I don’t think there lives an Indian who is unaware of the brand Fair & Lovely. Almost all Indian kids of the 80s and 90s grew up watching the brand’s advertisements as they changed and progressed over the years. Its never-ending promises of increasing skin fairness have been the reason behind its success. Hindustan Unilever (HUL) introduced the brand, Fair & Lovely, in 1975. Since then, the brand has received a considerable amount of criticism for its image. Several ad campaigns initiated by Fair & Lovely were accused repeatedly for paralleling fairness with beauty and confidence. Despite all these controversies, the brand has achieved much success across India. It gained immense popularity in countries apart from India too, including Malaysia, Thailand and Bangladesh.
Fair & Lovely Ad Campaigns
Throughout the years following its installation, the brand has successfully carried out numerous ad campaigns, all based on fairness. Much of the ads showed fairness as a means to get a better job and a happier life. The famed Bollywood actress Yami Gautam entered the limelight through her appearances in the Fair & Lovely commercials. Fair & Lovely has also initiated several charitable ventures to support women in career and education by providing scholarships and professional courses.
Brand Image Controversies & Shortfalls
Though they gained success in sales, Fair & Lovely and its men’s version, Fair & Handsome, have indeed had its challenges. Many have identified the brand’s opinion on fairness in a negative manner. The brand’s failure to consider the cultural traits and stigmas of the country has been highlighted by the public, throughout its active years. On the other hand, Fair & Lovely has also taken some appreciably brilliant actions to clear off its negative reputation, one of them being the career and educational foundation they implemented.
The Rebranding of Fair & Lovely
Now, after around fifty years of ruling the Indian beauty industry, HUL has decided to rebrand the product and reinstate it with a new name. Fair & Lovely is to return after its makeover as Glow & Lovely. Though the rebranded name is not shockingly different from its original brand name, the news sparked quite a massive amount of discussion.
Harish Bijoor, the famous brand consultant, responded to it saying, “I think the decision of rebranding was taken in a hurry because of the large momentum the #blacklivesmatter protests have gained. They haven’t even announced the new brand name yet.”
Fair & Lovely has even opted to remove the term fairness from its packages and ads, totally changing the brand’s personality. The rebranded version is going to promote the importance of glowing and beautiful skin, regardless of color.
The Outcome & Reception of Rebranding
HUL’s decision to rebrand the product has been welcomed with mixed opinions. Many critics have pointed out that rebranding alone might not change the brand’s overall image. Fair & Lovely has long been accepted as a fairness cream, and people might continue to see it as one. Also, they mentioned that the country’s obsession with fairness might not quickly fade away, even with changes like these. Indeed, there is a lot to learn from the beauty brand’s journey so far. It’s significant to research the consumers’ concepts and cultures before launching a product. It’s equally important to adapt to their changing ideas and concepts. Advertising is like speaking to the public. So, it’s highly crucial to know their views and notions before framing the ad concept. And these notions are diverse and differ according to the country or region. A lot of detailed study on consumer behavior and culture is essential for a brand’s success.
The rebranding of Fair & Lovely is going to be a total makeover for the brand, considering that its personality itself was based on fairness. Regardless, the brand’s decision can have a positive outcome if they follow up the rebranding process with ad campaigns that support the initiative. In other words, the rebranded versions, Glow & Lovely and Glow & Handsome must back up their intentions with ad campaigns that promote healthy skin over fair skin.
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