Sunlight Soap

We have seen our grandmothers use it for washing dishes in the kitchen, and our mothers and our elder sisters. What is it? Without a doubt, it is Sunlight soap. Sunlight soap has been a part and parcel of our daily routine for decades. After all, it’s etched in our minds as a generic detergent soap. Going back in time, the success of Sunlight soap was based on product and packaging innovation. In short, a series of marketing initiatives ensured that brand Sunlight soap remained a template for a successful household brand. Certainly, it is a brand that understands Sri Lankan values and heritage for over a century and remained the undisputed brand leader in Sri Lanka.

History of Sunlight soap

Lever brothers introduced Sunlight soap in 1884. It was to be the world’s first branded, packaged laundry soap. In essence, Sunlight soap was designed for washing clothes and general household use. The soap formula was invented by a Bolton chemist named William Hough Watson, who also became an early business partner. Watson’s process created a new soap, using glycerin and vegetable oils such as palm oil rather than tallow (animal fats). Ultimately, William Lever and his brother James Darcy Lever invested in Watson’s soap invention and its initial success came from offering bars of cut, wrapped, and branded soap in his father’s grocery shop. In fact, this was an early labour-saving device for the housewife as before this, commercially made soap was bought in long bars.

By the end of the year, 1887, Lever & Co (the then name of the company) was making 450 tons of Sunlight soap a week.  Henceforth, due to the success of the product, William Lever buys the site on which he’ll build Port Sunlight. What is Port Sunlight? It was a large factory on the banks of the Mersey opposite Liverpool, with a purpose-built village for its workers providing a high standard of housing, amenities and leisure facilities. Meanwhile, by the mid-1890s, in the UK, Lever Brothers were selling nearly 40,000 tons of Sunlight soap a year and start expanding into Europe, America and the British colonies with factories, export businesses and plantations.

Old Sunlight packaging

Sunlight in Sri Lanka

Sunlight is still used in some markets as a brand by Unilever (the successor of Lever Brothers). As a matter of fact, in Sri Lanka, Sunlight laundry soap has a market share of more than 75% and won the “brand of the year” award in 2004. Furthermore, Sunlight soap won the FMCG brand of the year in 2008.

Today, consumers know what they want (through easy access to media) so a brand must exude empathy. Likewise, building affinity through an emotional connection with consumers that goes beyond a transactional relationship is critical to success. Unilever Sri Lanka’s Sunlight – has done just that. And this is a true reflection of Sri Lankan culture. Uniquely, Sunlight has come a long way since its introduction as a versatile soap bar for both personal use and laundry. As a matter of fact, it was the first product imported by Unilever Sri Lanka in the early 1900s. As a result, Sunlight soap soon became a household name because of its multipurpose nature with great washing ability, as well as mildness towards human skin. It was a combination no other soap bar could offer until then. In 1938 the sale of Sunlight soap reached 2000 tonnes. By 1962 seventy million cakes of Sunlight soap were sold every year.


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Sunlight’s local values

Through foresight and given changing personal care trends, the brand strategy was skilfully changed from its dual purpose use to single-use. Today, Sunlight offers the consumer a range of laundry soaps. In addition, it enjoys a leading market share whilst remaining the clear leader in Sri Lanka’s laundry segment. Not to mention, Sunlight’s ability to represent the values of Sri Lankan culture is a testament to Unilever Sri Lanka’s brand management system. Furthermore, the brand has remained true to the local values and beliefs that it stood for at its inception. Celebrating ‘Rural Life’ and then ‘Brightening up the Nation,’ Sunlight has to date highlighted the beauty of Sri Lankans and their lives.

How to buy Sunlight online?

Ok enough with the history lesson. Want to know how Sunlight soap can be purchased? Certainly, why not! Did you know that Sunlight can be ordered online through www.kapruka.com?  By all means, it is so easy to order online through Kapruka. In other words, even a kid could do it without much fuss. It is that simple. Do you know that Kapruka delivers to any address in Sri Lanka quickly? In general, the delivery time and the delivery fee depends on the distance. For example, the delivery fee of Kapruka starts at Rs 200. Notably, with Kapruka you could order without any payment. In particular, this is called the cash on delivery feature where you do not need to pay in advance before delivery. Correspondingly, as for payment options, Kapruka accepts Visa, MasterCard, American Express, PayPal, debit cards.

The famous Sunlight yellow wrapper

Over its 130 plus year history Sunlight soap has gone beyond the functional space of giving homes and communities a clean fresh wash. In like manner, the brand has grown to become a household name and an icon so to speak. Not to mention, Sunlight soap has reached out and touched communities and people of diverse ages, races and cultures. After all, the trust and confidence of its consumers have played a key role in the success of the brand. In reality, for the Sri Lankan consumer, Sunlight soap is much more than laundry soap and is inextricably linked to their life in many ways.