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‘Aamasutra’. The name sounds like new age edition of the Kamasutra; but actually it’s the punch line for a mango drink called ‘Slice’ whose ad features erotic expressions of some bollywood heart throb. Imagine a Bengali lady walking seductively swaying her hips and arching her back. The lady passes a handsome hunk and gets drowns in thoughts of erotic fantasy. Sounds like some sleazy raunchy ‘X-rated’ flick ? Wrong again, it’s a new ad for a deodorant called ‘Wild Stone’ appearing across Indian television channels.

amulmachoThe TV ads are sexing up the Indian society or vice-versa. Earlier only the likes of the AXE deodorant ad series or the ‘Amul Macho’ ads made news. But recently a lot of brands across categories are coming up with such ads. Be it ‘Hide & Seek Milano’ cookies stressing on dark temptation and taking you through a sensuous journey of how the cookies are made or the new bold tag line ‘indulge your dark side’ for Bourbon biscuits from Britannia. Majority of these brands have nothing to do with such carnal desire and their functionality is nowhere close to a condom or sexy lingerie. It’s neither a Jockey nor a Durex, so why the marketer is turning towards sexing up the ads is the question.

Research suggests that erotic themes have never boosted brand recall. But trends show that brands are shifting away from functionality and that sexual depiction is becoming a strong way of communication going ahead. Slowly the family oriented ads like ‘Hamara Bajaj’ are becoming a relic of the past. Women rights groups will keep raising their voices about ads depicting women as sex objects but marketing communication is gradually relying heavily on sex and the free PR attached to it. Does this showcase the liberation of Indian society, changing consumer behavior & their willingness to watch steamier stuff or smart marketing targeted at the suppressed deep dark sexual desires of the Indian masses.


November 13, 2009 at 1:33 pm 2 comments


There has been a strong obsession for fair skin among the Indians although majority of Indians are not fair. Recently with Obama getting elected to the White house, Indians have been vocal about ‘black is beautiful’. But this thought is not reciprocated by the ever growing fairness cream market in India especially the men’s fairness cream segment. With the concept of the ‘metrosexual’ man setting in globally, the Indian market has witnessed a strong demand for personal grooming men products. Over the last decade Indian men have become more conscious of how they look and present themselves. Be it a college goer or a corporate person, none have been left untouched by this grooming fad with a keen desire to look fair. Indian cosmetic companies and marketers have strongly hooked on to this opportunity.

Surveys and reports have suggested that many men were using fairness creams which were primarily manufactured, advertised and targeted towards young women. Gradually the cosmetic companies took note of this trend and came out with men’s fairness products and altogether created a separate category. Today Indian male constitute close to 30% of the fairness cream market contributing close to USD 40 million.

fair_handsomeIn 2005 Emami forayed into the market with its brand ‘Fair & Handsome’ which advertised its product by encouraging men not to use women fairness creams clandestinely. Owing to Emami’s success Hindustan Lever Limited introduced ‘Fair & Lovely Menz Active’ banking on the success of its super brand ‘Fair & Lovely’. Beiersdorf AG soon followed with a premium range in the category branded as ‘Nivea Whitening Moisturizer and Facial Foam’. Nivea tried to position its brand towards the urban progressive youth by evolving the fairness cream into a whitening moisturizer. Emami on the other hand tried to generate mass appeal by roping in bollywood superstar Shahrukh Khan for the promotions. Besides these strong brands CavinKare has its own brand ‘Fairever’ and Shahnaz Hussain’s ‘Fair One Man’. Recently global giants like L’Oreal have shown interest in the segment by introducing brands such as ‘Garnier MEN Powerlight’.

The perennial debate on whether marketing skin whitening or fairness cream is ethical or not can rest till the Indian male consumer continues to have a suppressed desire for white skin. Till then long live ‘The Fair Indian Man’.

October 29, 2009 at 9:26 pm 3 comments

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