Fair and Lovely?

A Vaseline advert for men's skin-whitening cream
A Vaseline advert for men’s skin-whitening cream

At what point in the future will branding not be such a dominating force in society, or even cease to exist all together?

I asked myself this question yesterday, following a conversation had with colleagues here in Delhi about skin-whitening, and the way this practice has swept across the country.

Millions of Indian women and (more recently) men buy brands such as Fair and Lovely each day, in an attempt to look fairer and more attractive. The same company who produce Fair and Lovely (Hindustan Lever, a Unilever subsidiary) also just launched a hand-washing initiative in India, through their Lifebuoy soap brand, aimed at helping eradicate easily preventable diseases – such as dysentery – which claim the lives of many young children in India.  The ad is pasted at the end of this post.

In my simple mind, the conflation of these two Unilever brands in what they stand for, and what they are selling, is slightly bizarre. Continue reading “Fair and Lovely?”

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