But, why has the soap brand suddenly taken this route to wokeness?
“People will say this is my pregnancy glow, but this glow is also because I am doing all that I love!” says actress Kareena Kapoor Khan, who’s expecting her second child, in Lux soap’s new ad.
The ad that also features her husband Saif Ali Khan is not the usual Lux ad which speaks of beauty and glamour. Instead, Lux took a woke stance; it attempts to bust the stereotypes women face during pregnancy
“… people think that when you are pregnant, you should just sit at home… don’t travel, don’t shoot, don’t exercise… basically do nothing!” exclaims Kareena after recalling the time when she travelled and went for shoots while carrying Taimur, her first child.
Commenting on the campaign, Severine Vauleon, Global Brand Vice President, Lux, said, “Women are often bombarded with judgements that define how they should live, look or behave. Even during pregnancy, everyone has a say on how she should express or carry herself. But why can’t a woman be pregnant and still lead a full glorious life?
At Lux, we believe that a woman should be able to do what makes her glow - at all stages of life, including while she’s pregnant! With this initiative, we encourage women to celebrate being unstoppable!”
This isn’t the first Lux ad featuring Saifeena as the couple is dubbed in pop culture media. Their first ad for the soap brand was released last year where 'Yeh Chand Sa Roshan Chehra', one of the best Hindi movie songs, played inspiration.
Ever since its India launch in 1929, Lux has become synonymous with beauty and has featured some of Bollywood's biggest stars and gorgeous faces as brand ambassadors – Madhubala, Waheeda Rehman, Sridevi, Aishwarya Rai, Madhuri Dixit, Karishma and Kareena Kapoor, and even Shah Rukh Khan.
What surprised us was the fact that a soap brand with such a strong association to beauty is encouraging women to work and do what they want during their pregnancy and not let anyone pressurise them. How and why did Lux all of a sudden become did woke?
As per Jasravee Chandra, brand building, research and innovation, Master Sun, the consulting brand of Adiva L, “Should a soap beauty brand take on a stance as laddered as ‘glow from listening to your heart and making courageous choices’?”
She went on to list four reasons: First of all ‘a woke stand’ should not be just an ad proposition. Second, it cannot be so large a mantle that it loses credibility. For example, can soap help you make courageous, close to your heart choices? Third, it cannot be just a marketing tool for differentiation. The fourth aspect is that the commitment is evaluated by the savvy consumer through the entire marketing mix, not just the ad.
The Sebamed angle
Chandra thought that the ad indicates Sebamed has succeeded in creating dissonance for Lux associations in the consumer's mind. “That, stark visuals of pH 10 and blue Rin have started shadowing the glamourous countenances of film stars (chand sa chehra). That, ‘science ki suno' has rung true for soap category consumers.”
She remarked the ad seems “like a hurried attempt to deflect the Sebamed onslaught on Lux associations.”
The brand has stayed away from addressing the core pH issue. Instead, it has "tried to re-define the endorser film star’s personality; as well as the source of the glow," said Chandra. The glamorous film star is being celebrated for courageous choices. As a result it breaks pregnancy-related myths and stereotypes. The source of glow is attributed to the fact that the star listens to her heart (dil ki suno?).
So what will the ad achieve?
She remarked, "The role of soap, as well as the re-interpretation of glow, come across as forced. Although the intent seems interesting, the brand’s role is not integral to it." Also, brand Lux has consistently owned beauty associations over the decades.
"A brand’s commitment and its experience come alive for the consumer through the entire marketing mix. One ad seldom shifts the needle. And here the ad is too unconvincing. Hence I don't think it will impact the brand positively on any significant parameters," stated Chandra.
Coming back to wokeness, after watching Lux's new ad, we were reminded of the 2015 ad by Anouk, the ethnic wear brand from Myntra featuring actress Radhika Apte. In it, Apte goes on to start her own architecture firm after realising how her pregnancy had "become the cause of her losing her assignments and promotions to another colleague at work, despite having worked nights on the project."
Lux ad Credits
Client: Hindustan Unilever, Lux
Agency: Wunderman Thompson
Project Head: Roneeta Ghosh, Vice President
Anupam Basu, AVP & Sr. Creative Director (Copy)
Louella Rebello, Creative Consultant
Vijay Solanki, Sr. Creative Director (Art)
Aditi Shivdasani, Associate Vice President
Shampita Dey, Account Executive
Produced by: Firecracker
Director: Arunima Sharma
Music: Mikey McCleary