MullenLowe and Unilever’s soap brand, Lifebuoy, have one of the longest standing relationships in the advertising world – over 117 years.
Length of Relationship
Unilever and MullenLowe have maintained a close-knit relationship for over 100 years. Unilever’s soap brand, Lifebuoy, was developed in 1894 by the FMCG giant’s predecessor – the Lever Brothers – and in 1899, the agency Lintas was created as a dedicated shop for the Brother’s soaps. Over the years, the agency underwent several transformations from Lintas to Lowe Lintas & Partners Worldwide before finally becoming MullenLowe, with several more iterations in-between. The one thing that remained constant was their relationship with Lifebuoy, and it has only grown stronger as Lifebuoy has pursued an expansive social platform to promote hygiene around the world.
MullenLowe leads the Lifebuoy team from their Singapore office, where the agency has a dedicated business director to lead and develop the brand. The agency team that works on Lifebuoy is a dedicated group; oftentimes having worked on the account across several markets, they truly understand the business and the client’s mission. Unilever’s mantra of “doing good by doing well” really resonates with how the Lifebuoy client approaches their marketing strategy. Their approach to selling the soap is to not ‘try too hard’ to sell it, but rather to mix the creative talents of their agency partners with social initiatives to spread awareness about hygiene across key markets.
Over their 117-year-long relationship, the agency has produced countless campaigns for Lifebuoy. Most notable in recent years, and perhaps most indicative of the way each side approaches the brand’s marketing strategy, is the “Help a Child Reach 5” campaign. The campaign is focused on the Indian market, but has been recognized by advertising awards on a global scale. This Unilever project seeks to help stop preventable but fatal diseases by encouraging thorough hand-washing regimes for new moms. The spots, co-created by MullenLowe Singapore, MullenLowe SSP3 Bogota, and Lowe Lintas Mumbai, follow several new moms around India as they are taught the simple routines that will save their infants’ lives.
Lifebuoy’s hand-washing programs depicted in these spots were rolled out to villages across 14 developing countries and scaled up in India to reach 45 million people. Over the course of the relationship, the client-agency partnership has won countless awards, including Cannes Lions, Effies, Tambuli Awards, D&AD Awards and several others.