Lifebuoy was introduced by Lever Brothers in 1895 in England. Originally a carbolic soap containing phenol, different varieties were later introduced without the medicinal carbolic smell, such as the coral-colored Lifebuoy during the late 1950s and Lifebuoy Minty Refresher in 1966. Lifebuoy was one of the most popular soaps in the United States from approximately 1923 to the mid-50’s, when perfumed soaps took over the market. It was the best selling medicated/health soap in North America until roughly 1951. It was well known for its red and yellow packaging, red color and octagonal shape, as well as its carbolic aroma. Sometime in 1951 or 1952, due to declining sales, Lever Bros. experimented with adding perfumes to the soap, and made the changes permanent in 1954. Earlier experiments in 1936, 1938, 1939 and 1940 also added an artificial scent to the soap, but generally lasted only one batch. Sales, however, continued to decline until 2006, when Lifebuoy was officially completely pulled from the American market. Lifebuoy’s popularity reached its peak between 1932 and 1948. After World War Two, when more materials were available and rationing was over, other “more appealing” soaps began to take hold of the market. Its popularity waned steadily through the 1950s. In the mid/late 1960’s it saw a popularity surge which would last through 1973. This was, in part, caused by the introduction and success of “Lifebuoy White” in the American market. After this decline, the Lifebuoy brand was seen less and less until it was nothing but a distant memory to many Americans by 1999. It was pulled from American shelves starting in 2003 and was completely phased out of the American market by 2006. Sometime in 2008 or 2009, Unilever released “Lifebuoy Classic,” a modern soap with retro packaging and a “medicated” scent intended to be similar to that of the 1950s product. It saw novelty success but was never embraced as a staple product in the American home. It was, and is, primarily manufactured as a gift intended to be reminiscent of “A Christmas Story” and is currently sold in the official Christmas Story website gift shop.
13.5″ x 7″