Fight to make you Fair

Indian women’s love for beauty products is no secret. They have been using a lot of herbal based products since ages to keep their skin fair and shining. So it’s not a big surprise to know that the launch of Fair and Lovely in India by HLL in the seventies was a great success. With it’s “Get Fair in Seven weeks” campaign it lured the women to try it’s product and captured a major share in the Indian cosmetics market. But similar product launched by other groups, Cavinkare – Fairever , Godrej – FairGlow, Emami – Naturally Fair, and Revlon – Fair & Glow wasn’t well received and Fair & Lovely remained the undisputed market leader in the skin care segment for decades. Then came Emami in 2005 with it’s new product – Fair and Handsome.

Marketers never cared about the looks of men and all the beauty products were targeted mostly for women a year back. HLL was no exception to that. It went on adding new products like Ayurvedic and Anti-marks with Fair & Lovely brand, but failed to give importance to the metro sexual man who’s usage of the fairness creams is on the rise. Incidentally it applied such strategy to it’s premier soap brand – Lux, for which Shahrukh Khan is used as brand ambassador for some time. But the ad where Shahrukh Khan in a bathtub filled with rose petals, surrounded by heroines of yesteryear ended up more in making news than creating a brand following from men.

But Emami followed a simple strategy while introducing it’s first fairness cream for men in India. It did it’s research and knows clearly that significant percentage of fairness cream users are men. It’s more interested to move those men to Fair & Handsome first, than in creating any new users. All the ad says is – if you are a man don’t use a girl thing, your skin is not the same as theirs and it needs to be treated differently. So better go for a fairness cream specially made for you than stealing things from girls. The communication here is clear, that it want to stop men from using Fair & Lovely.

HLL reacted to the move and came up with it’s own product Men’z Active. Having created a new segment in the fairness cream category and captured significant market share, Emami is not simply resting on it’s laurels. Now it was ready for the big fight and willing to take on the super brand from HLL, Fair and Lovely.

In a quick succession Emami launched two new products, this time for women. First one is – Fair and Teen, for young girls. Again it came up with a wonderful ad to focus on delivering it’s message to the customers – A teen age girl is using her sister’s things like sun glass, lipstick etc. But when she took on the Fairness cream, her sister objects to that and ask her to go for Fair and Teen, which is specially made for young girls , as it won’t cause irritation even if there are pimples. With this Emami creates the impression that other products available in the market(read- Fair & Lovely) is not suitable for Teen agers.

And then it didn’t want the aged people to use the competitor’s products either. Fair and ageless, was another product launched for women above 30. Will a ‘One for all product’, like Fair & Lovely can keep on retaining it’s leadership position?. Let’s see how HLL is positioning it’s flagship product to combat the onslaught from Emami.

But for all ants willing to take on the elephants, this is one good lesson from Emami.


  1. It is said that beauty is only skin deep but does not seem so from what you have posted. Maybe the women should tell the mirror” Mirror, mirror on the wall, tell me the best supplier of them all” instead of who is the fairest of them all in the second line

  2. Siva Rajendran says:

    That’s absolutely right Hiren, but it seems now companies want men also to join the ‘Fair club’ to ask the same question


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