Lifebuoy "Swasthya Chetna": Unilever's Social Marketing Campaign

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Case Details:

Case Code : MKTG147
Case Length : 21
Pages Period : 2001-2006
Organization : Hindustan Lever Limited / Unilever
Pub Date : 2006
Teaching Note : Available
Countries : India
Industry : FMCG

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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"Swasthya Chetna is not about philanthropy. It's a marketing program with social benefits. We recognize that the health of our business is totally interconnected with the health of the communities we serve and if we are to grow sales of our brand, we have to increase the number of people who use soap."1

- Harpreet Singh Tibb, Senior Product Manager for Lifebuoy, Hindustan Lever Ltd, in 2005.

"Unilever believes that one of the best and most sustainable ways it can help to address global social and environmental concerns is through the very business of doing business in a socially aware and responsible manner."2

- Unilever, in its report “Global Challenges - Local Actions”, in 2005.

Lifebuoy Leaves its Stamp on India

In April 2006, Lifebuoy, a leading soap brand manufactured and marketed by Hindustan Lever Limited (HLL), the Indian arm of the fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) major, Unilever, became the first brand in India to be featured on a postal cover.

On the occasion of World Health day, on April 7, 2006, the Minister of State for Communications and IT, Government of India (GoI), Dr Shakeel Ahmed, released a special Lifebuoy “Swasthya Chetna Postal Cover” (Refer to Exhibit I for a picture of the Lifebuoy “Swasthya Chetna Postal Cover”).

The Department of Post under the Ministry of Communications issued this Special Postal Cover in recognition of the work done by HLL to increase awareness about health and hygiene, through its Lifebuoy 'Swasthya Chetna'('Health Awakening') program in rural India (Refer to Exhibit II for the Lifebuoy “Swasthya Chetna” logo).

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Speaking on the occasion, Chief Post Master General of the Maharashtra3 Circle, K Noorjehan, said, “I congratulate Lifebuoy and Hindustan Lever for initiating and assiduously implementing this socially beneficial movement.”4

Lifebuoy's “Swasthya Chetna” (LSC) was a five-year health and hygiene education program launched by HLL, in 2002, in eight states across India. The objective of this program was to educate around 200 million people in rural and urban areas about the importance of adopting good 'health and hygiene'practices.

The program spread awareness about germs and their adverse effects on health, and how proper 'health and hygiene'practices, such as bathing and washing hands with soap could prevent diseases like diarrhea. “Our number one aim is to challenge the misconception that 'visibly clean'is 'hygienically clean'.

Lifebuoy Leaves its Stamp on India - Next Page>>

1] “Unilever Fighting Disease Clean Handed,”, 2005.

2] “I Didn't Know Soap Could Save Lives. I Didn't Even Know About Germs,”, 2005.

3] Maharastra is a state in central India.

4] “HLL's Lifebuoy Becomes First Indian Brand to Have a Special Postal Cover,”, April 7, 2006.

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