How long have your agency and the brand been working together? How did the relationship begin?
Lifebuoy and Lowe Lintas go back to the 1970s, to a time in India when the Agency was Lintas and the client was Hindustan Lever Limited, of course! 40-odd years later in 2020, we find ourselves in the service of a brand that is equally as relevant today, as it was in 1894. That’s when it was first founded in Victorian England by Lord Lever, to help people fight epidemics like cholera.
We also find ourselves in a unique position today, where key team members from the Agency and the Client have been working together for close to a decade. In fact some of us will soon be celebrating our 10 year anniversaries of having been on Lifebuoy, albeit in different roles.
How would you describe relationship between you and this client? What makes it special and how has the dynamic changed since you first began working together?
We would describe our relationship as being intensely personal and professional in equal measure. The teams across the brand and the agency are deeply passionate about Lifebuoy and its purpose – and really, everything starts there. We find new team members a little surprised at first, when they experience the level of transparency and closeness between the team, and then they of course to love it and become champions of this way of working together.
The dynamics of the working relationship have only gotten better as both teams have realised their strengths and have learnt to play to them while playing special attention to areas we need to get even better on.
The brand team is as enthusiastic about creative work as they are about the business. Similarly the agency team, including the creative teams, are as vigilant about metrics that drive brand equity, persuasion and growth.
What has been the most innovative/successful campaign created by your agency for the brand?
There have been quite a few along the way. If we were to pick one, it would have to be the platform we created a few years back, Lifebuoy ‘Help a Child Reach 5’. That will remain special forever. It’s the great work the brand was doing that inspired the platform and the idea – in fact this was the perfect example of a brand having done the heavy lifting in terms of what is today called ‘Brand Do’. The idea and the creative work followed from there.
Two key pieces of work that stand out as most innovative for us under Lifebuoy’s Help A Child Reach 5, are Chamki that was done in India and Sherry that was created for Kenya.
They would both be very good examples of the calibration the team has perfected, in promoting what could easily have become a bland health message. Instead, we conveyed Lifebuoy’s life-saving message of hygiene in a relatable and a very human way.
What has enabled you to stay in a partnership for so long? How do you plan on keeping this relationship going forward?
Above all, the brand and what it stands for. It’s the inspiration for the teams that work on it. We could call it Purpose. A word that is use often these days, but for us it means creating meaningful work every day. It’s what keeps the passion alive and it’s what builds deep respect for the responsibility that comes along with working on a brand like Lifebuoy.
Client and agency leaders alike, give disproportionate importance to culture within the team. A culture that is open, genuine and challenging in equal measure. The speed and quality of delivery is phenomenal and quite naturally, we’ve been able to attract people to the team that value these qualities and thrive on them.
Is there a special approach you use in the creative process to keep the work fresh?
Its quite simple actually. One of the things we find ourselves doing a lot of is ‘forgetting’. What does that mean creatively? We might have won an award for a piece of work or it may have delivered amazing metrics or moved the needle on business. We move forward and keep asking ourselves. What next? This keeps the team hungry and the work fresh!
What’s been biggest change in the industry for the brand? How did you adapt to meet this change?
A few years back there was a new buzzword in town. We all know it well. Digital. We made a commitment back then. To the brand, to our clients, to ourselves. We would learn all there was to learn and become adept at deploying comms across the new channels the world was consuming media through. Whether it was investing in training, or getting access to best practise or indeed hearing from the best in the business – both client and agency were steeped in learning and were dedicated to upskilling on new media. And the results followed. Positive performance on metrics, best in class cases, covering new ground in creativity. This is a journey we are on and it isn’t done yet.
Do you have a personal favorite piece of work you’ve done together?
There is one that we hold closest to our hearts. Gondappa.
The poignant story of a father, who goes to great lengths to thank the Almighty for allowing his son to see his 5th birthday. The story shone a spotlight on this critical milestone for a reason. It was a milestone that a staggering 2 million children wouldn’t see, because of death from infections like diarrhoea and pneumonia. The message of the story was one of prevention and how a lot of those deaths could be prevented by the simple act of washing hands with soap.