“Fair & Lovely” Advert and Its Business Ethics

Is it ethical to sell a product that is, at best, only mildly effective?

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Desired quality and exact quantity are two important things that product manufacturers must always observe and maintain in their production strategies. A product that is mildly effective contrary to the perceptions and expectations of consumers is of low quality, as it does not meet the standards that customers expect.

Selling a mildly effective product contrary to the expectations of consumers as depicted from either its branding or advertisements, is a form of marketing deception that is also unlawful and unethical. The reason why companies and governments have quality control systems is to ensure standard products that meet safety measures and consumer demands. Deceptive adverts are illegal because they mislead consumers.

Local adverts in many nations that fail to justify product quality and meet the expected standards normally attract state intervention, where legislative actions and applicable laws intervene to ensure justice in business practices. Since adverts are the ones that create awareness about an availed product and its characteristics, as well as values to consumers, deceptive adverts for low quality products breach the established ethical principles. Depending on the intended use where the meaning of its effectiveness would originate, offering mildly effective products to consumers is a business malpractice against business code of ethics and standards. Hence, legal actions must always apply to any deceptive advertisement to protect consumers.

Is it ethical to exploit cultural norms and values to promote a product?

It is not ethical to exploit cultural norms and values for the sake of promoting a product. Any company operating in the modern markets must understand that the markets are currently full of an assortment of people with differing cultures, practicing different cultural norms and values. Whether in Asia or America or even Europe, markets have people with different cultural norms and dissimilar purchasing powers.

Modern companies tend to produce goods and services that are sellable internationally, as the globalization of businesses continues to be an important aspect of multinational companies, which are targeting global markets. Advertising or promoting a business product with prejudice towards certain culture, creed, religious group, or caste is an unethical business practice.

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As evident from the case of Fair & Lovely, the advert seems to demean the black women because of their race and portrays the Asian patriarchal social order, where men are family providers and women homemakers. Noticeably, the advert does educe public reactions that consisted of the potential buyers and public. Globally ethics of business and marketing requires companies to understand the essence of cultural disparity and treatment of people with respect and dignity, because prejudice or any form of abuse degrades humanity.

Is the advertising of Fair & Lovely demeaning to women or is it portraying a dissimilar product?

The advert is both demeaning and portraying a dissimilar product in an exaggerated manner. The advert of Fair & Lovely seems over-exaggerated and at the same time, demeans the gender of women in terms of their socioeconomic prowess and social class. The advert of Fair & Lovely that touts the product as a miracle skincare product seems to exaggerate extremely its power on women beauty as some of the women using the skincare product dissociate from the notion that Fair & Lovely changes skin appearance. In some instances in the case, impressions from Indian female hair designers and some ardent consumers, who regularly use the product, tend to criticize Fair & Lovely based on her personal consumer experience.

Not only does the advert appear exaggerated, but it also seems to demean women. Women have their careers where they practice their professional expertise not based on their beauty and looks. While hiring or employing workers, companies seek expertise from both genders and professional qualification is mandatory to both genders. Indicating that Fair & Lovely products make women beautiful and thus become employable is unethical and generally insults working women as it depicts that the employment of women relies upon their physical look rather than their professional competence. Logically, facial appearance rarely makes women employable, as current human resource managers are keen on professionalism.

Will HUL’s Fair & Lovely Foundation counter charges made by AIDWA?

The foundation will not counter charges made by AIDWA because it deems uneasy to refute them since the marketing strategies had already breached the Indian legal norms that govern corporate practices. Global corporate ethics, which govern product promotion, stipulate that organizations remain solely responsible for their unethical marketing practices. The claims of the AIDWA through the Human Rights Commission have the support of the Indian constitution and the Ministry of Information, which oppose the marketing strategies that HUL used in product promotion. It is illegal in India to advertise or promote a company’s product, while contravening the national laws that govern corporate practices.

The marketing and advertising strategies employed in promoting the Fair & Lovely brand breached the Indian legal principles, which control corporate marketing practices in television networks. The three counts of charges filed against HUL Company are valid under the Indian Cable and Television Networks Act of 1995. The charges against HUL Company state that it unlawfully advertised its product, while breaching the Cable and Television Networks Act of 1995, which prohibits adverts that disdain race, color, caste, creed, or even the nationality of any Indian resident. The act also prohibits product adverts that portray women as submissive to their husbands or in compliance to the social familial order.

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In light of AIDWA’s charges, how would you suggest Fair & Lovely promote its product? Discuss.

Given the controversial advert that seems to create a bad impression already, it would be imperative if Fair & Lovely Company considers a different and more ethical product advertising strategy. After going through the court process and facing charges against adverting malpractices, the company may begin experiencing shortfalls resulting from the impact of the destroyed market reputation. A significant product promotion or marketing strategy that would fit the situation of HUL Company is the product development marketing strategy. This form of marketing technique normally seeks to create or reinvent the product and integrate new characteristics that appeal to consumers due to the notion of having new or additional benefits.

Would your response be different if Fairever continues to use ‘fairness’ as a theme of its promotion? Discuss.

Through the product development strategy that may attract a considerable number of consumers to continue using Fair & Lovely beauty products, it would deem imperative for the HUL Company to avoid any confrontation with its closest competitor, Fairever Company. Fairever might have strategized a plan to use the downfall of its competitor to hit the market. Hence, avoidance of squabbles with Fairever Company, through the product development marketing strategy, would greatly help HUL to regain its reputation and penetrate into the competitive market. The fairness strategy is solely a foundational business strategy for Fairever that Fair & Lovely needs not to imitate, but rather formulate a unique marketing strategy, the product development marketing strategy. Since marketing imitation is unlawful, creation of unique and innovative products is an effective way of product promotion.

Propose a promotion/marketing program that will counter all the arguments and charges against Fair &Lovely and be an effective program.

With the growing importance of social media platforms, marketing is becoming easier and effective through the social media websites. Integration of the product development marketing strategy would slightly change the disdained product perception to affirmative receptions due to the notion of additional benefits to the customers. Additionally, setting a marketing plan through social media and ceasing from the television networks for sometime provides a strategic way of penetrating the competitive markets. As millions youths and trendy women use major social media networks, targeting them in the social platforms and explaining the value-added aspect of the HUL product, would generate positive market reception and customer feedback that would result in immense returns.

Based on CavinKare’s statement of values and beliefs, how would you evaluate its advertising/marketing programs?

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CavinKare seems to have a business strategy that suits the company goals and clientele care. The virtue of integrity as articulated by CavinKare helps the company and its management to remain committed towards meeting their goals and customer demands. Simultaneous with its values and beliefs, the advertising strategies that CavinKare practices seem to consider moral virtues and marketing ethics that are significant to its promotion techniques. One of the most important values and beliefs of CavinKare is fairness in its business operations because it considers dealing with people within and out of the organization impartially. Fairness is evident in one of its advertising strategies, CavinKare father-daughter protagonist advert.

By depicting a father encouraging his daughter to remain ambitious and goal oriented irrespective of her complexion, this commercial advert considers several issues that make women always lament. The advert portrays a sense of women empowerment, equity in socioeconomic power, and encourages women’s independence, despite their gender and skin complexion. Such kind of adverts portrays CavinKare as a company that has maintained its stand on commercial advertisements and promotions. In its service charter, CavinKare vows to follow all the stipulated laws, cultural norms, business ethical principles, and fair business procedures for ethical management. Nonetheless, one failure of its programs is that CavinKare is indirectly using mockery and scorning its closest competitor, Fair & Lovely.

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