We are a country obsessed with fair complexion. Unsurprisingly, cosmetic brands unabashedly pitch their products based on the promise of making skin fairer, a trend that continues to stigmatise dark complexion.
However, Baba Ramdev’s Patanjali took this whole marketing gimmick over fairness cream to a new low with an advertisement that describes dark as a skin ailment.
In a recently published ad in a leading daily, the Haridwar based FMCG company described the medical benefits of a ‘beauty cream’ and listed dark complexion under skin aliments
“Possesses the benefits of wheat germ oil, turmeric, aloe-vera, and basil etc. which are extremely beneficial for skin ailments like dry skin, dark complexion and wrinkles. Patanjali beauty cream is not just another cream but is a skin nourishment tonic and treatment. It gives you the confidence of 100% natural beauty. Try it yourself and suggest to your family and friends,” the advertisement said.
The ad also took a dig at other MNCs claiming that the cream would boost the confidence of consumers who can enjoy “100% natural beauty”.
“Products made by MNCs are full of chemicals, while Patanjali products are natural and are cheaper by 25-50 percent”.
A Twitter user who goes by the handle @beastoftraal brought the ad to the attention of social media users.
No Baba Ramdev… ‘dark complexion’ is NOT a skin ailment. Did Tarun Vijay write your ad? pic.twitter.com/laHsUVjFGL
— Karthik (@beastoftraal) January 8, 2018
“For a brand that almost always starts its advertising by bad-mouthing ‘those MNC companies’ as looters and calls itself as ‘100% purity and 100% charity’ (the tactic sure seems to be working for them given their spectacular success in the recent past), Patanjali seems to be toeing the line of MNC beauty brands in framing dark skin as a problem.” he said in a series of Tweets.
Soon, the group’s founder Baba Ramdev was at the receiving end of a Twitter onslaught.
Babaji not appreciated !!!! Kindly change the advert
— LUCKY_ (@ahmednkhan) January 9, 2018
Oh bhaisaab hum sab Bachpan se bimar hain!!
— Ritu Nagri (@RituNagri) January 8, 2018
Outrageous. As if his skin is super white!
So he should sell it as a beauty thing instead of an ailment like the rest of the corporates? What you are saying his he needs a better ad agency and lawyers.
— Bala (@sbchandar) January 8, 2018
Every advertiser should make Ad with responsibility and not to hurt any sentiments, half of Indians have dark skin and its not disease at all. Ads to make Fair skin must be banned here like other countries,
bcoz d real Beauty is in the Mind nd not in d Face…
— TEJASH NAYAK (@TEJASHNAYAK1) January 9, 2018
Soon, Ramdev took to Twitter to clarify that it was a translation error and that he is against discrimination based on colour.
We approved the word – ‘Skin Complications’ (_____ __ _____), which by error, got changed in translation/copy-writing. I always talked about maintaining natural beauty and never supported color discrimination.
— Swami Ramdev (@yogrishiramdev) January 9, 2018
Interestingly, two years ago, Ramdev had announced that multinational companies were in India to sell fairness creams to the public.