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 1925, it became the first mass-market toilet soap in the world. It is noted as a brand that pioneered female celebrity endorsements.
As of 2009, Lux revenue was estimated at €1 billion, with market shares spread out to more than 100 countries around the globe.
Today, Lux is the market leader in countries like India, Pakistan, Brazil, Thailand and South Africa
Developed by Unilever, Lux (soap) is now headquartered in Singapore.
The brand was founded by the Lever Brothers in 1899 and now known as Unilever. 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.
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 pud soaps.
Introduced in the United States in 1924, Lux became the world’s first mass market toilet soap with the tagline “made as fine as French Soap”. In the first two 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.
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
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 leading ladies from the movies such as Deanna Durbin and Deborah Kerr.
In the 1960s, advertising was shifted to product stories and the romanticizing of brand through its “sensorial & emotional” dimensions. This was the era of ‘the film star feeling’ and the ‘Golden Lux’, featuring stars such as Sandra Dee, Diana Rigg and Samantha Eggar.
The bathing ritual, the ‘fantasy’ element that has been the imagery of Lux, was created in this era. The brand also moved forward with launching LUX in the Middle East, entering a more conservative market.
Reflecting the shift in beauty trends in the 1970s, the Lux stars stepped down from their pedestals and were portrayed as multi-faceted women with natural, wholesome beauty that the ordinary consumer could relate and aspire to. The executions were more of ‘a day in the life’ of the stars with focus on their ‘natural beauty’. Stars included Brigitte Bardot and Natalie Wood.
Establishing itself as the beauty soap for stars and beautiful women, the 1980s emphasized the importance of skin care – the first step to beauty. Lux was launched in China at this time. Sophia Loren, Raquel Welch and Cheryl Ladd were some famous celebrities used during this time.
In India, Bollywood actresses such as Sharmila Tagore, Hema Malini, Parveen Babi, Sridevi, Madhuri Dixit, Rani Mukerji, Aishwarya Rai, Katrina Kaif, Amisha Patel, Kareena Kapoor and Deepika Padukone have endorsed Lux soap.
In the 1990s, Lux moved from generic beauty benefits to focus on specific benefits and transformation. More emphasis on functionality and variant associations with different skin types as well as mention of ingredients. The communication was far more regional specific and localized, using in Brazil stars like Malu Mader and Debora Bloch.
This period launched product brand extensions Shower Cream and Gels and Lux Super Rich Shampoo in Japan and China.
In 2002, Pakistan created the Lux Style Awards to celebrate the Pakistani film industry.
In early 2000, the focus shifted from specific skin benefits to a stronger emotional space. The brand provided the link between the aspirational role models and real life with the campaign, ‘Lux brings out the star in you’. The benefit was now more than just beauty, it was also about the confidence that comes from beautiful skin.
In 2005, Lux encouraged women to celebrate and indulge their femininity with the “Play with Beauty” philosophy, with stars like Aishwarya Rai. The brand also connected with consumers to take a more ‘active’ stance on beauty.
From 2008, building off the brand’s root strengths, focus has shifted to beauty (vs. femininity), appealing to consumers’ fantasies and aspirations. Lux believes that ‘beauty is a female instinct that shouldn’t be denied’ and showcases the pleasure that every woman enjoys from using her beauty, encapsulating that idea in a simple phrase: Declare your beauty.
Today, Lux products are manufactured at 71 locations with more than 2000 suppliers and associates providing the raw materials. It has key markets in the developing countries like Brazil, Pakistan, China, Bangladesh and South Africa, and is a market leader in for soap bars in India, Pakistan, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, Thailand and Vietnam.
In the United States, Lux soap is branded as "Caress".