The Influential Hygiene Mêlée – Safeguard, Dettol or Lifebouy?!

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Ever since the concept of “Healthy living” came into our lives through our very own media, the “Parents” played a vital role to protect their lil ones against germs and bacterial monsters, not by denying their plea to play into the health hazard muddy water or by eyeing them to wear antibacterial gloves before they touch anything…thanks to our consumer goods manufacturers, they skipped these ironic parts and found their life savers…Antibacterial Soaps (clever eh?!).


dettol20soapDettol, by the renowned manufacturer Reckitt Benckiser, is the name of a commercial liquid antiseptic belonging to a product line of household products. Its sole purpose is to defend/protect the family from bacteria and all kinds of harmful microscopic organisms.


According to a source: “Dettol can also be used to treat acne in small quantities. Its typical application is a remedy for boils (skin abscess) and mild forms of musculoskeletal tenderness/pain.” Later it was announced that this liquid can also be used for mopping of floors (so that our very clean floors could be bacteria free), shaving, bathing and washing of clothes (appealing =P).


After the tremendous success of Dettol’s liquid antiseptic (thanks to our Moms who applied this pain-in-the- head, day and night at our sore cuts to stop it from getting infected), the company planned to launch its antibacterial soap (which was, for obvious reasons, less harsh on our soft beautiful skin). The soap was launched after the company’s core competitors were clever enough to launch their own antibacterial soap. Though the Dettol soap couldn’t be much like its liquid brother, the company somehow managed to get their revenues out of their newly launched product.


commander-safeguardProctor and Gamble couldn’t hold back with their ultimate hygiene theory and launched their Safeguard – an antibacterial soap registered with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Safeguard gained immense population among the masses for its unique shape, smell and color. According to a source:
“Safeguard is the No. 1 antibacterial soap worldwide and is designed to provide excellent germ protection for the whole family.”


Safeguard got its sole popularity among the younger sector of out society, i.e. the kids. When Commander Safeguard got onboard the Anti-Germ ship, it enabled the company to have its hand painted with pure gold. A source told me:
Post Amazers, the company that developed some of Pakistan’s first animation TVCs, have set a trend for others to follow. Working with P&G and IAL, the company successfully established the trend of an animation for television that would become a tremendous driving force in promoting the Safeguard brand. The complete execution of the Commander Safeguard series was an ice-breaker for the local market. The production capacity building, development of skills and aligning of resources was an innovative concept.


Talking about the power of advertising, this says it all. The very bravery of Commander Safeguard and his filthy enemy Dirto (derived from the work Dirt, I guess) and his beloved wife Kachra Rani (the queen of garbage) did not only enable the kids to perceive hygiene at an entirely different concept but also got them glued to the very TVC’s of their favourite animated national hero. The campaign didn’t end on the very screens of our Tellys (Televisions) but also had a strong impact on the academic side of schools and kids by conducting seminars and activities, keeping hygiene as their soul purpose.


lifebuoyOnce Safeguard was all we could think about when it came to personal hygiene, Unilever couldn’t stand and look at the show just like that. Their antibacterial soap, Lifebuoy, didn’t not seem to do well in the market, but when they saw this new image of grasping the young ones, they launched their very own creative campaign focusing on children (kids to be more precise) to be the boss of all. According to a source:


“How we communicate hygiene issues to consumers is playing a vital role in the success of our brands,” says Walter Gibson, bioscience group leader, R&D, HPC. “There’s a lot we can learn from the social and psychological sciences. But we also need to look carefully at the types of products we use and the delivery mechanisms,” he says. “For example, a gel might be more appropriate than a bar of soap in regions where there is little running water.”

HPC marketing president Simon Clift says: “With our strong heritage in hygiene and branding combined with our deep consumer insights, we are in a unique position to bring ‘vitality’ to life in a powerful way.”


01With the tag lines likes “Koi Darr nahi” (no fear) and “Ignite the hero within”, the company focused on the inner pride of a child to stand up against health hazards and fight against the deadly germs through Lifebuoy. The powerful TVC’s managed to grab the attention they needed and proved to be a good competitor for Commander Safeguard in the form of Germ Busters.


The idea nowadays, for these brands is to focus on their target market which are the young youth of Pakistan. Their keenness towards getting a germ free living and their motivation towards fighting the despicable germs and bacteria. This, proves the very effect of our strong creative skills catered in the advertising sector which, for me, is highly commendable. The point here is not for choosing who is better, the point here being is the idea behind the attaining of goals…the idea of creating awareness among our younger generation.

I was born in raised in Karachi and hold a Bachelors degree in Business Administration. Currently I am a teacher by profession and love it as it has given me a continuous learning drill so far. I am a keen observer and scrutinize everything from every possible angle. My interests reflects my personality, majorly related to Art. I have been really fond of Advertisement and the different kinds of marketing strategies that the companies use to put forward their products. Hope that you have a nice time reading my posts and let me know if they were informative enough or not. Feel free to criticize as well...=D Have a nice day!!!

  • Zaira Rahman

    After reading your article I looked for some info if antibacterial soaps and gels really do kill germs?

    So I found the following 🙂

    Antibacterial Hand Cleaning
    They will kill germs, but only for a short time period, about an hour, depending on what you are doing with your hands.

    Here are more notes:

    Frequent hand washing is the BEST way to NOT get colds and the flu. BUT do it right: HOT water, and SOAP, and do it for at least as long as it takes you to SING the national anthem, from start to finish. The point here is this: most people don’t wash LONG enough, and don’t use soap, every time.

    Some researchers now say that antibacterial soaps and gels may cause more harm than good. They remove beneficial bacteria on your skin, and may cause bacteria to mutate. Regular old soap is best. As stated above, the best line of defense against all kinds of illness is hand washing. It doesn’t have to be hot water – any temp will be effective. Try singing happy birthday twice while washing your hands.

    We have good bacteria on our skin and when we use these antibacterial products they not only strip that good bacteria, but also strip the oils in the skin causing chapped and sometimes lesions on the skin which in turn will do you more harm because the lesions are open and will pick up bacteria. Soap and water is all you need.