History and Marketing Strategies of Fair and Handsome Brand

Company Name: Emami Group
Founded By: R S Agarwal and R S Goenka


Fair and Handsome have been specially designed by Emami Private limited for men by skin care specialists using scientifically tested and clinically established techniques of Natural Vitamins, Anti-Irritants, Sunscreen that protect the skin from harmful Ultraviolet A and Ultraviolet B rays of the sun. It uses one of the most widely tested and demonstrated skin lightening technology, Vitamin B3 that works from deep inside to lighten up the skin and the dark spots. The advanced formulae have been designed with a mixture of special “micro absorbers” that absorb all the excess oil and sweat, leaving your skin with a fresh feeling, sweat or oil-free, keeping face look fair and fresh for long.

The advanced formula of Fair and Handsome now comes with an SPF of 15+, protecting from harmful UV rays of the sun.

How It All Started

The beginning of Emami Group took place in the mid-1970s when two juvenile friends, R S Agarwal and R S Goenka, resigned their jobs with the Birla Group to set up an Ayurvedic medicine and cosmetic manufacturing unit named Kemco Chemicals, in Kolkata in 1974. At that time the Indian FMCG market was still conquered by corporations.

In the early days, founders personally sold their cosmetics from shop to shop, using hand-pulled rickshaws. They soon recognised recurring buyer demand, and slowly hired additional staff. A chain of suppliers was established and the sale of Emami products range from West Bengal to the rest of Eastern India and progressively to other states. Emami Talcum, Emami Disappearing Cream and Emami Cold Cream sold well. The company’s marketing methods were to sell dreams of attractiveness to Indian women using radio and TV publicity.

In 1978, Agarwal developed Himani Limited, a privately owned cosmetics business with a factory in Kolkata. The business of Himani was almost 100 years old, although it had only been united in 1949 as a Private Ltd. Company; it had a good brand justice in Eastern India, but was in monetary trouble. Agarwal and Goenka managed to reinstate it to profit, at substantial risk considering the small capital base of their own company; this later proved to be the turning point for their business.

Agarwal decided to produce health care items and toiletries based on Ayurvedic preparation in the Himani factory. Ten years after the beginning of the company, it launched Boroplus Antiseptic Cream under the Himani umbrella in 1984. This became a flagship brand and was drawn-out to other products such as Boroplus Prickly Heat Powder. Emami brands started selling in all states of regions including North, East and West India. Today Boroplus one of the largest selling antiseptic cream in India and also in Russia, Ukraine, and Nepal.


The company was established with uncertain capital of Rs.20, 000 and started manufacturing cosmetic products and also Ayurvedic medicines using the brand name of Emami. It started from a small factory in Kolkata, aiming sales at the Indian middle-class people.


Marketing strategy

Fair and handsome created history when it created the Men’s Fairness Cream in India in 2005 with its unique positioning. Since then the brand has enjoyed strong consumer hold, trust and confidence over all these years, and continues to be the major market leader with more than 60% share in the fairness cream category. The Brand had a successful innovation journey by keeping a close watch on developing consumer demands. Face Wash launched in 2014 and Fair and Handsome Complete Winter Solution launched in 2015, have resonated well with consumers.

In 2006, J B Marketing and Finance Limited, the former marketing company of the Emami Group fused with Emami Ltd. and the total income of Emami including sales in domestic and export market stood at Rs 5.16 billion at the end of the fiscal year 2006-07.

Emami Limited developed a major stake in Zandu Pharmaceuticals Works Ltd, a century-old domestic name in India, for more than Rs 7 billion. Emami added some of Zandu’s projecting brands like Zandu Balm, Zandu Chyawanprash, Zandu Kesri Jeevan, etc to its own range.

In the 1983 Bollywood film Agar Tum Na Hote, one of the earliest brand placement campaigns was attained with lead actor Rajesh Khanna playing the managing director of Emami. In the 1990s, Emami launched flagship brand within the Himani Umbrella, Navratna Cool Oil, and continued production by opening its second factory, at Pondicherry.

In 2005, the company dived into the men’s fairness category, which was a first for any FMCG company in India at that time. Emami created Fair and Handsome, a marketing history in the category of men’s fairness creams.


Last year in may the Bollywood actor Kartik Aaryan who entered the coveted 100 core club with his movie ‘Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety’, was chosen as the new face of ‘Emami Fair and Handsome’ to recommend their range of men’s fairness products. With this announcement, Kartik replaced Hrithik Roshan as the brand ambassador. Hrithik was roped in as the ambassador in the year 2015. It has also been endorsed by the superstar of Bollywood Shahrukh Khan in the past.

At that time 40 per cent mark up in the company’s advertising and marketing spending for the brand. It was launched in the year 2007 which was spearheaded by a new TV commercial, developed by Situations Advertising, produced by Raj Kumar Hirani’s Canvas Film production, and directed by Shakun Batra. The campaign featuring Khan was supported by print, outdoor and digital promotions.



Today it is the largest brand in the Men’s Fairness category and second largest in overall fairness category in India. With the launch of Fair and Handsome, fairness no longer remained special for the eves of the country and provided the men with a chance to break free from being the closet users of women’s fairness creams, and still look fair. The launch of fair and handsome was based on researches that found that the texture of man’s skin is different from that of a woman and needs a product designed exclusively for them.


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