Restart India – Lifebuoy & Royal Challengers Bangalore

In late October/early November 2020 as India began re-opening after its first Covid-19 national lockdown and the delayed IPL 2020 had finally begun, Unilever soap brand Lifebuoy leveraged its official partnership with the Royal Challengers Bangalore via a TV and online campaign by three of RCB’s star players (Kohli, de Villiers and Chahal) which delivered a message to billion-plus Indians to restart the nation with caution and with the right habits like wearing a mask, ensuring social distancing and maintaining proper hand hygiene at all times.


Territory: India


Agency: Mullen Lintas Mumbai





As India was emerging from its first pandemic enforced national lockdown in late October/early November 2020, the fact that the world’s biggest cricket tournament – the IPL 2020 – had just started was seen by many as a symbol of India’s re-start. It was a totemic part of a national sense of optimism across much of the country, albeit one accompanied by a cautionary tone.


India has long been cricket mad and this passion for game has increased further during the last decade when the India Premier League (IPL) has evolved into the game’s greatest and richest annual tournament and become India’s equivalent of the Super Bowl in so much as it has become an ecosystem in itself which boosts the economy and serves as a platform for numerous businesses – both official sponsors and ambushers.


Lifebuoy identified the end of lockdown and the start of the IPL as an ideal moment to deliver a positive and hopeful message linked to using its products and thus driving good hygiene behaviour.


Thus Lifebuoy tasked agency Lowe Lintas India/Mullen Lintas Mumbai to market around the IPL 2020 by leveraging its official hygiene partner status with the Royal Challengers Bangalore through a campaign that reflected the national mood and which demonstrated how Lifebuoy’s products could help keep people protected and safe as the country opened up again and drive product sales.





The agency’s response was to create a campaign called ‘India shuru ho raha hai! Lifebuoy x RCB’ spearheaded by hero film which drew parallels between the cricket kicking off and daily life restarting.


The film, which was launched on 2 November, featured an audio track written with cricket-related terms and language which explained a series of related, parallel moments and partnerships.


Each scene showcased what restarting India meant and how Lifebuoy could protect people in every situation. Thus the commercial features a safe partnership formed between a bus conductor and a passenger, an office worker and a cab driver, two strangers in a restaurant watching cricket and an ice-breaking moment between people coming back home after a long time away.


The creative features a range of branded cleaning products from hand sanitizing gel, ant-bacterial spray, hand wipes, tissues and soap.


The spot closed with a tri-lingual message from the national Indian cricket team captain Virat Kohli (who is also the skipper of the Royal Challengers Bangalore) and team members AB de Villiers and Indian cricketer Yuzvendra Chahal which urged viewers to take precautions, wear masks, maintain social distancing and proper hand hygiene and thus help avoid India having to shut down and stop again.


As the campaign stated: “After a long wait India has finally reopened. And we must all ensure it stays that way. In fact, winning over Covid-19 needs a partnership. Just like cricket, it’s now a team game. When one person takes care of himself or herself, one also takes care of one’s family members, society, workplace and every person he or she interacts with. All of India has to play like a team and look out for each other to ensure Coronavirus doesn’t stop our beloved country again. So let’s keep washing and sanitizing our hands. And encourage all around us to do the same.”



The team who worked on the campaign included Lowe Lintas India Chief Creative Officer Sagar Kapoor, Regional Creative Officer Sarvesh Raikar, Unit Creative Director Joybrato Dutta, Executive Vice President Sharmine Panthanky, Associate Vice President Pratiik Pathare and Brand Services Manager Florence Bhang. with MullenLowe Singapore Global Business Director Vinay Vinayak.





Since its multi-platform launch in late October/early November 2020, the hero film has generated 36m views of the brand’s YouTube channel and a further 1,011,974 views on its Instagram feed.




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