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Cultural Norms: Fair and Lovely and Advertising Case Study

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Updated: Jun 13th, 2019

Is it ethical to sell a product that is, at best, only mildly effective?

It is unethical to sell products to consumers if they are only mildly effective. It goes against professional business ethics. Selling a mildly effective product can be described as fraud in certain situations. It fools consumers with the notion that the product can effectively perform certain tasks.

On Hindustan Unilever website, the product is labeled “miracle worker.” It states that the product is tested and can change skin complexion by up to three shades. In the case study, an Indian woman has been using the product for eight years and it has proved to be ineffective. This contradicts HUL’s Fair & Lovely advertisements. The statement can lead to legal suits directed to the company since the product’s qualities are exaggerated.

Is it ethical to exploit cultural norms and values to promote a product?

It is unethical to exploit cultural norms to promote a product. The cultural issues have a certain level of sensitivity. Using one’s culture for advertising purposes may be offensive to other cultures. Certain factors in different cultures are handled with a certain level of sensitivity. The AIDWA pressed charges against HUL’s Fair and Lovely for exploiting Indian cultural norms. Using cultural practices to promote company’s products is seen as disrespectful and unacceptable act.

Is the advertising of Fair & Lovely demeaning to women or is it portraying a product not too similar to cosmetics in general? Discuss

The advertisements done by Fair and Lovely are demeaning to women. It is a part of their nature that makes other women seem successful or better just because of their complexion or fairness of skin. The advertisements define a beautiful woman as one who has fair skin. Women who are dark according to the adverts are not beautiful. In the case study, a woman is not able to get a husband or a good job until she starts using the product.

This clearly shows how demeaning the advertisements are towards the women. The fact that the company categorized women according to their complexion is in fact racism. Racism is discriminating a person based on his/her skin color. The advert clearly tells a female consumer that she will not be successful unless she has fair skin. In India, this goes beyond discrimination and racism since women do not enjoy the same rights as men.

The advertisement creates more harm than good. The stereotypes created by the advertisements are unavoidable. Advertising mostly depends on stereotyping to promote most of the goods. Many beauty product advertisements stereotype women. Big brands like Nivea and Fa thrive on stereotyping to give a sense of belonging to their customers. They will advertise a certain trendy product to attract the youth or use an expensive luxurious advertisement to lure the rich.

Will HUL’s Fair & Lovely Foundation counter charges made by AIDWA? Discuss

HUL’s Fair and Lovely Foundation will not face the charges pressed by AIDWA. The Company has stopped airing two of its commercials that AIDWA found to be discriminating. HUL’s Fair and Lovely foundation has also come up with an initiative to empower women. The initiative focuses on creating awareness to women.

It also helps by providing them with resources in education and business. The initiative aids women across India by empowering them with skills that will benefit them. The campaign was done in more than 20 cities across India.

In light of AIDWA’s charges, how would you suggest Fair & Lovely promote its product? Discuss. Would your response be different if Fairever continues to use ‘fairness’ as a theme of its promotion?

The charges that AIDWA pressed stated that the advertisements were discriminatory. The adverts insinuated that fair-skinned women were more successful and better off than dark women. The second charge was the tendency of the advert to promote preference. In India, women do not share the same privileges as men. The advert promoted this kind of discrimination where a father wished he had a son just because the daughter had dark skin.

According to AIDWA, the advertisement was making the situation worse than it had already been. The third charge was the advertisements insulted ‘working women’. In India, the society has been obsessed with the notion of fairness. It goes back to their ancient cultures with even scriptures of some gods preferring fairness. Main characters in popular Bollywood movies must have fair skin to get good roles.

The advertisements done by HUL’s Fair and Lovely seem to promote discrimination. Fair and Lovely should advertise using popular trends and fashion instead of focusing on race and complexion. They should also promote equality between men and women in society to curb discrimination. Fair and Lovely Foundation should promote and empower women in India by offering resources for education and business. It should focus on this trend rather than making it hard for a ‘working woman’ to pursue her career of choice.

The ‘fairever’ campaign using fairness as their slogan is still wrong. The company ought to respect cultural practices and values. It is wrong to use culture negatively to promote products. The company needs to be sensitive to culture in order to gain respect of the community.

Propose a promotion/marketing program that will counter all the arguments and charges against Fair & Lovely and be an effective program

HUL’s Fair and Lovely first needs to perform a market research, this is to identify the market and its consumers. They should focus more on enhancing the product to suit the needs of the consumers. They could also collaborate with other retailers in different regions. This would boost sales, as consumers are more likely to buy products from local retailers. This practice helps in promoting the product making it more popular.

They could do promotions through advertising and giving discounts to customers. They could also divide the market into categories for pricing by market segmentation. This ensures that all the market segments are catered for, maximizing sales. In order to get new consumers, they could offer free samples to potential consumers. This facilitates the consumer’s trial period, increasing the chances they will purchase the product.

Based on CavinKare’s statement of values and beliefs, how would you evaluate its advertising/marketing programs?

Cavinkare Company has a very good advertising strategy. It bases its marketing on trust and honesty rather than lying to consumers to make sales. This sense of integrity is vital in acquiring and retaining consumers. It also practices fairness to consumers using the products. This creates equality leading to good relationships with the consumers. The company uses innovation and excellence to achieve better results in advertising by coming up with better advertising practices.

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