Rebranding to Keep Pace in a Shifting Marketplace
The Ask: Rebrand Lava Soap to make the brand resilient to a diminishing core audience.
Lava Soap has always been a brand for hard workers, for men and women who work dirty jobs and spend their days covered in dirt, grease, and oil. But with technological advancements such as driverless cars, factory automation, and 3D printing in construction, the blue collar workforce that Lava relies on is shrinking. How can reposition and rebrand in such a way that the brand becomes more resilient to automation?
Research Methods: Personal interviews, social listening, secondary trade research.
Insight: There is currency in how dirty you get.
For Lava users, there’s no dignity in leaving the job site clean. Coming home dirty at the end of the day is a badge of honor, a sign that you gave it your all. That dirt shows the dedication you put into your work and serves as a currency for respect. When a Lava user finally washes his hands at the end of a long day, he takes pride in the dirtiness of the rinse water as it washes down the drain - and he challenges himself to make it dirtier tomorrow.
Lava soap isn't just for people who have dirty jobs; it's for everyone who takes pride in getting dirty - It's not just for mechanics, construction workers, and miners, but also for painters, sculptors, and chefs. Lava is for anyone who sees their dirty hands as a sign of progress in their craft.
New Brand Strategy: Grime Yields Greatness.
When your craft calls for getting your hands dirty, the last thing you want to do is hold back. Whether it’s grease, mud, paint, or even pottery clay - you should never have to hesitate when it comes to getting dirty. Willingness to persevere through hard and dirty work exhibits dedication to your craft. By enduring such discomfort, you progress your skills, and you rise from the grit and grime like a Phoenix rising from the ashes: better, stronger, more skilled than ever.
Creative Concept: Folklore
To celebrate the grime that yields greatness, Lava's new tone of voice takes inspiration from American tall tales - stories of working hard, getting dirty, and of characters pulling themselves up by their bootstraps to hone their craft. The new tone of voice is shown below in both new packaging and print advertising.
The long copy in the ads below tells the mythical stories of two men.
On the left is the tale of Eli Ellerby, a man who became the best fisherman on the Allegheny by adopting a unique method of fishing: Instead of baiting his hook with worms or lures, he baits his hook with the last fish he caught, and uses it to catch an even bigger fish. Eli repeats this method until he's caught the biggest fish in all of the Allegheny River.
On the right is the story of Jacob Waltz, the best coal miner in the Superstition Mountains. Jacob's incredible mining prowess outclasses all of the other miners in his company. His peers become so jealous of Jacob's mining skills that one day, when there's a cave in, they leave Jacob to die in the rubble of the coal mines - but Jacob never says die. He tunnels clear out of the other side of the mountain, and returns to his company and drops a shiny yellow rock on the table; he'd found gold in the hills.