Pond’s – the new Fair & Lovely?

A New York based pharmacist Theron T Pond is credited with the invention of Pond’s in 1846. Pond’s Cold Cream and Vanishing Cream was launched in 1914 in USA. Pond’s became a part of the Unilever family in 1987. The brand is available in India from 1947 and current it’s an international beauty icon with presence in 58 countries across the world. The brand offers two main products: cream and talcum powder.

Pond’s Cream:
Historically the positioning of Pond’s Cream is not very consistent. Though the core of Pond’s is softness or gentleness they unsuccessfully tried to position in the quick-action fairness segment for a short duration during 1980s. For example following ad of Pond’s cold cream says: “Find your real complexion in 7 days”.

http://lh6.ggpht.com/_HaPYpxH4XaI/SvyPQMCVnWI/AAAAAAAABB8/RM3oC4AnSpI/ponds_real%20complexion.jpg
It was good that HUL realized that one brand cannot do everything and the job of making girls fair was given to the brand ‘Fair & Lovely”.

Currently, the benefits of Pond’s cold cream i.e. of smooth and soft skin are promoted in ADs with soft skin of good looking girls being pinched by relatives with love. The tagline of the product is: ‘Komal Chera Pyar Se Bole’ i.e. ‘Soft and lovely skin”.

Pond’s Talc:
The main benefit that this product claims to provide is magical fragrance. This is propagated in ADs with guys becoming romantic by smelling the fragrance of Pond’s Talc used by girls. The tagline of the product is: ‘Yeh Khusboo Hain Ya Zadoo’ i.e. “It’s not just fragnance, it’s magic”.

Pond’s Age Miracle:
Recently Pond’s is promoted as a key brand in the lucrative anti-aging segment with the launch of ‘Pond’s Age Miracle’ range. It has also introduced 750 counters across 74 cities where more than 1000 well-trained advisors will help consumers to find advises on best skin care for their skin.

Apart from regular promotions and advertising Pond’s used event sponsorship in a big way. They were the main sponsor of Beauty Contest Femina Miss India till Pantaloons took over as the main sponsor of the event. As Pond’s is targeted to women and is in beauty industry – sponsoring a beauty content made perfect sense for the brand.

ponds_kareena

Very recently Pond’s Lotion is again trying to position itself in the skin whitening segment with a positioning similar to Fair & Lovely. You might want to read my earlier post “Is marketing meant for exploiting the consumers?” in this context.

The following 2008 ad of Pond’s talks the story of a girl, her boyfriend and a second girl. The story says the guy leaves the first girl because she is not white enough. And, the end suggests that use Pond’s to get ‘White Beauty’.

Now, I do not understand what the hell is this ‘White Beauty’! While for the decades Pond’s talked about soft-nourished skin as beautiful why they are now talking about ‘White Beauty’? It is simply an unethical strategy to exploit the innocent girls in a country like India where the natural skin color is not very white. And I don’t think the not-so-white skin color makes Indian girls less beautiful by any means. In fact, what I find more ironical in the ad is that the girl who was ditched initially because of not having ‘White Beauty’ is Priyanka Chopra – a former miss world and now a famous bollywood megastar whereas the other girl Neha Dhupia is just a B-grade bollywood actress. Priyanka is already so beautiful that Pond’s pays her in millions to become the brand ambassador and I’m sure she needs no Pond’s to remain beautiful. The above ad is the first in a series of a 5 ad campaign where in the end they show Priyanka gets back her boyfriend (i.e. Saif Ali Khan) after becoming ‘White Beauty’ by using Pond’s! Now I doubt what will happen if Neha, the other girl also starts using Pond’s and may be in higher proportion! Let us know what do you think? We would love to hear back from you. 😀

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About Dr. Angshu

Dr. Angshu is the founder and owner of TNMG: The Next Marketing Guru. He is a PhD and MBA in Marketing from XLRI Jamshedpur. Currently he is leading large scale marketing, research & analytics projects as part of Strategy & Insights team at Star India, India’s no. 1 Media & Entertainment company. In his last job, he was heading Consumer Insights function for Spice Group. Earlier he has worked for Wipro Technologies and managed IT projects for marketing division of a Fortune 100 company. Dr. Angshu is a Visiting Professor at XLRI and IMT Ghaziabad. He has published multiple research papers on marketing, social media and luxury consumption. Recently he has published a book titled “Influence 2.0: How Social Media WOM Influences You" published by reputed international publishing house Lambert Publishing. Other than work and academics, he is a social media addict, big foodie and amateur pianist. You can contact him by: Gmail | Facebook | LinkedIn

3 thoughts on “Pond’s – the new Fair & Lovely?

  1. Does this mean that Indians are third rate people? and is this still the white man thinking he is still the king of the hill. We will do anything to chase is tail?. Is money more important to Priyanka Chopra and saif Ali Khan the been an Indian? SURELY Indians must feel inferior when they meet white people, knowing that white people know that Indians will do anything to be like them.

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