In a refreshing role reversal, it is the guy who brings in the chai as the girl sizes him up. Then, he goes as far as to exhibit his singing and dancing skills to her family. Finally, she approves of him. Revolutionary and tongue-in-cheek, the ad depicts that the on-screen avatar of the New Age Woman has finally come a full circle, what with fairness creams giving it its due.
The 'get fair to attract a groom' plank is being reworked with 'enhance your self-confidence' so that a potential groom himself begs for attention. Come Saturday, a new generation of fairness cream ads will be unveiled, courtesy CavinKare.
"We want to be fair - pun intended - to the Indian women," says CavinKare V-P (marketing) Ramesh Vishwanathan. "The Fairever brand has upturned the marriage plank and focused on enhancing self-confidence to succeed in life.
The Fairever girl is an attempt at typifying the modern Indian woman, who has more than just marriage on her mind. She is career-oriented, aspirational and at the same time, wants to look good. Fairever has consciously followed this approach since its launch in 1998 to be seen differently from the market leader," explains Mr Vishwanathan.
He says CavinKare's approach saw competitors tweak their communication strategy to fall in line with a socially more acceptable plank. Fairever's new ad, developed by Orchard, will be unveiled later this week.
Says HLL V-P (skincare) Ashok Venkataramani: "Brand Fair & Lovely (FAL) shed the marriage plank a long time ago. FAL now focuses on the benefits plank - independent and empowered."
The domestic market for fairness products - the largest in the world - is estimated between Rs 1,100/1,300 crore. For millions of women in India, a fairness cream is also the first interface with make-up and moisturisers.
"Fairness creams are not popular only in Asia. Skin lightening products represent a growing market globally, be it Japan, China or Europe. World over, surveys have revealed that most of us would like to be a shade fairer than our natural skin tone, and hence, the increasing popularity of fairness creams even for men," explains Mr Venkataramani.
However, it has taken a lot more than self-realisation from industry players to drop the not-so subtle reminders about how a lighter skin tone is a pre-requisite for success.
Increasing public criticism in the last couple of years saw the category leader FAL forced to withdraw its controversial ads. So, while it has been a really long wait, companies are now taking baby steps to treat consumers in a fair manner.