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Lifebuoy re-enters UK with a new ad campaign, products

Lifebuoy’s new UK line-up includes hand sanitiser gel, hand hygiene wipes, hand sanitiser spray, liquid handwash, and moisturising hand cream.

With the Coronavirus pandemic, hygiene has become a big priority these days. Now, Lifebuoy is coming back to where it started, the United Kingdom. The brand has re-introduced its classic red bar soap in stores across the UK from this month (August), along with some new members of the family.

Lifebuoy’s 2020 line-up will also include hand sanitiser gel, hand hygiene wipes, hand sanitiser spray, liquid handwash and moisturising hand cream + anti-bac – a hydrating cream enriched with antibacterial ingredients.

To highlight its hand sanitiser offering, Lifebuoy has released this animated ad below, which shows the different use cases for the (liquid) sanitiser. Interestingly, we see that the moisturising hand cream is also advertised alongside the sanitiser in this ad.

Lifebuoy is also introducing sanitation stations in stores, cafés and cinemas, making it easy for the British public to keep their hands clean as they begin a cautious return to the new normality.

“For over a century, Lifebuoy has played a crucial role in helping to reduce the spread of infection. As well as getting our products to communities, we are on a mission to improve handwashing habits around the world, helping over one billion people since 2010,” says Samir Singh, global executive vice president of Unilever’s skin cleansing category. (Unilever is the parent company of Lifebuoy.)

“This simple habit can make a huge difference, and we want to play our part by helping people do everything within their power to keep themselves and their communities safe through COVID-19.”

Chris Barron, vice president of Unilever’s beauty and personal care division in the UK and Ireland, adds, “The re-introduction of Lifebuoy to the UK and Ireland market has never been more important than it is now.

“Our role is not just to provide people with great products to use at home, or on-the-go, but also to remind them about the importance of a good hand hygiene regime,” says Barron.

Back in 1894, Lifebuoy soap was created to help combat the disease and infection that ran rife in towns across Victorian England as a result of rapid urbanisation.

At the time, a Cholera epidemic prevailed and in Lifebuoy soap, Unilever founder William Lever provided an affordable, accessible way for communities to help protect themselves from the spread of the disease.

A press release on the Unilever website mentions that brand Lifebuoy’s long-standing mission is to raise awareness of the importance of using soap in handwashing. It was reinforced through advertising, on-pack messages and local campaigning. Lifebuoy became not just one of the world’s first consumer brands, but also an agent of social change (by forming the handwashing habit) in the face of the disease.

Much has changed in the years since then. The Cholera pandemic passed, but in 1918, the Spanish Flu followed. Years later, so did SARS, the H1N1 Flu, and now COVID-19. But the mission – to protect people by inspiring good handwashing habits – remains the same.

So, what did Lifebuoy's advertising look like, at the beginning? Take a look at some of these vintage ads below:

1900 - Early Lifebuoy advertising and packaging often featured the ‘lifeboat man’.
1900 - Early Lifebuoy advertising and packaging often featured the ‘lifeboat man’.
Source: Unilever website
1915- soldiers fighting in the First World War were sent bars of Lifebuoy soap.
1915- soldiers fighting in the First World War were sent bars of Lifebuoy soap.
Source: Unilever website
1950 - an ad on good handwashing habits
1950 - an ad on good handwashing habits
Source: Unilever website
Lifebuoy ad from 1894
Lifebuoy ad from 1894
Source: Unilever website