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Fogg maker takes on fairness creams with Pretty24

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MUMBAI: Taking a stab at fairness creams’ perennial message of fair skin being the benchmark of beauty and success, Fogg deodorant maker Vini Cosmetics (Vini) is touting the idea that every shade of skin is equally beautiful. The company has been plugging the primetime of mainline television channels for the past fortnight or so with the TVC of its latest product Pretty24.

Pretty24 is taking on the might of the entire fairness (read: skin lightening) cream category–which has grown to more than$600 million a year and is dominated by Hindustan Unilever’s (HUL) Fair & Lovely, Emami’s Naturally Fair, Cavincare’s Fairever Fairness , among others. Its positioning: a facial cream which rejuvenates, beautifies, and protects without any claim of lightening the skin shade.

The estimated Rs 700 crore turnover Vini Cosmetics is promoted by one of the breakaway brothers, Darshan Patel, of Paras Pharmaceuticals (the maker of Moov, Itchguard and Krack). And he’s got the funding of two large private equity firms—Bay Capital (9 percent) and Sequoia Capital (12 percent).

Speaking to a financial publication, Patel said: “Personal care brands have all along made consumers believe that one achieves fairness through application of skin creams. But one can never change one’s skin tone. One may minimise or repair the damage caused by aging and pollution, but never change the tone. Pretty24 would liberate Indian women from the discrimination based on skin tone."

Sources indicate that he has kept aside an advertising budget of around Rs 4 crore for the Pretty24 launch campaign.

The TVC features five dusky determined pretty lasses marching into a beauty products showroom/salon with a mission.

One of them knocks over standi-tubes of fairness creams accusingly stating that first women were taught that only if you are fair, you are beautiful.

Then another of them speaks to the camera bitterly stating that hope was created amongst the dark skinned that fairness is possible.

The third young girl then voices her anguish that every moment they made us feel that only fair folks are considered a success.

The fourth young lady then says what many an Indian girls may be feeling: “They never told us the truth. That human skin can never be lightened.”

Finally, all of them say "enough of this fairness" and toss the tubes away. And up comes the voice over: Pretty24 for all skin colours. And the girls come back and state: "Pretty24. Change your thoughts, not your skin colour.”

The Pretty24 TVC is nothing to write home about in terms of its production or fancy VFX or creative values. It follows Patel’s belief that ads need not entertain, rather they should inform. Speaking to Forbes a year and a half ago he had stated: “Most advertising is 90 percent entertainment and 10 percent knowledge; I have always done the opposite with my advertising.”

His Fogg TVC, too, had demonstrated very openly that the deo had less gas than other long-selling competitors in the market. It featured two glasses; in one of them Fogg is sprayed and in the other a common deo. While the glass with Fogg visibly filled up with each spray, the other glass barely did, indicating the vapour that dissipated.

That TVC worked well for it and it became the number one deo brand, leaving behind HUL's Axe.

Patel is a savvy marketer. Earlier his company had launched a face cream called Glam-Up, which was promoted as a product to be used on special occasions, which would transform a woman into a glamorous beauty. One of the TVCs had shown a modern young woman, waking up in a golden party dress at home and slowly rising and saying that she is not the fairness type, she is rather the glam type and she uses Glam-Up.

Additionally, he had also launched a face powder called White Tone which was sold on the benefits of giving users an even facial tone, an oil free look and a fair complexion. Those initiatives left a relatively superficial impression on the target audience.

Will he succeed in disrupting the fairness cream category this time with Pretty24? It’s going to be a pretty interesting slugfest.

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