Case: 2-2 Cultural Norms, Fair & Lovely, and Advertising
This case tells how two companies in India, HLL’s Fair & Lovely and Cavin Kare’s Fairever , ran advertising campaigns that were not very ethical. In India fair skin is thought of as more beautiful and desirable than darker skin. Fair & Lovely was the leading company with 90% share and the Cavin Kare’s Fairever was released and they gained 15% share. This made Fair & Lovely launch a series of ads depicting a “fairer girl gets the boy theme.” Cavin Kare also came back with ads focusing on the same thing. They also showed in their commercials that their products worked. Their campaigns lasted for a few years and were eventually pulled due to harsh criticism for its portrayal of women.
What were the ethical problems with Fair & Lovely’s advertising campaign?
The main ethical problem they had was they showed a girl feeling hopeless and demoralized and unhappy because she was dark skinned. Her father was distressed because of the expense of the skin lightening. Everyone was unhappy and then the commercial fast forwarded and the girl had gotten the skin crème. She had a lighter complexion. Everybody was happy. They promoted “achievement” through obtaining lighter skin and before had used “getting married” as a way to promote their crème. They also ran one with a girl who had light skin had a few boys wanting her and then a darker skin sat there with none. The lighter skinned girl said how you must get lighter skin to get the boys.
These were advertisements that were shown nationwide. None of these are ethical. First of all their product does not really work. A dermatologist had stated the crème does not even reach the layer of their skin where the pigment is. This is also supported by many people saying it did not work. It was said that it many have lightened the hair color on their arms which can make the skin look lighter. The second issue was that they tried to show how you cannot be...
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