New Delhi: One woman is diagnosed with breast cancer every four minutes in India according to Cancer India Statistics report. Lux, the beauty soap brand owned by Hindustan Unilever (HUL), has redesigned its iconic soap to alert women about early signs of breast cancer which commonly includes a lump.
The soap, in question, also has a massive and visible lump on it. ‘The Soap with a Lump’ is a product innovation that encourages women to examine their breasts for any abnormality, while in the shower. While the distinctive bar of soap dissolves over time but the lump stays. Unilever and its advertising agency Wunderman Thompson collaborated with technical experts, designers, soap manufactures and a leading cancer oncologist to design the first-ever soap that uses touch to help alert women, to be on the lookout for signs of anything irregular.
“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 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, the power of creative thinking integrated into a business with purpose," according to Samir Singh, executive vice-president, global skin cleansing, Unilever.
This initiative was presented at the breast cancer screening camp conducted by the Indian Cancer Society (ICS) at Vasai, Maharashtra. Women of different age groups were given the soap along with a leaflet, educating them on the importance of breast awareness.
“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," said Tista Sen, regional creative director, Wunderman Thompson, South Asia.
The company is in talks with the Indian Cancer Society and plans to distribute the soap through awareness camps across cities, in colleges, corporate offices and cancer hospitals. However, these soaps will not be retailed across the country.
Vishal Mittal, group creative director at advertising agency Dentsu One, thinks that the initiative seems like a genuine step towards creating awareness towards the deadly disease. “Though personally I don't think it's a great idea, say in comparison to Sehat ka Batua campaign, which is rooted in Indian culture and is targeted only at women, whereas soaps are used by the whole family in our country," he said.
Sehat ka Batua (The Health Purse) was a CSR campaign by Mahindra & Mahindra, created special purses with self-examination instructions, which helped rural women to notice early signs of breast cancer.
According to Mittal, since the number of breast cancer cases are on the rise in the country, any initiative towards its prevention is welcome. “If it can work as a reminder for breast check-up, it's fantastic. Any communication to get women self-examine or get a preventive check-up done is most welcome and much needed."