Aishwarya Ramesh

Glow & Lovely’s first-ever ad features fair-skinned Yami Gautam

After dropping the word ‘Fair’ from the product’s name in an attempt to be more inclusive, Glow & Lovely’s first ad with actress Yami Gautam is now on air.

For the first time, a Fair & Lovely ad does not feature a dark girl magically turning fairer after using the cream. Glow & Lovely’s (Fair and Lovely’s new name) ad features actress Yami Gautam announcing the brand’s changed (new) name.

In the ad, we see her visually illustrate how the name of the product has changed, although the packaging appears to have stayed the same. Some codes of fairness cream advertising still prevail. We see a graphic visual of the cream moving past the first layers of skin to create a ‘glow’ from within.

However, we don’t see dark spots becoming lighter, or a skin tone changing according to a ‘shade card’. Back in June, Hindustan Unilever Ltd (HUL) announced that it would be renaming its flagship ‘Fair & Lovely’ skin whitening cream to ‘Glow & Lovely’.

The move was a result of the ‘Black Lives Matter’ (BLM) movement gaining traction globally after the death of African American citizen George Floyd. Many brands were under the scanner for their racist imagery and messaging during this time.

Don’t miss the reference to ‘HD Glow’ in the new ad. The phrase has been used previously in the brand’s ads when it was communicating the message of skin lightening and fairness.

At the time of the name change, a press note informed readers that in early 2019, the brand’s communication moved away from the benefits of fairness, whitening and skin lightening towards glow, even tone, skin clarity and radiance, which are holistic measures of healthy skin.

Sanjiv Mehta, chairman and managing director, HUL, said that this was an attempt to make the company’s skincare portfolio more inclusive and celebrate a diverse portrayal of beauty.

The note also claimed that HUL will continue to evolve its advertising to feature women of different skin tones, representative of the variety of beauty across India.

To ’walk the talk’ on this claim, the ad could have featured a wheatish, or a dark-skinned model, but that’s not the case with the ad that stars Gautam. In all past advertising, dark-skinned women have been depicted as unsuccessful, and their fairness, a deciding factor for success.

Reviewing the ad, Sambit Mohanty, head of creative, South - McCann Worldgroup, remarks that if there was (ever) an award for the most mentions of a brand name in an ad, this one would win hands down.

Sambit Mohanty
Sambit Mohanty

“The complexion shade card is gone, but overall, it’s old cream in a new tube. There’s nothing new, or remarkable, about it at all, except for the fact that the name has changed. That also could have been communicated more elegantly,” he opines.

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