HUL drops the word ‘fair’ from Fair & Lovely brand, amid growing criticism of fairness products

By: |
June 25, 2020 4:48 PM

India’s largest consumer product manufacturer Hindustan Unilever (HUL) will rebrand its flagship skin-lightening cream brand Fair & Lovely, dropping the word 'fair', it said on Thursday amid growing chorus of anti-racism voices across the globe.

Sanjiv Mehta, HUL, Hindustan Unilever Limited, Srinivas Phatak, Pradeep Banerjee, Dev Bajpai, Wilhelmus Uijen,Fair & Lovely, which was launched by HUL in 1975 became a Rs 2,000 crore brand in 2015.

India’s largest consumer product manufacturer Hindustan Unilever (HUL) will rebrand its flagship skin-lightening cream brand Fair & Lovely, dropping the word ‘fair’, it said on Thursday amid growing chorus of anti-racism voices across the globe. HUL in a statement said that the use of the word ‘fair’ by the company will be stopped and a new name will be announced post regulatory approval in the next few months. The police killing of an African-American man, George Floyd, in the United States has inflamed protests against implicit and explicit racism, bias towards fair skin colour. Protesters across the globe are staging demonstrations under the banner ‘Black Lives Matter’.

Fair & Lovely, which was launched by HUL in 1975 became a Rs 2,000 crore brand in 2015. HUL, announcing the change in brand name, focused on how the Fair & Lovely brand in the last decade had evolved to communicate a message of women’s empowerment. “The brand’s vision is to adopt a holistic approach to beauty that cares for people, that must be inclusive and diverse – for everyone, everywhere. The brand is committed to celebrating all skin tones,” HUL said. According to HUL’s annual report for the financial year 2020, beauty and personal care products, of which the Fair & Lovely brand is a part, contributed 45% to the company’s revenue.

“We are making our skin care portfolio more inclusive and want to lead the celebration of a more diverse portrayal of beauty,” said Sanjiv Mehta, Chairman and Managing Director, HUL. The company will not just change the word in its Fair & Lovely brand but the rest of HUL’s “skin care portfolio will also reflect the new vision of positive beauty,” the company said. As part of the rebranding, HUL will also be announcing the new name for the ‘Fair & Lovely’ Foundation, set up in 2003 to offer women scholarships to pursue their education.

The change in HUL’s marketing and advertising strategy surrounding its skincare products started in 2019 when the company removed from Fair & Lovely’s packaging, words such as ‘fair/fairness’, ‘white/whitening’, and ‘light/lightening’. HUL said it had also removed the cameo with two faces showing shade transformation, as well as the shade guides from their packs last year.

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