1. Fair & Lovely: Creating Demand – Case Studies in Marketing

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Fair & Lovely
Creating Demand

BACKGROUND

Is it true that consumers create demand for a product? Can it ever be possible that the opposite occurs that good marketing and advertising creates demand? In effect, can supply create its own demand, as the French economist Jean-Baptiste Say postulated? The story of Fair & Lovely (FAL) of Hindustan Unilever (HUL formerly Hindustan Lever Ltd) throws up such interesting questions.

The fascination of Indians for fair skin is well known. As several social commentators have pointed out, if there is any doubt about this, then people could just take a look at the matrimonial column of any newspaper. The preference for fair (or gori in the vernacular) brides screams at you from such columns. Social commentators go on to say that this preference is perhaps a hangover from the British colonial days, when the ruling colonizers, who were fair-skinned, had a higher status than the darker-skinned locals. Several social gatherings, clubs etc. were earmarked as being ‘for whites only’. Perhaps the long years of colonial occupation have ingrained this fascination for white skin in the psyche of Indians. Or perhaps it is the fact that the traditionally higher castes in the country were of a somewhat fairer complexion than the lower castes.

India Today, a popular magazine which did a story on fairness creams, mentioned that even the gods supposedly lamented their dark complexion as in a myth in which the popular dark-skinned god Krishna sang plaintively, ‘Radha kyoon gori, main kyoon kala?’ (Why is Radha so fair while I am dark?). The feature also mentioned that the ancient Ayurvedic sage Charaka wrote thousands of years ago about herbs that could help make the skin fair.1 This is what Sudarshan Singh, a brand manager with Nivea, has to say: ‘Whitening emerges as the prime need. Since Indian men spend a lot of time outdoors, they desire to reverse the effect of the aggressive factors and hence use whitening creams’.2 and Ramesh Viswanathan, Executive Director of CavinKare, another company that makes fairness products, said: ‘There is an overwhelming need for fair skin. People don’t relate to “soft skin without blemishes” as much as when the fairness benefit is layered into it’.3

Whatever the reason, the case of FAL, and indeed, of fairness creams, illustrates how marketers played on this consumer need and developed a separate category of creams. The sales of FAL today are approximately a ten billion rupees. If one were to add the sales of its competitors, the market size is a lot larger.

Another interesting fact is that after the success of fairness creams for women, marketers moved on to a new frontier. This was not unexpected—for again, employees in HUL soon noticed that several men also use FAL. In fact, some estimates put the number of male users of FAL at as much as 30 per cent of the total market!4 And thus, a brand extension was clearly on the cards’fairness creams targeted at men. And so came about Emami’s Fair and Handsome cream ‘for men’. Today, the market for fairness creams for men is around Rs. 2 billion, out of the total market size of Rs. 22 billion for fairness creams, according to Nielsen; but the growth rates exceed 30 per cent.5

How did all this start? Read on for details!

FAIR & LOVELY: THE CREATION OF A BRAND

It was way back in the 1970s, when Hindustan Lever Ltd (HLL) launched its first version of FAL. At that time, the market was dominated by the cold cream manufacturers, such as Ponds and Lakme (HLL was subsequently to acquire these firms). Before this, the ‘fairness’ aspect of creams was not directly mentioned, though some products did advertise that they offered consumers protection from the sun, in the form of a sunscreen.

For a very long time, HLL was the dominant player in the fairness cream market. However, seeing the enormous success that HLL was having in this new category, other players were bound to enter. These were CavinKare, a player strong primarily in the south of the country, with its brand Fairever, Emami and Godrej. The segment was soon to see plenty of action.

Within just a few months, FAL’s competitor, Fairever, had built a significant market share. Other players noted that the use of personal products and cosmetics was growing at a substantial pace in the country, and within the personal product portfolio, fairness creams were doing remarkably well. Thus, in a few years’ time, there were several new entrants in the market.

Towards the end of the millennium, Godrej, also a large national FMCG player (with a number of products in the soaps category, such as Godrej No. 1) jumped into the fray with a ‘fairness soap’, christened FairGlow Fairness Soap. The success of this product prompted an entry into fairness creams as well with a brand extension—FairGlow Fairness Cream was launched later in 2000. Godrej’s soap claimed to remove blemishes and thus enhance the complexion by providing it with a glow. Soon after, the company launched a new product, Nikhar, which used natural ingredients such as milk, haldi (turmeric) and besan (gram flour). Such ingredients had traditionally been used by several Indian households for generations.

Meanwhile, CavinKare’s product was marketed with the unique selling proposition (USP) of having saffron in the cream. Once again, the aim was to use a traditional ingredient to promote the product. For several generations, Indians had used saffron as a skin whitener and believed in the attributes of the product. Putting it into a fairness cream was a fine idea—the stress on ‘natural ingredients’ also helped to remove any negative perception that some consumers may have had, that harmful chemicals were possibly being used to lighten the skin.

Fairever was able to increase its market share by close to seven times, albeit from an initially very low base, in just over a year after its launch. This prompted the market leader, HLL, which still dominated the market to take action. Wanting to check the growth of competitive brands by nipping them in the bud itself, HLL began to offer an extra 50 per cent grammage in its FAL pack. Nevertheless, FAL was losing ground both to other creams and Godrej’s fairness soaps. Perhaps the reason for the latter switch was that the consumer saw soaps as being less harmful to the skin than cream.

HLL thus saw the need to enhance its portfolio of soaps to include one with the attributes of enhancing skin complexion. The first attempt was made with the introduction of the Lux Skincare soap in May 2000.6 However, the product offered an anti-tan protection from the sun (with a sunscreen to protect the skin from harmful ultraviolet rays), rather than a promise to enhance complexion. The response from the market was not encouraging. HLL saw the need to change track and subsequently launched the Fair & Lovely Fairness Soap. This was intended as a premium product, with the intention to grow the top end of the market.

The battle soon took an ugly turn. HLL filed a patent infringement suit against CavinKare, claiming that the company was using its patented fairness formula in its product without HLL’s knowledge or permission. CavinKare, in turn, filed an application to revoke the patent and stated that HLL’s patent was invalid. It also stated that the ingredients in its product were ‘prior art’. It said that the new HLL patent did not represent any improvement over the earlier patent, which had expired way back in 1988. Just as consumers were getting interested in where the court battle would lead to, the two companies opted for an out-of-court settlement, and the matter ended there. CavinKare gave an undertaking to the court that it would not manufacture or sell any fairness cream by using silicone compounds in combination with other ingredients covered in the patent granted to HLL.

AGGRESSIVE PROMOTIONS

All the companies in the segment concentrated on growing the market for the product through aggressive advertising, highlighting the nature of the product and the promise it offered. FAL’s advertisements said that consumers would obtain fairness comparable to the moon’s glow. Subsequently, it offered consumers a challenge, stating that the product would definitely deliver on its promise. In a few days, the advertisements claimed, the consumers would clearly see the difference between in their skin’s complexion if they used FAL.

Godrej too offered a similar promise it came up with an innovative online promotional campaign, ‘the FairGlow Face of the Fortnight’. Every 14 days, a winner was selected and her profile showcased on the Web site. Attractive prizes such as jewellery, perfume, holiday packages etc. were given to the winners.

The competition soon moved onto the pricing strategy. Godrej came up with a sachet to market its FairGlow cream. The low-volume pack was priced at the crucial price point of Rs. 5. (The Case Study on Coca-Cola explains the importance of such price points in the Indian market.)

HLL followed suit and also came up with an innovation it put a replaceable cap on its Rs. 5 sachet, so that the sachet could be resealed after being used and the cream would not get contaminated or dry out after being used. This was extremely relevant for this sachet, since while most other sachets (often at lower price points) were intended to be for single use, this one was not and offered multiple usages.

While HLL, CavinKare and Godrej continued to be the major players in the market, other players were gradually entering. Emami, Paras, Ayurvedic Concepts, Avon, Revlon etc. made their moves in the segment. All the activity necessitated a massive increase in high-decibel advertising.

HLL was to relaunch FAL and increase its advertising expenditure by massive amounts. CavinKare too more than doubled its expenditure on advertisements over just a two-year period.

The category was buzzing. And when that happens, experience has shown that a peculiar phenomenon occurs: counterfeit products manufactured and sold by ‘fly-by-night’ operators enter the market. Since the manufacturers of these products generally operate from a very small unit, often tucked away in some remote corner, they are able to evade taxes, particularly the excise duty. This means that while they can price their products well below that of the national players, they still make high margins. Part of their profit reportedly goes in providing small-time retailers with incentives to stock and sell their products.

Hence the Indian market was to see products that were named and packaged quite similarly to the brand names of the established large players. FAL’s look-alike counterfeit products were Pure and Lovely, Fare and Lovely etc., while Four Ever, ForEver etc. were targeted at Fairever.7

It was remarkable, in a way, to note the massive growth of the category, even while there was no scientific basis to believe in the claims of the FMCG companies that their products actually ‘worked’ in the true sense of the term and actually made the skin of consumers fairer. Several doctors pooh-poohed the very idea that fairness creams could actually lighten the skin.

Nevertheless, consumers seemed completely taken in. After fairness soaps, several brand extensions on the same fairness platform were ushered in. Emami conceptualized and tested a fairness talc. Product variants were launched targeting not only women, but also men. The first such product was Emami’s Fair and Handsome launched in 2005.8

While fairness creams had traditionally tried to reach out to women by hinting, sometimes blatantly, sometimes more subtly, that their chances of finding a good husband at the time of matrimony were considerably brightened by using a fairness cream, men were targeted by hinting that they would be able to impress a girl more easily if they also used a fairness-enhancing product.

One advertisement from Emami, for example, depicted a dark-complexioned boy slinking into a girls’ hostel to steal a pack of a fairness cream meant for women. He is shooed away by the girls and is subsequently advised by a friend to get a fairness cream meant for males—Fair and Handsome. After using the product, he becomes attractive to females, and a jingle plays in the background: ‘Hi handsome, hello handsome’.

Emami’s Fair and Handsome provoked a reaction from HLL, which also came up a product meant for men, named Fair & Lovely Menz Active in 2006. More recently, HUL is reportedly extending its Vaseline range into the fairness market, with the launch of a Vaseline whitening face wash and cream.9

Recent estimates put the market for men’s fairness products at approximately Rs. 1.75–2 billion and the growth rate at about 30 per cent, as compared to a more modest 7 to 8 per cent for women’s fairness products.10

After their success in the Indian market, FMCG companies were also looking at other opportunities. Emami and CavinKare were reportedly gearing up to export their fairness brands to African and Asian countries.11

Meanwhile the Indian market has seen increasing competition even for fairness products targeted at men. Procter & Gamble’s Olay, Garnier, Nivea and Neutrogena are all making moves in this space. Garnier had first entered the fairness market in 2004 with the launch of Garnier Light, claiming that its products would provide enhanced fairness and also help remove dark spots. In 2009, it subsequently launched the Powerlight range, which includes a face wash and moisturisers.12

Up-market brands such as Nivea and Neutrogena also have added fairness creams to their portfolio, as the robust growth rates have proved increasingly attractive.

CONTROVERSIES

Of course, such positioning was not free of controversy. Firstly, there was the issue as to whether such fairness products work at all. The magazine India Today, in the same story mentioned earlier, quoted Dr R. K. Pandhi, the then Head of the Dermatology Department at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in New Delhi. He reportedly declared that he had never seen any real substantiation of these claims through medical studies and that no externally applied cream could change one’s skin colour. He stated, ‘Indeed, the amount of melanin in an individual’s skin cannot be reduced by applying fairness creams, bathing with sun-blocking soaps or using fairness talc’. This is because the upper skin layer largely comprises dead tissue. Below that is a ‘barrier zone’ that prevents foreign particles from entering the body; only if this zone is crossed could any product reach melanin. While medicated ointments may contain chemicals that pass this zone, he said, ‘I don’t know if any fairness cream does that. As for something like soap, which is on the skin for barely a few minutes, it’s a nonsensical proposition’.13

In addition to the controversy over whether the product actually works or not, FAL came to be perhaps one of the products most hated by consumer activists and women’s rights groups. They accused the multinational company (MNC) of deliberately misleading consumers and reinforcing stereotypes that—fairness and beauty were interlinked. Is beauty only skin deep, after all?

The advertisements of the company often provoked strong reactions. For example, one advertisement depicted a dark-complexioned woman, who had been ignored by employers and men, using the product and then soon finding new boyfriends and a job after the cream had ‘lightened’ her skin.

In a country obsessed with white skin, companies marketing fairness products were accused of enhancing the image that skin colour was important, i.e. there was an element of racism in the whole thing. This is what Brinda Karat, the president of the All-India Democratic Women’s Association had to say: ‘We are against the product…. It is downright racist to denigrate dark skin’. A college lecturer went a step further, asking for a complete ban on the product. ‘Such products should be banned as they are not only chemically harmful but also perpetuate racism’, is what she reportedly said. She was responding to an advertisement in which the actor Saif Ali Khan prefers the fair-skinned starlet Neha Dhupia over Priyanka Chopra, known for her dusky, wheatish complexion.

However, a repartee comes from a Delhi beauty parlour owner. She says, ‘I have no problem with people wanting to be lighter…. It doesn’t make you racist, any more than trying to make yourself look younger makes you ageist’.14

Companies often responded by saying that they had not created the stereotype in the consumers’ mind in the first place—it already existed. The need for a fairness product had always been there in the consumers’ mind, and the company was therefore only responding to a preexisting consumer need. Was not that what companies were supposed to do? Consumer activists would have none of it though.

Perhaps as a response to all the criticism and with the idea to deflect some of it, manufacturers of fairness creams did respond in some way or the other. HUL, for example, established the Fair & Lovely Foundation.

The vision of this foundation was ‘to empower women in India to change their destinies through education, career guidance and skills training’, while its mission is ‘of adding vitality to life by making women look good, feel good and get more out of life’.15

The foundation aims to provide scholarships and career guidance to women so that that can do better in life. With a number of renowned Indian women comprising successful educationists, NGO activists, physicians etc. on its advisory board, the foundation claims to have helped several ‘women realize their potential and live their dreams’.16

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
  1. After reading the case of fairness creams, what do you think—have companies succeeded in creating a demand for the product or have they merely responded to customer needs?
  2. What do you think about the ethics of the issue? Do you think that the criticism about there being an element of racism in the marketing of fairness creams is justified?
  3. Look at HUL’s ‘Vision’ and ‘Value Creation’ statements mentioned in one of the annexures. Do you think the promotion of fairness creams is in line with the vision statement?
ANNEXURES
REACTIONS TO FAIR & LOVELY

An article by Vivek Kaul in DNA challenges Fair & Lovely’s proposition of lightening the skin. He first states the company’s contention: ‘Our fairness products are based on Unilever’s patented skin-lightening technology that comprises a synergistic combination of vitamin B3 (niacinamide) with UVA and UVB sunscreens, which work together to protect the skin from darkening and gently, safely lightening the skin’,17 but then goes on to challenge the contention with an interesting story. He states that the marketing guru, Martin Lindstrom, had provided an excellent example of consumer psychology and how companies may play on this in his book Buyology: Truth and Lies About Why We Buy. This is how the story goes:

When Unilever was getting to launch a shampoo in Asia, a mischievous employee with time on his hands wrote on the label, just for the hell of it, Contains the X9 Factor. This last minute addition went undetected by Unilever, and soon millions of bottles of the shampoo were shipped to stores with those four words inscribed on the label. It would have cost too much to recall all the shampoo, so Unilever simply let it be. Six months later, when the shampoo had sold out, the company reprinted the label, this time leaving out the reference to the non-existent ‘X9 Factor’. But what was the result of dropping the mention of X9? Can you guess?

Although consumers had no idea what this X9 was, they were indignant that Unilever had dared to get rid of it. In fact, many people claimed that their shampoo wasn’t working anymore and that their hair had lost its lustre.

Perhaps this little anecdote points to HUL’s strategy—exploiting the consumers’ need, whether stated or unstated, and manipulating their perceptions.

Vivek Kaul goes on to lambast HUL for its advertising, which, he says, is based on the proposition of ‘kaale ko gora bana de’ (transforming a dark-skinned person into a fair-skinned one). Drawing attention to the advertisement that depicted a dark-skinned woman struggling to get either a job or a boyfriend becoming successful only after using the product in contention and another one that depicted a girl achieving her ambition of becoming a cricket commentator after using Fair & Lovely, he posited a fair question: ‘Now what has Fair & Lovely got to do with becoming a good cricket commentator?’ One may add here that few cricketers in this country are themselves fair-skinned.

Vivek Kaul goes on to question the company’s basis of stating that the product actually works. He asks, ‘Has there been research carried out over a period of time that shows that by using Fair & Lovely, people become fair? If no, how is the company being allowed to make such claims and get away with it?’ There is indeed an issue of ethics in advertising, and the company does indeed seem to be treading a thin line.

But Kaul does not ignore people’s inclinations. He does not spare such people and their approach towards stereotyping people, stating unequivocally: ‘A country like India is obsessed with fair skin. Beauty is associated with being fair. A high caste status is so associated with being fair. The fairer you are the more eligible you are deemed for marriage’.

Another commentator, Anushay Hossain, in the Sapna magazine states the same. She states, ‘For as long as I can remember, along with thousands of women in Asia, I have been fed a beauty myth so entrenched in our consciousness it is unfortunately often considered a part of our culture: Fairness is beauty and a lighter complexion is your ticket to getting ahead in life, landing the man of your dreams and the job you’ve always desired’.18

Vivek justifies his points by drawing attention to movies and television serials where the heroines are almost always fair-skinned, even in South India. He then makes the troubling point that such arguments are ‘helping propagate old beliefs, which should have died by now’.

What is the reason for this fascination for fair skin? The article in Sapna magazine points to the fact that some sociologists feel that India being under the colonial yoke and being ruled by the fair-skinned Europeans has something to do with it. The article makes an interesting point: ‘While the French ruled by using language as an extensive tool of colonialism, imparting the attitude that if you spoke French, you were French, the British created racial boundaries by instilling the attitude that you will always be inferior because you are not white’.

Others point towards the ‘class complex’ (people from the lower social classes are generally darker-skinned). Hossain then goes on to mention, a trifle sarcastically, ‘Asians, divided by everything from language to ethnicity, actually find some common ground in sharing this deeply rooted cultural belief that lighter skin is more attractive’. She also draws attention to certain words used by people across the Asian continent to dark skin tones: dam tap pet (black like a duck’s liver) in Thailand, kalua in Bengal and other areas of India.

However, let us end with a note of optimism, or more appropriately, cautious optimism. Attitudes may be changing. Well, slowly changing. A pointer comes from heartthrob Bipasha Basu, one of the few dusky heroines to make it big in Bollywood. Evidently, possessing a fair skin may not be a prerequisite after all. But it still helps, unfortunately.

HINDUSTAN UNILEVER LTD: FACTSHEET

Unilever Vision

Unilever states its vision19 to be:

  • Working to create a better future every day.
  • Helping people feel good, look good and get more out of life with brands and services that are good for them and good for others.
  • Inspiring people to take small everyday actions that can add up to a big difference for the world.
  • Developing new ways of doing business that will allow us to double the size of our company while reducing our environmental impact.

Journey in India: A Brief Snapshot

The company traces its origins to 1888, and it states that ‘visitors to the Kolkata harbour noticed crates full of Sunlight soap bars, embossed with the words “Made in England by Lever Brothers”. With it began an era of marketing branded fast moving consumer goods (FMCG)’ (Source: http://www.hul.co.in/).

In 1931, Unilever set up its first subsidiary in India, christened as the Hindustan Vanaspati Manufacturing Company. This was followed by Lever Brothers India Limited in 1933 and United Traders Limited in 1935. In November 1956, the three companies merged to form what was then called Hindustan Lever Limited (now Hindustan Unilever Limited).

Value Creation

The company states that it aims at ‘creating long-term value for our shareholders, our people and our business partners is our road to sustainable and profitable growth’ (Source: http://www.hul.co.in/).

 

Table A1   Hindustan Unilever: Annual Results in Brief20

 

Table A2   Annual Results in Detail

 

Table A3   Balance Sheet: HUL

 

Table A4   Profit and Loss Account

Board of Directors: HUL

This apex body comprises a non-executive chairman, four whole-time directors and five independent nonexecutive directors. The Board of the company represents the optimum mix of professionalism, knowledge and experience.

Harish Manwani—Chairman

Harish Manwani (55) assumed charge as the Non-executive Chairman of the company with effect from 1 July 2005.

Nitin Paranjpe—CEO and Managing Director

Nitin Paranjpe (46), after obtaining a degree in BE (Mechanical) and MBA in Marketing (JBIMS) from Mumbai, joined the company as a management trainee in 1987.

R. Sridhar—Chief Financial Officer

Sridhar Ramamurthy (45) is a chartered accountant (gold medallist) as well as a cost accountant and a company secretary.

Gopal Vittal—Executive Director, Home and Personal Care

Gopal Vittal (42), an alumnus of Madras Christian College, completed his MBA from IIM, Kolkata. Vittal has 18 years’ experience in marketing and sales in FMCG market, including skin care, soaps and laundry.

Pradeep Banerjee—Executive Director, Supply Chain

Pradeep Banerjee (51) joined HUL as a management trainee in 1980.

D. S. Parekh—Independent Director

D. S. Parekh (64) is a B.Com. graduate and holds a FCA degree from England and Wales. Parekh has held senior positions in Grindlays and Chase Manhattan.

A. Narayan—Independent Director

A. Narayan (57) joined ICI India as a management trainee in 1973 and grew through diverse functions and businesses before being appointed as the Managing Director of ICI India in 1996.

S. Ramadorai—Independent Director

S. Ramadorai (64) is the Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Tata Consultancy Services Limited, Chairman of Tata Technologies Limited and Chairman of CMC Limited.

Dr R. A. Mashelkar—Independent Director

Dr R. A. Mashelkar (66) is presently the president of Global Research Alliance, a network of publicly funded R&D institutes from Asia-Pacific, Europe and USA.

Management Committee of HUL

The day-to-day management of affairs of the company is vested with the Management Committee, which is subjected to the overall superintendence and control of the Board.

The Management Committee is headed by Nitin Paranjpe and has functional heads as its members, representing various functions of the company.

Nitin Paranjpe—CEO and Managing Director

Nitin Paranjpe (46), after obtaining a degree in BE (Mechanical) and a MBA in Marketing (JBIMS) from Mumbai, joined the company as a management trainee in 1987.

R. Sridhar Ramamurthy—Chief Financial Officer

Sridhar Ramamurthy (45) is a chartered accountant (gold medallist) as well as a cost accountant and a company secretary.

Shreejit Mishra—Executive Director, Foods

Shreejit Mishra (44) joined HUL on 1 June 1987. His 20-year experience in the company comprises stints in general management, marketing innovation and activation, brand and services development, sales management and project management.

Gopal Vittal—Executive Director, Home and Personal Care

Gopal Vittal (42), an alumnus of Madras Christian College, completed his MBA from IIM, Kolkata. He has 18 years of experience in marketing and sales in the FMCG market, including skin care, soaps and laundry.

Hemant Bakshi—Executive Director

Hemanth Bakshi (44) joined the company in June 1989 and has worked in various sales and marketing assignments spanning across personal products and home care categories.

Pradeep Banerjee—Executive Director, Supply Chain

Pradeep Banerjee (51) joined HUL as a management trainee in 1980.

Leena Nair—Executive Director, HRM

Leena Nair (40) is an electronic engineer who discovered her passion for people and HR and switched lanes. She is a gold medallist and a MBA in HR from XLRI, Jamshedpur.

Dev Bajpai—Executive Director, Legal and Company Secretary

Dev Bajpai (44) is a fellow member of the Institute of Company Secretaries of India and has a law degree from the University of Delhi.

History of the Emami Group

The story of the Emami Group21 begins in the 1970s, when two friends, coincidentally with the same initials, R. S. Agarwal and R. S. Goenka, left their jobs with the Birla Group to take a step into the unknown. They decided to establish their own enterprise, an Ayurvedic medicine and cosmetic manufacturing unit called Kemco Chemicals, in Kolkata. The brand name the two founders chose was Emami.

Leaving cushy jobs and establishing their unit was certainly a bold decision, not least because of the following:

  • The market was dominated by MNCs with deep pockets and strong talent.
  • Labour-related and political issues meant that several companies were exiting the state of West Bengal, of which Kolkata is the capital.

Similar to the story of Karsanbhai Patel’s Nirma in far-away Gujarat, the two founders had to work really hard during the initial years. They went around from shop to shop trying to sell their products, using hand-pulled rickshaws, which was a major means of transport in those days in Kolkata. Gradually, the sales of the products increased. Distributors were appointed, and the products began to be sold not only in Kolkata, but in the rest of West Bengal and later across the country. The company’s talcum powder and vanishing cream became popular. Advertising helped, and people began to identify with the signature tune of Emami played over radio and television sets.

Growth also came the inorganic way when, in 1978, the company acquired Himani Ltd, that had become a sick unit, even as it enjoyed a reasonable brand equity in eastern India. The acquisition was to culminate in the launch of the Boroplus Antiseptic Cream under the Himani umbrella in 1984. This was followed by brand extensions such as Boroplus Prickly Heat Powder. Today, Boroplus is sold in India, Russia, Ukraine, Nepal and other countries.

Another big brand was launched after some time—the Navratna Cool Oil, once again under the umbrella of Himani. A second factory was opened in the south Indian territory of Pondicherry to expand production.

In 1998, the merger of Emami Ltd and Himani Ltd was completed under the name of the former. It was in 2005 that Emami launched the fairness cream called Fair and Handsome, targeting men directly with a fairness product for the first time.

A Health Care Division was introduced in 2006. Besides Boroplus and Navratna, the company has several brands in its portfolio today—SonaChandi Chyawanprash, Menthoplus and Fast Relief are some of them. More recently, Emami decided to acquire a major stake in Zandu Pharmaceutical Works. This means that Zandu’s brands such as Zandu Balm, Zandu Chyawanprash, Zandu Kesri Jeevan, Zandu Pancharishta, Sudarshan and Nityam Churna now also fall under the group’s umbrella.

WEB SITES

 

http://business.rediff.com/report/2010/may/20/fairness-cream-market-targets-men.htm

http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/catalyst/2010/05/20/stories/2010052050060100.htm