Treading on that Fine Line? - Caselets in Marketing Ethics

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Case Details:

Case Code : MKTG186
Case Length : 14 pages
Period : 2006-2008
Pub Date : 2008
Teaching Note :Not Available
Organization : Emami Ltd.; Pfizer Inc.; Facebook.
Industry : Fast Moving Consumer Goods; Pharmaceutical; Social Media.
Countries : India/ USA

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Please note:

This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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Caselet 1: Emami's Marketing of Men's Fairness Creams

"These products and their advertisements reinforce an old Southeast Asian bias that you have to be fair to be beautiful... Sunscreens, skin-whitening, fairness creams - they are all the same."1

- Prahlad Kakkar, Advertising Consultant and Ad Guru, in 2007.

"Everyone wants to look better. What's the difference between a woman using lipstick, Europeans using skin-tan lotion, and an Indian skin-lightening cream?"2

- Alyque Padamsee, Advertising Consultant and Ad Guru, in 2007.

In 2007, leading Bollywood3 actor, Shahrukh Khan (Khan), was roped in by Emami Ltd.4 (Emami) to endorse its fairness cream for men, 'Fair and Handsome'.

The ads renewed the smoldering debate on the ethics of skin-lightening products.

For most Indians, as for South Asians as a whole, a fair complexion has been a much desired asset and their quest for a lighter skin had prompted many Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) behemoths to venture into the business of manufacturing and marketing skin-lightening products, such as fairness creams, lotions, cold creams, and soaps...

Caselet 2: Pfizer's Marketing of Lipitor - Next Page>>

1] Parul Gupta, "Indian Men Go for the Light Look to Win Women,", September 7, 2007.

2] Ruth David, "All's Fair in Love and Bollywood," Forbes, August 24, 2007.

3] Bollywood is the informal name given to the popular Mumbai-based Hindi-language film industry in India. It is one of the largest film producers in the world, producing more than 1,000 films a year, with an audience of 3.6 billion people.

4] Emami Ltd. (Emami) is the FMCG arm of the Kolkata, India-based Emami Group. In addition to cosmetics and toiletries, the group had interests in healthcare, paper, writing material, etc. Emami posted revenue of Rs. 5.16 billion in 2006-07. (Source: "Emami sees 15 pct revenue growth in FY08,", September 25, 2007.)


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