Case Study :: Fair & Lovely
Group-2 (MM) PGEXP-2012-14
Fairness and Color in Indian History
It was way back in the 1970s, when Hindustan Lever Ltd (HLL) launched its first version of FAL. At that time, the market was dominated by the cold cream manufacturers, such as Ponds and Lakme (HLL was subsequently to acquire these firms). Before this, the 'fairness' aspect of creams was not directly mentioned, though some products did advertise that they offered consumers protection from the sun, in the form of a sunscreen. 4P strategy of Marketing for the brand creation of the Fair & Lovely. Broadly we can categorize this into 4 phase – Product Evolution phase, Promotion of brand phase, Price rationalisation phase & Targeting different group of people and product diversification phase. The phase I (1986 – 2006) is basically the Product evolution phase wherein the effort through the advertisement was made to Re-script Destiny by first fairness product. The cream assured to provide fairness within 6 weeks as a guarantee for marriage. Hence the product was sold on Need, Want and Demand. The 2nd phase (2001 – 2006) emphasized on Promotion of the product through brand expansion. It targeted the young college going women, rural women etc. In the 3rd phase (2006 – onwards) there was aggressive competition among various companies producing similar products. The different players adopted various modes to capture the share of market through Price rationalization, Extra 50 – 100gm within the same price, cream in sachet etc. The 4th phase (2010 – onwards) emphasis is on product diversification and targeting new group of People i.e. Men. In this period the companies started producing fairness facewash gels, fairness soap, fairness talc and the effort is also to target men through fairness cream for men etc. For a very long time, HLL was the dominant player in the fairness cream market. However, seeing the enormous success that HLL was having in this new category, other players were bound to enter. These were CavinKare, a player strong primarily in the south of the country, with its brand Fairever, Emami and Godrej. The segment was soon to see plenty of action. The Attack & Defence strategy of Marketing came in its full form. Within just a few months, FAL's competitor, Fairever, had built a significant market share. Other players noted that the use of personal products and cosmetics was growing at a substantial pace in the country, and within the personal product portfolio, fairness creams were doing remarkably well. Thus, in a few years' time, there were several new entrants in the market. Towards the end of the millennium, Godrej, also a large national FMCG player (with a number of products in the soaps category, such as Godrej No. 1) jumped into the fray with’fairness soap', christened FairGlow Fairness Soap. The success of this product prompted an entry into fairness creams as well with a brand extension—FairGlow Fairness Cream was launched later in 2000. Godrej's soap claimed to remove blemishes and thus enhance the complexion by providing it with a glow. Soon after, the company launched a new product, Nikhar, which used natural ingredients such as milk, haldi (turmeric) and besan (gram flour). Such ingredients had traditionally been used by several Indian households for generations. Meanwhile, CavinKare's product was marketed with the unique selling proposition (USP) of having saffron in the cream. Once again, the aim was to use a traditional ingredient to promote the product. For several generations, Indians had used saffron as a skin whitener and believed in the attributes of the product. Putting it into a fairness cream was a fine idea—the stress on 'natural ingredients' also helped to remove any negative perception that some consumers may have had, that harmful chemicals were possibly being used to lighten the skin. Effort was made by the various players to use Generic element in...
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