Emami questions Hindustan Unilever's fairness over skin cream rebranding

In response to Emami’s claim, HUL said it was “fully conscious” of its rights and position and will protect it fully in all appropriate fora.
Consumer goods company Emami, which is the maker of the ‘Fair & Handsome’ brand of products, on Thursday said it was shocked to know that competitor Hindustan Unilever (HUL) had rebranded its men’s skincare range as ‘Glow & Handsome’.

Emami said it had trademark rights over the name and that it was consulting legal experts on the matter.  “We are shocked to learn of HUL’s decision to rename its men’s range of Fair & Lovely as Glow & Handsome. We are the market leaders in the men’s fairness cream with legal ownership of the trademark,” Emami said in a statement.

“We have already launched a week back our brand ‘Emami Glow & Handsome’ digitally and necessary application has already been made to the relevant authorities,” it said. 

HUL on Thursday said it had rebranded its popular skincare brand Fair & Lovely as Glow & Lovely after dropping the word ‘fair’ in its name.

“Over the next few months, Glow & Lovely will be on the shelves, and future innovations will deliver on this new proposition,” the company said in a statement, putting to an end speculation about the new name.

In response to Emami’s claim, HUL said it was “fully conscious” of its rights and position and will protect it fully in all appropriate fora.

HUL’s move had followed intense scrutiny of the fairness category in India, following the global BlackLivesMatter movement triggered by the death of George Floyd in the US. 

Johnson & Johnson was the first global major to blink, exiting the fairness category in India and West Asia last week.

Rival L’Oreal, too, will replace ‘white’ with ‘glow’ for some products, the cosmetic group’s chief executive officer Jean-Paul Agon told investors in a shareholders’ meeting this week.

“We’re adapting our vocabulary to meet changing expectations and attitudes,” Agon said. “For a long time, these products were called whitening, or fairness, and were increasingly being less appreciated by local consumers,” he said.

Emami and HUL have been fierce competitors in the Rs 5,000-crore fairness category in India, claiming leadership of the market. Part of this problem stems from the usage of fairness creams by both men and women, said experts. 

While Fair & Lovely was launched in 1975, Fair & Handsome was unveiled in 2005. Both companies now straddle both the men’s and women’s fairness categories in the country.

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