The much-awaited step by Unilever – Lovely needn’t be fair anymore

Consumer Giant Hindustan Unilever (HUL) finally succumbed to the pressure of discrimination based on skin color and taken the decision to abandon the term ‘Fair’ from its highest selling product range ‘Fair & Lovely’.

Fair & Lovely, in its decades of existence, had regularly advertised an association of fairness with a good marriage proposal, a handsome life partner, and a successful career.

Pressure had been mounting on the company since last week when US multinational Johnson and Johnson announced it would no longer produce or sell two of its skin lightening creams which are popular in Asia and the Middle East in response to the death of George Floyd and the worldwide debate about racism it sparked.

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.

According to HUL Chairman and Managing Director, Sanjiv Mehta, in addition to the changes to Fair & Lovely, the rest of HUL’s skincare portfolio will also reflect the new vision of positive and inclusive beauty.

Many Bollywood celebrities have endorsed the product over the years through print, TV ads, and billboards. Besides the word ‘fair’, the company will also drop ‘whitening’ and ‘lightening’ from its packaging.

The move by the brand has brought cheer among netizens, with many welcoming the re-branding. However, many questioned how dropping the word would change the purpose of the product, which is in essence a fairness cream.

The four-decade-old, skincare brand is India’s largest selling skin lightening cream, with 24bn rupees in annual revenue.

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