Safeguard is one of the household brands of P & G. As one of the world’s leading personal cleaning care brands, Safeguard has been leading children to develop good hygiene habits. Its products in China range from body wash, soap, hand soap and energetic sports series.
With a global spread, Safeguard has successfully reached over 30 million children with hygiene knowledge and the importance of hand washing. And the numbers keep growing. Each year, Safeguard sets out with a health mission to reach more countries and help more families to reduce the incidence of preventable diseases such as diarrhea, influenza and pneumonia.
In 1992, Safeguard entered the Chinese market, while Lux, which had entered the market in 1986, already had a large scale market on the Chinese soap. Safeguard came in later and pulled Lux off the throne in just a few years. Its market share ranked first accounted for 41.95% according to 2001 data, 14 percentage points higher than Lux which was in second place. With its high quality and accurate market positioning, Safeguard has achieved great success and become the dominant brand in China’s personal cleaning products market.
Among the many factors that have contributed to the success of Safeguard in China, one of the most crucial is that it found a novel and accurate concept of “germ removal”. When Chinese people first started to wash their hands with soap, Safeguard began its “brainwashing” campaign to get Chinese people to wash their hands really clean for over 20 years.
“The visible stains have been washed away, but have you washed away the invisible germs?” In Safeguard’s marketing, the concept of “germ removal” is the core. It was said in the slogan as “effective germ removal to protect the whole family”. The advertisement was telling people that there are many germs in life through scenes such as kicking a soccer ball, cramming into a bus, carrying gas, etc.. After that, you will see the “Scare-you” germs under a magnifying glass. Then, Safeguard will use experiments to prove that its soap can wash the germs off your hands.
At the same time, Safeguard has also been largely promoting personal hygiene education in China. It worked closely with the National Health Commission of the People’s Republic of China, Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China, Red Cross Society of China, China Children and Teenagers’ Fund and other authoritative organizations to organize various hygiene education activities. It is committed to building a “Great Wall of Health” for China. The success of Safeguard in China is inextricably linked to its effective marketing planning, communication with target audiences and its product extension strategy.
Safeguard has been in China for more than 20 years and has become the preferred brand of personal care products for Chinese families. Its soap accounts for the first market share of soap in China and the body wash sales are at the top of the Chinese body wash market.
It is worth mentioning that Safeguard, which has been using “germ removal” as its successful marketing in the Chinese market, was fined $30,900,000 by its parent company P&G for deceiving and misleading consumers in August 2021.
The administrative penalty order shows that the product “SafeguardTM Lemon Fresh Soap” of P&G is marked in larger font on the front of the outer packaging with “removes 99% of bacteria#” (“99%” in red) and in smaller font on the side of the outer packaging with “washes away bacteria”. Its front is in the difference in color, font size, and location of the label to prominently label the “removes 99% of bacteria” without sufficient scientific evidence to draw consumers’ attention.
State Administration for Market Regulation found that the above label of the Safeguard product on the product’s packaging was a misleading commercial advertisement of the product’s functions, which was deceptive and misleading to consumers. The above-mentioned publicity put Safeguard in an advantageous position when selling “Safeguard TM Lemon Fresh Soap” and competing with similar products to the detriment of the legitimate rights and interests of other peer operators.