of 'Catch me if you can' ensues, with Bachchan unable to catch his wife as his hands glide off her smooth skin.
Finally, when he thinks he has her, he removes his blindfold, only to see that he is hugging his cleaning lady instead, as Aishwarya laughs on. A music track composed by trio Shankar -Ehsaan-Loy lends a rustic, sufi-esque feel to the film.
Other media leveraged included out of home, press (magazines and newspapers), advertorials in language dailies and point of purchase material.
The campaign was extended to another quick promotional one featuring the couple talking about 'Good news' - a double meaning quip - about the Lux Gold Coin offer. This TVC was followed up with print and radio, as well as consumer testimonials on how the Gold Coin changed their lives.
As a result, the agency claims, quarterly penetration went up by 13 per cent in small towns, and key brand imagery parameters (relevance, brand advantage and consideration) went up by almost 19 per cent. There was an improved brand consideration score in small town India - up by 14 per cent. The strengthening of brand health with conviction went up by 60 per cent.
A negative volume trend was reversed with a 7.8 per cent swing on the Rs 1000 + crore brand; penetration in small towns went up significantly for Lux, while an additional 1.4 per cent reach was also attained.
Even the sufi-esque track, Sone se bhi sona lagey, became a popular download item (as ringtones and others), with thousands of downloads over the Internet.
For the record, the Effie Awards are organised by the Ad Club Bombay every year and honour campaigns on the basis of merit and how they have actually worked for the brand, and not just mere creativity.