Obsession or Solidarity?: A Fairness Dilemma

Will we ever see a decrease in fairness obsession?

Recently, Johnson & Johnson dropped the Skin Whitening Creams in Asia & the Middle East, amidst the Global Race Protests.

The move comes after growing pressure on cosmetics brand to end marketing that suggests fair/white skin is superior than darker tones.

To be honest, that was a very bold move by J&J.

They were recently caught up in a tussle for introducing bandages in Brown & Black skin tones to embrace the beauty of diverse skin, but that has offended many netizens.

But, will the skin whitening product drop move have any impact in the market, or more importantly, to the people’s mindset?

We live in a society, where the idea of beauty has been synonymous with skin fairness.

Be it the advertisements connecting fairness with achieving success in career & life, to the countless movies glorifying fair complexion & perpetuating colorism.

Take any advertisement/movie. We could find atleast one such reference, for sure, based on colorism.

This is so relatable!

Come to think of it, even majority of us would’ve made colorism remarks knowingly/unknowingly or been at the receiving end of it, atleast once in our life.

No matter how hard we deny it, it is the truth.

India’s skin whitening market is expected to achieve an annual market revenue of $720 million by 2023, with Fair & Lovely leading the way.

Interestingly, globally, about 6,277 tonnes of skin lightener were sold in 2019 (Source: Euromonitor International) including products marketed as anti-aging creams targeting dark spots or freckles.

Dark & Lovely

Even though beauty brands are taking the next step in standing in solidarity with the #BlackLivesMatter Campaign, J&J’s move has received slight backlash as well, not just from India, but from regions like Japan too.

In the light of the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare’s stance against fairness cream advertisements, brands & advertisers are reworking their brand messaging.

Do you think J&J would launch a new product in the market, with a different positioning that can address this psychological need gap?

Or do you think Fair & Lovely & other brands would follow suite & make their move?

#marketing #branding

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