MAM

Will fairness brands bid adieu?

India's fairness cream market is dominated by HUL, P&G, Garnier, L'Oreal.

https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/smartcrop_800x800/public/images/tv-images/2020/06/26/Garnier-fairness_cream.jpg?itok=LKOSdoWs

NEW DELHI: After beauty standards and the flawed idea of "fair is beautiful" caught the limelight amid the #BlackLivesMatter protests in the US, brands have taken a much-needed step across countries. Just yesterday, Hindustan Unilever (HUL) announced that it will be dropping the word 'fair' from its infamous skin whitening product Fair & Lovely and soon announce a new name.

Supporting the #BlackLivesMatter cause, American multinational giant Johnson & Johnson also decided to stop selling its skin lightening products range globally. Clear & Clear will no longer be sold in India and Neutrogena will not be available in the Asian and Middle Eastern markets.

The fairness cream market in India is dominated by HUL, P&G, Garnier, L’Oreal and many others. Brands over the years have played on and perpetuated the idea that fair skin is everything and have been criticised for provoking thoughts which encourage discrimination on the basis of colour.

Fair & Lovely, endorsed by actress Yami Gautam, is considered to be one of HUL's best-selling products, unhampered by criticism. 

According to a recently published report, "India Fairness Cream & Bleach Market Overview, 2018-2023", the women's fairness cream category is anticipated to achieve market revenues of more than Rs 5000 crore by the year 2023.

While Johnson&Johnson recently called it quits from the fairness cream market, could we see other brands, especially Indian ones, taking the same route or revise their way of communicating to viewers?

Dentsu Impact VP planning Krittika Chakraborty shares, “The Indian fairness cream market is dominated by HUL whose Fair & Lovely has an 80 per cent share. It is, of course, very much possible that brands like Fair & Lovely may stop advertising during this time as this debate boils over in the international arena. Ad spends might be affected in the short to medium term in India but it is doubtful whether it would directly impact demand for these products.”

Commwiser Consultants co-founder Aman Abbas says that the fetish for fair skin in India is deep-rooted and centuries old. Therefore, it will take many decades of active campaigns and a lot of education for this to start fading off. 

There has been a heated debate against such advertisements, as a result, the ministry of health and family welfare finalised drugs and magic remedies (objectionable advertisements) (amendment) Bill, 2020 under which the proposed draft amendment bans advertisements of products that promote fairness creams, enhance sexual performance, cure premature aging and greying of hair, improvement in height of children or adults, among others. The violators will face a penalty up to Rs 50 lakh and can be served prison time for five years.

"Interestingly, the laws are more focused on the ‘misleading claims’, which means whether the creams are actually making one fair or not and whether the ingredients are safe. There is little focus on the very concept of it," Abbas points out.

He also adds, “Global brands like J&J have taken the right step and it must be lauded. But there may be many local players who would view J&J’s exit as an opportunity and move in to fill the gap."

Over the years brands have diversified their business to the male fairness segment as well with leading actors as brand ambassadors including Shah Rukh Khan, Hrithik Roshan, Varun Dhawan and Kartik Aaryan. Indian cricket team captain Virat Kohli was also a former brand ambassador but from 2017, he has refused to endorse fairness brands and others that he doesn't personally use.

Chakraborty says that even if the marketing angle changes, the promise of the product stays the same and that needs to be addressed.

“An answer might lie in ranges and narratives that talk about healthy skin with an equal celebration of all skin tones and face types, not just the ones that fit our prevailing notions of beauty,” she says.

Echoing the same perspective Abbas shares, “The reality is that the society would still ‘need’ fairness creams for the age-old ‘approval’ to look beautiful. So, the products will exist and sold in the market. The brands have an image to keep, appear sensitive to the environment and say the right things. In the days of social media activism that impact the brand image and even sales directly, brands may ‘respond’ to the environment and change the communication to something subtle.”

Chakraborty strongly opines that such products should not exist as they reinforce a dangerous and regressive stereotype.While it's desirable to believe that a change in marketing tactics may cut down demand, she says it's wishful thinking. 

“While multinationals might take global calls to end the glorification of light skin or certain beauty standards through their products and advertising, the majority of Indians will still continue to hold light skin in high regard," she says.

Experts believe that the recent backlash will not negatively impact any Indian brand and they will not stop selling such products as they clock huge revenue.

-->

Latest Reads

https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2020/08/14/bharatpe.jpg?itok=fmlfqW6P
BharatPe partners with Laqshya Media Group

NEW DELHI: The #S Campaign has been conceptualised by Laqshya Media Group in partnership with BharatPe to spread awareness on social distancing and the use of hand sanitisers. ‘#S’ stands for Staying Safe during COVID. 

MAM Media and Advertising Out Of Home
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2020/08/14/mohit.jpg?itok=2TgA3MpH
"We see TV channels as partners rather than vendors": Havas Media Group’s Mohit Joshi

A seasoned professional, Havas Media Group MD India, Mohit Joshi, is known within the industry for his sharp acumen and quick knack to adapt to changing trends. With his role expanding in the agency as Anita Nayyar moved on in May.

MAM Media and Advertising People
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2020/08/14/tam_adex.jpg?itok=xjLqIDgd
Hindi movie genre tops in ad volumes with 46% share: TAM report

NEW DELHI: According to data released by TAM AdEx-Television Advertising Report series 10, television ad volumes grew by 37 per cent in week 32 when compared to week 23. Ad volumes for the month of July grew by 15 per cent compared to June 2020. 

MAM Marketing MAM
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2020/08/14/deepak_kumar.jpg?itok=IiIQI06w
#MediaMinds2 | 90% automation for DOOH in just 2 years a big leap: Deepak Kumar

NEW DELHI: On the sixth episode of Media Minds season 2, an Indiantelevision.com initiative to discuss with marketing geniuses the current industry trends, their own experiences, and vision for the future,  director C Lab, Ambient,  Brandscope at DAN, Deepak Kumar talks about the interesting time...

MAM Podcasts
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2020/08/14/colony.jpg?itok=VNQu1NRv
Kent RO's film honours building watchmen on Independence Day

NEW DELHI: As the nation preps up to commemorate its seventy-fourth Independence Day, Kent RO has come up with a campaign #NewNazairya which is currently doing the rounds of digital media. The first short digital film has a core message at its heart: let’s celebrate the unsung heroes who have...

MAM Media and Advertising Digital Agencies
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2020/08/13/dalmia.jpg?itok=LDjUqulp
Dalmia Bharat Group pays a musical tribute to Covid Warriors with Kailash Kher & Ricky Kej

In its endeavor to celebrate the courage, commitment and unfathomable spirit of our Covid warriors, Dalmia Bharat Group is organizing Jazbaa-e-Bharat – an online musical extravaganza featuring Padma Shri. Kailash Kher and Grammy Award winner Ricky Kej, on 14th August, 2020 at 6:15 pm. Speaking on...

MAM Media and Advertising Ad Campaigns
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2020/08/13/wrm.jpg?itok=OCc9vO7d
White Rivers Media launches 101 Marketing Insights for the post-pandemic world

MUMBAI: White Rivers Media today, launched three assets under its title—101 Marketing Insights for a Post-pandemic World by India’s top marketers & entrepreneurs, a free eBook; Better World Initiative, a creative responsibility program to amplify social causes; and its digital showreel for 2020...

MAM Media and Advertising Digital Agencies
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2020/08/13/khimji.jpg?itok=LH18z0Bq
Khimji Jewels launches TVC for new jewellery collection

NEW DELHI: Jewellery brand Khimji Jewels launched its latest line of personal jewellery titled Collection ME. Launched on all media from television, print and OOH to digital, social and www platforms, the collection is the newest in the long line of successful launches by the venerable and deeply...

MAM Media and Advertising Ad Campaigns
https://www.indiantelevision.com/sites/default/files/styles/340x340/public/images/tv-images/2020/08/13/uber.jpg?itok=cXUBT2Xc
Uber helps deliver free meals for the hungry in partnership with the Robin Hood Army

Uber today announced it will help deliver free meals for the hungry and those impacted by the Covid pandemic in partnership with the Robin Hood Army, a volunteer-based organization, which fights against hunger. As the RHA’s mobility partner, Uber will provide free rides to its volunteers in 10...

MAM Media and Advertising Ad Campaigns

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories

* indicates required