Opinion: What do Kellogg's Cornflakes and Lifebuoy Soap have in common?

Karen Madej

Why are breakfast and personal hygiene so important to North Americans?

Soap is civilization. Unilever company slogan

Like breakfast being the most important meal of the day, according to Mr. W. K. Kellogg, imagine how many personal hygiene product companies want Americans to keep washing daily. The owner of Kellogg’s cornflakes wanted to sell his product. The marketing campaign and famous quote made people’s mornings easier based on a ready-to-eat meal.

As it turns out, the line “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” was nothing more than a marketing slogan coined in the 19th century by James Caleb Jackson and John Harvey Kellogg, to sell their newly invented breakfast cereal. Daily Delish

An Australian study has debunked the claim. If eating breakfast doesn’t suit you, you don’t have to eat it just because of a marketing slogan. Populations of 180 countries fell for everything advertisers came up with that made their lives easier and justified their need to buy.

Filth and bacteria certainly have a fascinating past: from the cleanliness is next to the godliness of 17th‑century Delft, to the triumphant introduction of carbolic acid as a surgical antiseptic in 1860s Glasgow. Carbolic soap quickly became the product of choice for both the weekly bath, hair washing, and household disinfecting.

You might remember the days when shampoo bottle contents got used up twice as fast when you massaged the product in, rinsed, and repeated daily.

According to trichologist Sally-Ann Tarver, interviewed by The Naked Scientists, “this ‘wash, rinse, repeat isn’t just marketing hocus-pocus, it’s also not always necessary.” Hair doesn’t get that dirty in a day.

According to Wikipedia: In 1895, William Lever, 1st Viscount Leverhulme, introduced the Lifebuoy brand of carbolic soap to the market. Formerly of no importance, soap became a commodity. Advertised to educated middle and upper classes and even sold to royals, soap created a divide between those who could afford a bath with germ-killing (and the good bacteria) soap and those who couldn’t.

Before WW2, most American bathrooms held a product for every possible personal hygiene problem. Thanks to Lifebuoy magazine and radio advertising, Americans found themselves intimidated by the risk of smelly body odor. Lever Brothers focused on fear of failure at work and in relationships to promote their bathe daily and use a bar of Lifebuoy red soap to wash away the stink campaign!

Currently the “third most consumed brand in the world”, Lifebuoy is growing globally thanks to its purpose-led strategy, says brand boss Kartik Chandrasekhar, who sees marketing as far more than a “war game”. Marketing Week

The FDA banned the famous red soap bar in the US because it was too harsh on the skin. However, Unilever launched products in the UK in 2020 without carbolic acid. The pandemic ensured the antibacterial products sold based on fear.

The success of both Kellogg’s and Lifebuoy soap happened because of excellent marketing and advertising. Although one was time-saving for humans, the other did more harm than good!

We can decide how often we shower and what products to use. There are so many natural products there’s little need to use soap and shampoo that don’t work well for our skin.

With so many working from home, we can even give up the daily bath or shower. No worries about upsetting other office workers or customers. There’s no smell-o-vision on Zoom!

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Passionate about climate change and living a debt-free, sustainable life. Determined to learn how to and build an adobe house or Earthship. The goal is to live off-grid and off the land. Energy for heat and to power electrical devices and appliances will use solar, wind, and hydro-powered electricity. No trees will die to make my home.


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