It’s no secret that Indians obsess over a fair complexion. Advertisements of fairness creams dominate primetime screen space and occupy reams of print. Countless beauty solutions available in the market promise to fix our dark faces, knees, elbows, and other parts of the body. It now seems that Baba Ramdev led Patanjali has joined the bandwagon.
A recent ad featuring the darling of the masses, Baba Ramdev, fuels the distasteful thought while marketing Patanjali’s ‘Beauty Cream’ by calling dark complexion a skin ailment. While the advert features an array of beauty products from ‘Saundarya Beauty Lotion’ to an anti-wrinkle cream, the sub-text of the ‘Beauty Cream’ claims to be ‘extremely beneficial for skin ailments like dry skin, dark complexion and wrinkles.
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— Karthik (@beastoftraal) January 8, 2018
toeing the line of MNC beauty brands in framing dark skin as a problem. Only difference - MNC brands have, over time, become clever about how they state this in their communication. Here, Patanjali openly calls 'dark complexion' as a 'skin ailment'. This is severely ironic— Karthik (@beastoftraal) January 8, 2018
given the number of people in India who are naturally born with the so-called 'dark' complexion. The other irony is that the so-called MNC made 'dark complexion' into a confidence/success problem and Patanjali, a proudly Indian brand, is continuing to use that— Karthik (@beastoftraal) January 8, 2018
On a day when social media is aghast at H&M for posting an insensitive product placement, Indian’s needn’t look to far to find severe insensitivities. India has a big problem right here in our backyard. But while H&M is being taken to the cleaners for their mindless positioning, Patanjali’s ad seems to have slipped through the scrutiny of netizens. In the west, several celebrities including The Weeknd and footballer Romelu Lukaku protested against the racist ad but India seems unfazed by so-called godman selling insensitive products under their nose.