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getting it culturally right July 19, 2010

Posted by nicholas gill in app, facebook, skin lightening, social media, unilever, vaseline.

Unilever brand Vaseline has launched a Facebook application that allows users to change their skin tone by lightening it. Inevitably there are some that are getting upset by this. But there’ll always be the negative voices out there; one of the joys/pains of the interweb.

I’ll be honest and tell you I was completely oblivious to this skin-whitening cultural reference until I worked on the Unilever account at Ogilvy and we were running through the various strategic plans from around the world and the whitening cream popped up. Fortunately I wasn’t the only one in the room new to the business, so the Asia reps went into great detail about the asian (and no, not just Indian) market having a preference for whiter skin; the complete opposite of the Western world where a Californian tan is desired and indeed referenced as “looking well/healthy”. There are all sorts of creams that not only nourish your skin but also whiten the skin; much as there are creams that give us a healthy tanned glow in the UK and US.

Personally I think this is a great example of dramatising the product benefits in a digital way and being culturally relevant to a local market rather than a one size fits all global machine. And well done to Unilever for not relying on the staples of press advertising and doing something interesting.

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1. Rob Mortimer - August 25, 2010

It’s the same as it used to be in Britain. Dark skin was a sign of working outdoors doing manual labour, so light skin became a sign of wealth.

It only changed here when holidays in the sun became a marker of wealth.

2. MO123 - May 29, 2011

Love this advert

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