Advocacy Initiatives

Petition To Emami

On January 18, 2014, the Dark Is Beautiful team delivered a petition of 30.000 signatures to cosmetic company Emami, calling on them to withdraw a particularly discriminatory advert for Fair and Handsome.

They met with Mr.Goenka, MD of the Emami group in Kolkata. In response to this, Emami’s managing director said,”There is a need in our society for fairness creams, so we are meeting that need.” He refused to withdraw the ad.

Petition To The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI)

In June 2014, Dark is Beautiful lobbied against adverts that discriminate against dark skin and called for the Advertising Council of India (ASCI) to legislate guidelines that would stop advertisements of fairness products.  As a result, a new set of guidelines were put into place by ASCI for advertisers.

The following guidelines are now being used when creating and assessing advertisements in this category:
  • Advertising should not communicate any discrimination as a result of skin colour. These ads should not reinforce negative social stereotyping on the basis of skin colour. Specifically, advertising should not directly or implicitly show people with darker skin, in a way which is widely seen as, unattractive, unhappy, depressed or concerned. These ads should not portray people with darker skin, in a way which is widely seen as, at a disadvantage of any kind, or inferior, or unsuccessful in any aspect of life particularly in relation to being attractive to the opposite sex, matrimony, job placement, promotions and other prospects.
  • In the pre-usage depiction of product, special care should be taken to ensure that the expression of the model/s in the real and graphical representation should not be negative in a way which is widely seen as unattractive, unhappy, depressed or concerned.
  • Advertising should not associate darker or lighter colour skin with any particular socio-economic strata, caste, community, religion, profession or ethnicity.
  • Advertising should not perpetuate gender based discrimination because of skin colour.

Source: ASCI

The Advertising Standards Council of India also upheld complaints against various ads, including the following because they failed to substantiate their claims:

  • Himalaya’s face care line promised to deliver skin “Free from dark spots.”
  • Emami’s BoroPlus Anti-Pollution Daily Facewash advertised “Fair, Healthy, Glowing Skin in just 3 days.”
  • Meglow Premium Fairness Cream claimed to deliver “New glow and natural fairness.”

Report Discriminatory Advertising

Have you noticed an offensive or discriminatory advertisement related to skin colour on the TV or internet?

Celebrities Who Have Supported Our Campaign