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WOW’s petition on Change.org against Fair and Handsome ad garners a one on meet with the top brass of EMAMI
January 18th, 2014, Kolkatta — Women of Worth (WOW) , the Chennai based NGO behind the Dark is Beautiful Campaign, was invited today to a one on one meeting with Mr. Mohan Goenka, Director of Emami Group.
This was in response to a petition drive on Change.org against Fair and Handsome ad which has garnered more than 25000 online signatures from across the length and breadth of the country and even from many countries across the world, notably Pakistan, Middle Eastern countries, a few African nations, USA, Australia, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, and UK.
At a closed door meeting in EMAMI’s headquarters in Kolkata with Mr. Goenka, Director, EMAMI and Ms. Mahasweta Sen, GM, Corporate Communications, Ms. Kavitha Emmanuel, Founder Director, Women of Worth, requested EMAMI to consider removing the Fair and Handsome advertisement from television screens, hoardings and magazines. She further challenged Mr. Goenka to lead the change in the current trend in fairness–products marketing and make a difference by addressing the issue of skin colour bias in the nation head on.
In response Mr. Goenka said that the advertisement will continue as they are meeting a need in the society based on their market research. He believes whitening is a global phenomenon and a trend and changing mindsets might be impossible. During the discussion he stressed how preference for fair skin has been there for generations and changing it now did not make sense. When quizzed about the 25,000 petitioners who are saying that the ad is discriminatory he said, ‘in a country with billion people I cannot answer every individual’s petition!’
“If people want to be like Shah Rukh Khan, there is nothing wrong with it. If they want to be fair, it is an aspiration,” he said. Ms. Mahasweta Sen added that ‘if the cream is helping people be more confident, what is wrong with that?’
Talking about the future of this campaign, Ms. Emmanuel added, “We hope that brands and brand ambassadors will listen to the united voices that are calling for new attitudes and new products that appreciate and celebrates the diverse skin tones in a land of 1.2 billion shades of skin. The campaign will continue to address the issue of skin colour bias and tackle unfair advertising practises with the Advertising Standards Council of India and the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.”
About WOW: Women of Worth (WOW) is a network empowering women to be agents of change. Based in Chennai, WOW trains students in soft skills such as media literacy, gender issues and personality development. WOW initiated the “Dark is Beautiful” campaign in 2009.
Media Contact: Lydia Durairaj , +919940358429