International Marketing– BUS343
Advertising campaigns require more thought and compassion that just creating something that is legal. Creating a campaign that is morally and socially acceptable is just as important as the legality. There is controversy surrounding the advertising campaign for Fair & Lovely’s fairness cream in India and it’s use of social status of women with dark skin.
Demeaning to Women
The advertising campaign by Fair & Lovely promoting their fairness cream is demeaning to dark-skinned women. The overall message of the campaign is that light-skinned women are the only group that has opportunities and success. One advertisement shows a father who is worried about his financial future saying, “If only I had a son”, as his dark-skinned daughter looks demoralized because her gender and dark-skin is keeping her from helping the family financially. The commercial cuts to the future where the formerly dark-skinned woman is now light-skinned because she used the Fair & Lovely fairness cream. She is also a successful flight-attendant that can now treat her father to nice meals and hotel stays. Everyone is happy and it’s all due to the effectiveness of the fairness cream (Case 2-2, n.d.). Unfortunately, the beauty and cosmetic world are no better. Rita Ching, deputy executive director of The Women’s Foundation, believes that fitness center and skincare brand advertising campaigns often send a message that slim and flawless are the only beauty. She is quoted saying (Chan, 2014, paragraph 13), “The ideal images of beauty is giving incredible pressure to women to achieve a beauty ideal, which has always been impossible. We never see a woman considered beautiful that hasn’t been photoshopped to make her absolutely perfect and flawless.”
A male market for fairness cream doesn’t take away from the way the product is marketing toward women. Slim and fair skinned women have always been the social standard in Asian cultures (Chan, 2014). The product isn’t the issue, the marketing is. CavinKare’s Fairever is selling the same product but their campaign is encouraging and not focused on the fair skinned girl winning due to her skin (Case 2-2, n.d.).
International marketing research requires a broader stroke due to the higher level of uncertainty in foreign markets. Three types of basic information is needed before creating a marketing campaign, 1) general information about the area and market, 2) social, economic, consumer, and industry trends on the horizon, and 3) market specific information to help with decisions pertaining to the 4 P’s of marketing (price, promotion, place and product). When entering a foreign market, a good understanding of the country’s political stability, culture, and geographic characteristics are required for a sound assessment of the market (Cateora, 2016). Beginning with a well-rounded picture of the market is necessary to a successful campaign.
Companies have a responsibility to produce marketing campaigns that are morally, socially and ethically responsible. Exploiting consumers self-esteem to promote a product goes against this unwritten responsibility. A product can be promoted without making consumers feel bad about themselves, it just requires a bit more marketing research and a well thought out message.
Case 2-2 Cultural Norms, Fair & Lovely, and Advertising (n.d.)
Cateora, P. (2016). International marketing (17th ed.). Retrieved from https://redshelf.com/
Chang, J. (2014). The ugly side of the beauty industry. Retrieved from