- HUL, the country’s largest consumer product company, said it is rebranding its flagship skincare brand Fair & Lovely and avoid using ‘Fair’ in the name.
Hindustan Unilever, the country’s largest consumer product company, said it is rebranding its flagship skincare brand Fair & Lovely and avoid using ‘Fair’ in the name, amid ongoing anti-racism agitation and advocacy, sparked by the police killing an African-American George Floyd.
Since its launch in 1975, the brand has been marketed to lighten skin tone and is by far the leader in the entire face cream segment. “We are making our collection of skincare more inclusive and want to lead the celebration of a more diverse image of beauty.
In 2019, we removed the two-faced cameo as well as the shade guides from Fair & Lovely ‘s packaging and the brand contact progressed from fairness to glow which is a more holistic and inclusive measure of healthy skin, “HUL chairman Sanjiv Mehta said.
Last year, it had removed from the labeling terms such as fairness/fairness, white/whitening, and light/lightening. HUL said the new name is pending regulatory approvals, and the box with the updated name would be available on the market in the coming months. Last week, Johnson & Johnson, which markets Neutrogena Fine Fairness and Clear Fairness, said it will no longer sell those items that a new name will be available.
The fairness creams market in India is estimated to be worth almost 5,000 crore — because most industry studies only take “fairness creams & bleach” as a segment into account, it is not immediately obvious what the overall market size will be if one considers other fairness products such as face washes and face masks.
Fair & Lovely was the undisputed market leader, with a nearly 70 percent share and a dedicated customer base, and HUL made a wise decision by rebranding rather than pulling the plug on the face cream. It’s uncertain if the actual product and its active ingredients will change.
However, the “clear fairness” range that came under fire for Johnson & Johnson is a minor category — and it may have been easier and more expedient to jettison it.
In recent years, activism around fairness products in India, such as actor Nandita Das’ Dark Is Beautiful campaign, has pushed brands to tweak their marketing and advertising: recent Fair & Lovely advertisements have no longer shown young women (who were visibly made up to look darker in the “before” pictures) succeeding only when their skin tone becomes lighter in several shades. Instead, they harp on terms such as nikhaar (glow) and the “anti-pollution” properties of the goods, “oil-control,” while other brands use “dark spot elimination” as a common euphemism.
This rebranding should have happened at least 20 years back. These fairness creams had a huge impact on the Indian middle class and how they perceived beauty. Although its late but its a welcome change and more brands should focus on their branding and how they impact the consumer segment.