The Indian cosmetics industry has experienced a major shift in the changing gender roles and the shift from the traditional perceptions of masculinity and femininity by introducing beauty products especially targeted towards men, including fairness products.
In a recent case, HUL filed a complaint in Advertising Standards Council of India against Emami's fairness campaign for the latter's product "Fair and handsome". HUL aired an advertisement depicting how the consumer is confused with their products and how the product of HUL "Men's fair and lovely" is superior to the rival's product. However, it was rejected by the council.
In the present case, HUL brought a suit against Emami, praying that Emami be restrained from telecasting a commercial which allegedly disparaged HUL's product "Fair and Lovely". In the impugned advertisement of Emami, reference is made to the use of "pink fairness cream" being used by women or intended for women and on the other hand "Fair and Handsome" cream of Emami is shown to be effective for men's tough skin.
HUL argued that their product "Fair and Lovely", though was mainly intended for women, both men and women use it since the ingredients in the cream are the same. HUL blamed Emami for disparaging by undermining HUL's product to be ineffective on men's skin. On the other hand, Emami pointed out that, HUL has themselves admitted on their website that different creams are required for man and women due to the differences in their skin. This ran contrary to their arguments in this case. Emami refuted all the charges of HUL stating that the only intention behind the advertisement was to make the male consumers aware that the fairness cream is different for both male and female.
It was stated by the court that Emami has nowhere referred to HUL in the former's advertisement. The court also stated that their is no generic disparagement since HUL has themselves agreed upon separate fairness cream for men and women and also their is a need for such separate products for men and women.