Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Hot chocolate Lux

First, they put Shahrukh Khan in a bathtub . Now, they slather Kareena Kapoor with chocolate paint.

Both, ostensibly, to celebrate '75 years of Lux soap'. And beyond the column-inches these activities may generate, neither is going to do anything for the brand in the long run.

The Lux strategy is especially confused and confusing. The brand is being stretched across the entire customer spectrum. So there's a soap cake being sold for 13 bucks and a White Spa body wash costing Rs 70.

A new 'chocolate seduction' soap.
A 'sandalwood + honey' variant.
A purple 'Aromatic Glow' variant.

The idea appears to be: ek hi teer se saare competitors ko maar do. But that usually doesn't work.

A single brand can't be a Lux AND a Palmolive Aromatherapy AND a Santoor AND in liquid form, an economical alternative to Bath & Body Works.

And this is especially applicable if the brand reworks only its image and not the formulation.

No seduction here
Yes, I actually bought the Lux chocolate soap. My verdict: Melody may be chocolatey, Lux still isn't.

The shape, look and feel is very nice but the soap SMELLS like any old regular Lux soap. So you never feel seduced by the 'chocolate' element.

Fragrance is in my opinion far more integral to a soap's appeal than how it looks. And for those who think that a chocolate smell in soap is unappealing - think again!

Try any foreign cocoa butter lotion. Or if you are in Bangalore's Garuda mall check out the shop on the first floor which sells 'hand made' bath products.

The delicious smell wafts into your nose while you're on the floor above! Everything in that shop is abslutely fascinating. The chocolate soap is chopped off for you from a cake-like brick. Looks good enough to eat...

The only sad bit is the company is from the UK and insists on charging UK prices. An 800 rupee soap was a bit much - even in the name of indulgence. You feel like the soap would have to be guarded and sparingly used. And what if it melts in the soapdish and turns into mush?

Ha, you can see how hard I had to work to convince myself it wasn't worth buying. Now that is what I call chocolate seduction.

Eat your heart out, Kareena!


  1. my question is... do those ads really work?
    i do not reside in india, but during my brief stay there, i saw many soap, detergent, and toothpaste commercials. Most were targeted towards the women of the household. Some towards kids and others towards the youth.

    back to your posting, i would say no matter how a product is marketed. In a celebrity crazy place like india, any hot actress with any soap will generate good revenue for the company, unless the product is really crappy.
    if LUX is able to sell more soaps by giving them wierd names, and using actresses covered in choclate. Hey, its bringing more money in!!, isnt that what advertising is supposed to do?

  2. donno abt Lux but Kareena would sell big time =))
    On a serious note Why do they have to bring in that carnal element in whatever they wanna sell? No matter what the product is, seems it does not sell unless there is a girl used in the ad.!

    Oh well regarding soaps I never gave much thought- I just get what is in stock in hostel canteen :P But you are kind of tempting me ;)

    PS: SRK link in first line isn't working.

  3. Anonymous12:40 PM

    Lux sucks!! I've heard some real scary rumers about this soap saying that these soaps are made out from pig-fat, like the cartridges in bigtime flop Mangal Pandey. Is that true?

  4. chocolate soap..when i first saw that commercial i thought what YUk feeling to bathe with u say the soap smells like the regular Lux soap,is it just the changed color that they are selling.This time this gimmick is not gonna work..All said and done who would like to go to work smelling like a choco??

  5. Difficult to believe that 3 out 5 indians use the soap atleast once in a year.They are very strong in rural markets so ,kareena factor will definetly work.

  6. Cool !!

    Well Lux has a simple positioning - Filmi sitoron ka saundrya sabun. The beauty soap of Film stars. The entire strategy is probably to give this positioning a lively new feel.

    Their target is less "people like you" but more an average typical Indian housewife. They are found in large numbers in India - who live by dreaming themselves in the clothes, makeups and styles of film stars. They gossip about them. They love to try things that these film stars suggest.

    Shahrukh khan - was & is an error - I am sure thats why that ad was suddenly "gayyab" - because it does not go with the aspirations of traditional housewife in India.

    Is Karishma & Choclate also an error - probably yes!! becasue the whole theme seems to be targetted at a younger audience - less to the taste of typical housewives.

    However, coming from an HLL one wishes thay had done the research they are known for. If thats the case - may be the face of typical Indian housewife might have undergone a transformation before we took notice.

    Well tried HLL. May you succeed.

  7. 'jst blog hopping...

    lol..nice post. i love the "melody" part of it.

    God bless!

  8. iMhO said...

    my question is... do those ads really work?

    duh!!! they work! the MMS works! the stupid publicity works! its India!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ppl are jobless! they forward such kind of pics to their friends !!!!!!!

    where are you man?

  9. oh man... I love those Lush soaps but it's like an annual indulgence...any of them so yummy!

  10. These ad campaigns probably bring abt the early birds who wud lk 2 try anyth new... But in the long run, Lux ll need 2 stick 2 its USP: Deliverin da middle-class housewife a soap tht wud mk her feel lk an on-screen diva! Remember, Lux is a Sitaron ka Saabun!!!

  11. You didn't reply to my mail.


  12. They have a LUSH in Bangalore?! Nice! It's a very fun company. India needs a real and total innovation in bath products. Lush- the UK company you are referring to was started by the chemist who worked for BodyShop. BodyShop became to conservative for him and he started LUSH. A very popular philosophy at LUSH is creative destruction. Every year, they destroy all their products, no matter how successful the product is-- and they create new ones. Thius insuring their brand stays fresh and fun all the time.

    Indian companies can learn a lesson or two from LUSH's founder.

  13. is this for eating or bathing

  14. umm. i feel bad to make this vulgar comment. instead of using the soap, i had lick the yummy chocolate anyday...

  15. Are you sure you ain't assuming that consumer preferences are perfectly correlated to your preferences?

    There might be people, may be lots of them, may be all of them except you and whosoever you interacted with, who are drawn towards a soap's color and don't care about (perhaps are alienated by) its fragrance!

  16. I have a question here - how much can the public be fooled?

  17. i usually dont blog on current topics , not to mention with kareena in it but here goes nothing

  18. i dont know how far this soap bar will seduce the Indian janta... but i guess not many of us love to eat chocolate ice-cream... what is lux planning next?.....i guess choco chips in the soap!!

  19. The day before yesterday I asked the kirana wala for a bar of Lux choclate. Just to check out how it looks...and he said: "Everyone asks for this soap, but no one buys it.."..i concluded ad wise it seems to have created curiosity but if the product is inherently a failure, let alone kareena , even God cant save it!!!

  20. Another Lush fan here.:)

    (Rashmi - Buy their solid shampoos. They last AGES. I've been using Reincarnate for a few weeks now, and the block's almost exactly the size it started out as. And my hair's gorgeous.)

    I don't understand how they managed to take a topless woman, slather her in chocolate, and somehow get a result that just isn't sexy.

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