Fairness products can’t show dark skinned people as unattractive or unhappy

MUMBAI: For all those who are tired of watching fairness cream advertisements and the way they portray people with dark skin, some relief is here. The self-regulatory body for the advertising industry of the country, Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) released a set of final guidelines for the advertising of skin lightening and fairness products.

Adding to the earlier draft, after seeking industry and public feedback, ASCI’s new guidelines will ensure that advertisements of skin whitening products do not depict people with dark skin as somehow inferior to fairer people.

The guidelines that are to be used while creating and assessing advertisements in this category include:

• Advertising should not communicate any discrimination as a result of skin colour. These ads should not reinforce negative social stereotyping on the basis of skin colour. Specifically, advertising should not directly or implicitly show people with darker skin as unattractive, unhappy, depressed or concerned. These ads should not portray people with darker skin as, at a disadvantage of any kind, or inferior, or unsuccessful in any aspect of life.

• In the pre-usage depiction of product, special care should be taken to ensure that the expression of the model/s in the real and graphical representation should not be negative in a way which is widely seen as unattractive, unhappy, depressed or concerned.

• Advertising should not associate darker or lighter colour skin with any particular socio-economic strata, caste, community, religion, profession or ethnicity.

• Advertising should not perpetuate gender based discrimination because of skin colour.

Commenting on the new guidelines, ASCI Chairman Partha Rakshit said, “Setting up these new guidelines for the skin lightening and fairness products will help advertisers comply with ASCI code’s Chapter III 1 b which states that advertisements should not deride any race, caste, colour, creed or nationality. Given how widespread the advertising for fairness and skin lightening products is and the concerns of different stakeholders in society, ASCI saw the need to set up specific guidelines for this product category.”

“As a self-regulating body, it is important to have the advertisers’ buy-in to the guidelines, and we are happy to note that both the industry and the consumer activists’ groups have welcomed these guidelines” he added.

Currently brands like ‘Fair & Lovely’, ‘Fair & Handsome’, ‘Clean and Clear Fairness Cream’, ‘Olay Natural White’, ‘Lakme Perfect Radiance’, ‘Pond’s White Beauty’, ‘Loreal Paris Pearl Perfect’ etc are advertising for skin lightening products.

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