Cultural Norms, Fair & Lovely, and Advertising.
Christopher A. Osuoha
July 2, 2012
Dr. Gilbert J. Werema
Associate Professor of Marketing
Wayland Baptist University
Table of Content
2.0 Questions & Analysis
2.1 Is it ethical to sell products that are mildly effective? 2.2 Is it ethical to exploit cultural norms and value to promote a product? 2.3 Is the advertisement of Fair & Lovely demeaning to women, or is promoting fairness cream in a way not too dissimilar from how most cosmetics are promoted? 2.4 Will HLL’s Fair & Lovely Foundation be enough to counter charges made by AIDWA? 2.5 In light of AIDWA charges, how would you suggest Fair & Lovely promotes its products? Would your response be different if Forever continues to use “fairness” as a theme of its promotion?
2.6 Propose a promotion/marketing program that will counter all the argument and charges against Fair & Lovely and be an effective program? 2.7 Now that a male market for fairness cream exist, is the strength of AIDWA‘s argument Weakened?
2.8 Comment on using “Shakti Ammas” to introduce “fairness cream to masses” in the light of AIDWA’s charges?
This case study analysis focuses on misplacement of cultural imperatives by mounting unethical advertisement campaign by two Indian package mass consumption companies - Hindustan Lever Ltd and CavinKare Ltd. The development of revolutionary skin lightening technology brand; Fair & lovely by Hindustan Lever Ltd opened up a new chapter on application of unethical promotional strategy to generate large volume of sale and maintain market leadership position in India skin care industry. Hindustan Lever Ltd (HLL) holds 90% market share of the skin care industry but when CavinKare Ltd (CKL) lunched its Fairever product within two years CavinKare Ltd was able to gain 15% of the market. Hindustan Lever Ltd exploited the cultural preference of light skin complexion to dark skin color in India and lunched an unethical promotional campaign that portrayed light skin superiority and gender inequality. The advertisement campaign created a strategic weakness for HLL which CavinKare Ltd capitalized on to lunch a counter attack by developing an advertisement that is culturally more appealing to a wider segment of the Indian society. Catora, Gilly & Graham (2011) pointed out that “many countries, the international marketer faces the dilemma of responding to sundry situations where local law does not exist, where local practices appear to condone a certain behavior, or where a company willing to do what is necessary is favored over a company that refuses to engage in certain practice” (p.150). The implication is that businesses should use utilitarian ethics as bases to evaluate the appropriateness of their advertisement. Despite this HLL continued its unethical promotional strategy with a little modification which still portrays color preference. It was on the basis of this that All Indian Women Democratic Association (AIWDA) took a bold step to complain to HLL and when HLL failed to respond AIWDA appealed to the National Human Right Commission protesting that HLL advertisement is racist, promotes son preference and insulting to the working women. This case analysis will analyze each question in the case analysis in relation to relevant international marketing concepts. 2.0 Questions and Analysis
This case analysis has eight questions that defined and explained the fundamental dynamics of culture in promotional strategies business organizations apply to gain competitive advantage and push their products to all segment of the market. The purpose of this case study is to explore culture’s influence on...