Case Study: How Lux raised awareness around breast cancer by launching its soap with a lump
This Breast Cancer Awareness month, Social Samosa takes you behind Lux’s ‘The Soap with a Lump’ campaign. In 2019, Wunderman Thompson came up with a product innovation, a Lux soap with a visible lump to alert women to the importance of breast examination.
Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer among women in India and accounts for over 25% of all cancers in women. However, early detection can increase the survival rate drastically.
More than a decade-old beauty soap from the house of Hindustan Unilever, Lux aims at making women not only feel beautiful but ensuring their good health and well-being, too.
Women in India have been using the Lux soap for nearly 100 years. This beauty soap has made its way to the most intimate of settings in every household: the shower. Armed with this knowledge, the brand knew it could help overcome a major problem that impacts one in every three women in India- breast cancer. For the very first time, Lux innovated to redesign its soap with a visible lump on it, to alert women to the cause, and encourage self-examination.
‘The Soap with a Lump’ from Lux is a powerful trigger to the importance of self-examination. In the privacy of their bathroom, when women are alone and uninhibited, the soap encourages women to check their breasts for any lumps or deformities.
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In a society where it is difficult to get women to openly talk about their bodies, Lux’s objective was to find a way around this hesitation and get more women to check themselves for signs of breast cancer. The brand knew that just words and warnings alone won’t do the job. So, it tried to do something more fundamental: it changed its product.
The brief was to think about how does one get more women to examine themselves without feeling uptight or self-conscious?
Lux soap for the very first time, was redesigned with a visible lump on it. ‘The Soap with a Lump’ was a purposeful product innovation that elevated both form and function. It acted as a trigger for women to examine their breasts when they are alone and uninhibited. The lump on the soap did not disintegrate with use until the very end, serving as a daily reminder for self.
In India, women face a lot of inhibitions when it comes to their bodies, particularly their breasts. A patriarchal society burdens them with a sense of guilt for drawing attention to their bodies. This makes it increasingly difficult to openly talk and spread awareness about breast health.
The soap was first launched in Mumbai, in collaboration with the Indian Cancer Society (ICS) and was distributed through ICS’s breast cancer camps. The campaign was extended across the country through the ICS’s various distribution channels such as awareness camps, workshops, facilitation centers, etc.
- 86,687 Social Media Expressions within 24 hours
- 9.4 million Global Reach within 24 hours
- 27% increase in inquiries about breast awareness and early detection
Commenting on the initiative, Samir Singh, Global Executive, Vice President, Skin Cleansing, Unilever, said, “This initiative is personal. Everything about it and the people involved in bringing it to life – across Unilever/Lux, Wunderman Thompson and the Indian cancer association is personal and done with the sole objective of increasing awareness about breast cancer. The moment of the shower is a quiet, private and reflective moment. A moment where we want to encourage women to think about beauty holistically and what that entails not just for their appearance but also for their health – by helping them do a quick self-examination to check for early signs of breast cancer, a disease whose cure is contingent on early detection. That’s the power of a humble bar of soap, that’s the power of creative thinking integrated into a business with purpose. We feel very strongly about this innovation and it’s potential to have a lasting impact!”
Tista Sen, Regional Creative Director, Wunderman Thompson, said, “A human truth is what drives a simple idea, and this is amply evident in the Soap with a Lump. Women are alone in the shower when they are bathing, and this is an ideal moment to alert her to check her breasts for any abnormality. Breast cancer when detected early can help save a life. And the soap you use to bathe can help. Beauty is not one dimensional but embraces everything that encourages a woman to take charge of her life and her body. And it is this belief that encourages Lux to start a conversation that originates in the shower but eventually becomes a rallying cry for women across the world.”