History & Marketing Strategies of Fair and Lovely Brand

Company Name – Fair And Lovely
Founder – Hindustan Unilever 

In order to address the century-old conventional thought about considering fairness over dark or dusky complexion, Fair & Lovely has been catering to women from India and various Asian and Western countries to give them a naturally brighter complexion with the range of fairness creams.

It was not until the stereotypical thoughts about fairness and dark complexion started to subdue, that Fair & Lovely revamped its tagline and products depicting that the fairness of heart is what matters, not the complexion. Under Hindustan Unilever, Fair & Lovely has brought to the market a number of products for different skin quality and recently it has also launched the fairness cream for men. 

How It All Started 

The so-called notion of purity related to fairness or whitish skin dates back to centuries in India where during marriage if a lady was found to be dusky, getting a prospective groom would be next to impossible. Although the notion has changed to some extent in this 21st century, the journey of Fair & Lovely started in 1971 to address this callous notion.

It was Hindustan Lever (Now Hindustan Unilever) that had patented the melanin suppressor chemical named niacinamide and then patented Fair & Lovely in the same year. As a matter of fact, the most active ingredient in this product was and still is niacinamide. 

A research scientist from Hindustan Unilever discovered in 1973 that if applied topically, Vitamin B3 can lighten skin tone. To check its potency and potential, he started experimenting with B3 for altering skin pigmentation. With hundred percent safe ingredients, the ‘fairness expert’ came up with this fairness cream that immediately engaged Asian women consumers as they desired fairer skin like that of Westerners.

Among the most successful cosmetic brands by Hindustan Unilever till date, Fair & Lovely was found to occupy around 80% market share in fairness cream category in India, which also indicate the ever-present inclination of Indian women towards making their complexions fairer. When the product was manufactured, it was found to be soft and uniformly applicable on skin and it sent off the idea that by applying this cream, women can fulfill their desires and dreams of getting their prince charming.    


It was 1975 when HUL brought Fair & Lovely in India and gradually it was launched in major Asian countries like Bangladesh, Malaysia, Thailand, Brunei, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Pakistan etc as well as a few countries from the West. As fats obtained from plants do not contain as much weight of stearic acid as the animal body like lard does, the animal body fat is used in making Fair & Lovely. 

Initially the company targeted the females mainly from the age groups of 18 years and older while it was found that the most users were from the age group of 21 to 35. In the following years, new products for different seasons and different skin types were also launched and it was found that even girls aged from 12 to 14 too could use the fairness cream without any side effect.

Without any harmful chemical or bleach, Fair & Lovely offered visible fairness and reversible skin tone which made it listed on 12th position by ACNielsen ORG-MARG as the Most Trusted Brands of India. In 2004, Fair & Lovely was recognized as Super Brand. 

Fair And Lovely’s marketing strategy and interesting reasons behind its success

-Fair & Lovely’s first product was called a ‘vitamin formula cream’ that consisted of special Vitamin B3 and sunscreen to prevent spread of melanin on skin and thereby, making the skin gentle and fairer in nature’s own way. 

-Being the leading fairness cream across the globe never stopped this company in innovating and experimenting in safe way without harming any animal. For over 40 years, Fair & Lovely has emphasized on more effective and safer ingredients in manufacturing process. 

-From 1975 to 1989, 1990, 1992, 1998, 2004, 1005, 2007, 2010, 2012 and 2017 respectively, the brand has changed its package to ensure zero duplicity and active formula. More than thirty countries use this fairness cream due to its depiction of ‘Rescripting Destiny’. 

-Among the many products launched till date, the key products include Fair & Lovely Multi Vitamin –one of the most popular for all age and all seasons, Fair & Lovely Ayurvedic Balance with organic and herbal ingredients for fairness, Fair & Lovely Anti-marks for spotless skin, Fair & Lovely Winter Fairness as cold cream and Fair & Lovely Skin Clarity as night cream. 

-For men, there is Fair & Lovely MAXFairness and Fair & Lovely Menz Active as men too need to cleanse the pores and make the skin spotlessly fair. 

 -Rural outreach and promoting the brand to interior suburbs has been an integral marketing strategy to reach out to the masses. There are scholarship schemes for youth and for making the women independent before getting married, there is Fair & Lovely Foundation. 

-Apart from making the products easily affordable to even the under-privileged consumers, the company has come up with regular discounts, offers and sachets besides promoting the brand on print media and digital media. Various fashion shows are also organized in association with Fair & Lovely.  


Fair And Lovely’s Campaigns

Padmini Kolhapuri, Juhi Chawla, Yami Gautam and a number of Bollywood starts have been the brand ambassadors of Fair & Lovely which only triggered the popularity of the brand. One of the most intriguing campaigns from Fair & Lovely was the advertising of Equal-Equal where a girl is seen jogging with her father first when he asks her to get married to a well-settled man even if she doesn’t have a job. As she is handed the cream by Yami and she applies it regularly, she gains confidence enough to tell her father that she would get married only after three years when she is well-settled.


Genelia d’Souza was featured in another advertisement where it was shown that she gets confidence with fairness by applying Fair & Lovely and gets selected for commentary alongside Srikant for a Cricket match. 

However, the most engaging campaign is its Fair & Lovely Foundation that offers career guidance, online courses, tests, scholarships and more to the women who register themselves to be independent. There are also success stories and First Salary selfies to make women inspired for choosing career options. 


Although there has been lots of controversies around the promotion of Fair & Lovely due to its over emphasizing of fairness as a positive attribute and even tagged the brand to spread racism, the company has conquered over with its newer strategies and newer products to spread the message that it only endorses confidence and inner fairness with fair skin tones. 

As the most popular fairness cream, the brand has offered job opportunities to many a woman out there aspiring to be independent. Not only for women, but also for men, the brand has introduced fairness creams to make them look fresh and presentable. 


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