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How Not To Do Empowerment Right - A 'Glow & Lovely' Case Study

I know, I know. We’ve all had enough of the fairness cream discourse, nothing new about there.

But you know what we haven’t had enough of? A “glow” cream discourse (ok sorry bad joke).

Anyway, this blogpost is about Fair & Lovely’s rather unlovely rebrand into “Glow & Lovely” and the promotional video for this campaign.


It’s clear right from the start that they’re actively trying to construct an ‘empowerment narrative’ to address the backlash that they may have faced. This is evident from the video description on Youtube, as well as the content of the video itself, which I will get into in a few seconds.

Now lets break the song down one by one.

Starting with The Name:

“Mitti Ke Sau Rung."

Sounds progressive enough. Seems like they’re finally willing to acknowledge that there are other skin tones and complexions than your standard gora.

A step in the right direction? Maybe.

The Video:

Full of seemingly “empowered” women in professions ranging from football to dhol to motorbiking- all traditionally male dominated.

Bringing these women to the forefront? Also a step in the right direction.

The Lyrics:

Kinda your average corny motivational fight song “mushkilen aati rahein tumnay larr jaana hai” etc. etc. but chalo, we can give them points for trying.

The Problem:

By now you're probably wondering: gaana acha, video achi, intention achi, phir masla kya hai?

Masla ye hai that in their attempt to highlight female empowerment, “Glow” and Lovely is forgetting all that it actually stands for.

And here’s the most obvious example:

Despite the title of the song, 4/6 women in the video are fair-skinned. Shocking!

In a capitalistic world, there’s only so far a rebranding can go in terms of covering up your core beliefs and practices. At the end of the day, their product remains the same, regardless of whether or not they use buzzwords like diversity and equality to promote it.

While the video and lyrics are good as stand-alone media products, they seem to be very inconsistent with the brand itself, which also ends up undermining the message they’re trying to put out.

To me, this entire commercial reads something like ‘yes you can choose any sort of profession you want, but only if you’re fair enough for society’s liking’.

We will empower you, but not before putting you down for something else first.


What are your thoughts on this ad and the notion of empowerment its trying to promote? Is there anything you would have done differently or do you think this is good as it stands? Would love to discuss more in the comments!

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