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Cultural Norms, Fair & Lovely and Advertising

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The Indian company Hindustan LTD has developed a skin lighting cream which is from a dermatologist point of view considered to be ineffective, (reaches only the upper layer of the skin)? With its branded product Fair & Lovely it has been the market leader for several decades, in the Indian culture fair skin is associated with positive values like social class, wealth, beauty.

The Indian skin market is growing rapidly; the growth rate had risen by 42.7 % to % 318 million markets. With skin lighting creams as most popular products, the sales of Fair & Lovely have been growing about 20% every year. The high demand of skin lighting creams implicates a strong competition with existing competitors and the new market entrants. One of these competitors is CavinKare with its brand "Fairever". After entering the market CavinKare reached 15 % of the market share.

HLL's Fair & Lovely and CavinKare's Fairever, ran advertising campaigns that were not very ethical. In India fair skin is thought of as more beautiful and desirable than dark skin. Fair & Lovely was the leading company with 90% share, which encouraged it launch a series of ads depicting a "fairer girl gets the boy theme". CavinKare also came up with ads focusing on the same thing, they also showed in their commercials that their products worked well, their campaigns lasted for a few years and were eventually pulled due to harsh criticism for its portrayal of women.

The color of the skin is a powerful theme in India, lighter color is associated with a higher status. Culturally, a fair skin is compared with positive values, the Indian film industry Bollywood is the largest film industry in the world, many of the Indian film actors are opinion leaders and have influence on the population regarding beauty and fashion. Many of the actors are light colored which means that girls and women want to look like them, therefore willing to spend money on cosmetics to realize their dreams.

The main ethical problem they had was that they showed a girl feeling hopeless and demoralized and unhappy, because she was dark skinned. Her father was distressed because of the expense of the skin lightening. Everyone was unhappy and then the commercial fast forwarded and the girl had gotten the skin cream, she had a lighter complexion. Everybody was happy, the promoted achievement through obtaining lighter skin and before had used getting married as a way to promote their cream. They also ran one with a girl who had light skin had a few boys wanting her, and then a darker skin sat there with none. The lighter skinned girl said how you must get lighter skin to get the boys.

These were ads that were shown nationwide, none of these are ethical. First of all their product does not really work, a dermatologist had stated that the cream does not even reach the layer of the skin where the pigment is. This is also was supported by many people saying



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