Lux's ‘Filmi sitaaro ka manpasand saabun' is still relevant: HUL's Ankush Wadehra

Beauty brand Lux has marked 100 years in the industry. The brand has been endorsed by some of the most iconic names in Bollywood, including Meena Kumari and now, Suhana Khan. Ankush Wadehra, Vice President, Skin Cleansing India HUL, talks to us about Lux, the brand, its history and what is to come.

By  Shibani GharatMay 15, 2024 3:00 PM
Lux's ‘Filmi sitaaro ka manpasand saabun' is still relevant: HUL's Ankush Wadehra
So how do you speak to her today? “Lux as a brand has penetrated across the demographics of society,” says Wadehra. “Whether you go to the urban markets, to the rural or to rich consumers, to slightly middle class consumers. Lux is everywhere. And that means that our marketing models and our advertising models also need to keep pace with that,” Ankush Wadehra, Vice President - Skin Cleansing India HUL. (Image source: Behance)

If ever there was a brand synonymous with Bollywood beauty, that would definitely be Lux! What Leela Chitnis started was a trend that was followed by almost all the big Indian actresses – some of the most iconic names in Bollywood - including Meena Kumari, Madhubala, Madhuri Dixit, Kareena Kapoor, Anushka Sharma and Alia Bhatt.

Now the brand has roped in Suhana Khan for their body care. Back in the early days film stars believed that featuring in the Lux ad was the sign that they had arrived. Photographer Gautam Rajadhyaksha once said being in a Lux ad was like the company acknowledging that you had become a star. Back in those days, the only exposure a film star got apart from the big screen was seeing their faces across magazines and hoardings. But is the iconic line ‘Filmi sitaaro ka manpasand saabun' still relevant today?

“I would say it's still as relevant as it was in the past,” says Ankush Wadehra, Vice President - Skin Cleansing India HUL. “And I think today, when we get into these associations with our celebrities as well, the kind of connect and the kind of mutual appreciation for both still is as much as many years ago.”

But then he feels that the brand has also evolved significantly, keeping pace with the changing requirements and needs of the consumers. “Even our consumers have evolved long back. Earlier the Indian woman, when she indulges in a beauty ritual or in a beauty regime, it was known as (a move) to impress the opposite sex. That has also changed dramatically. Today, this is an act of self-love. She does it for herself. She feeds on this beauty ritual, to this regime, and it actually builds her confidence. So the way in which you communicate with the consumer should also evolve with that.”

“Today's woman wants to step out, wants to express herself. She has dreams of her own and she really wants to be out in the world. But at the same time, she has this fear of being judged. There are these sexist judgements that still exist in our society, and she wants to be ready to tackle them, and hence this entire occasion or ritual of getting ready, of the beauty regime that we are talking about gives us the confidence, makes her ready to step out and take on the world.”

So how do you speak to her today? “Lux as a brand has penetrated across the demographics of society,” says Wadehra. “Whether you go to the urban markets, to the rural or to rich consumers, to slightly middle class consumers. Lux is everywhere. And that means that our marketing models and our advertising models also need to keep pace with that.”

“So if I go into rural (market), you will see something like a wall painting that we deploy, because there are still parts of countries wherein there is no media reach, there is no electricity still in a few villages. So you will see digital wall paintings, which will bring alive the brand proposition in a remote village. Similarly, when we talk about our body washes, which we sell far more for younger Gen Z kind of audiences, a lot of our deployment is only on digital. We run lots of advertising there. We partner with influencers. There is lots of on platform marketing that happens on e-commerce platforms.

Given the iconic status of Lux ads over the past many years, it is hard to pick one, but Wadhera still has a clear favourite. “The Kareena Kapoor ad is my favourite considering purely the kind of diva that she has been, she has been a true superstar. And the kind of appeal she has had with the audience. And again, she cuts through across (consumer segments). Lux, as I mentioned, is a brand which has penetrated everywhere. Similar is the stardom and appeal of Kareena.”

But another personal favourite he has had is something that he has worked on. “One real favourite of mine is the campaign we did with Anushka and Virat. It was an entire series around “Chand Sa Roshan Chehra” That song is so rooted in the pop culture of this country. It cuts across generations and has been a timeless classic.

And I think what this campaign does is beautifully brings three passions of India together - Bollywood, cricket and music. And when you cast a real life couple with these three passion points together, the chemistry is amazing and the kind of consumer love that we have seen on that campaign, the engagement and the enjoyment, that's what great advertising is all about.

First Published on May 15, 2024 8:02 AM

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