The Enigma

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Saturday, November 24, 2007

Metrosexual Men, eh?!

The Man, The Machine... to The Man, The Mush... Herald the dawn of the new metrosexual man of the country. Indian male once carried the persona of being a hard worker, someone who cared for his family and his pocket but the last thing he cared for was his face. Times are changing, and now the man, who suavely terms himself metro sexual, or at least those who would like to get bracketed into that cadre give great importance to their looks today. To me, it seems sad that people tend to knot Metro sexual status with their looks.

Back to our topic, probably the marketers of various consumer goods companies were running short of ideas, they created a new segment in Men targetting them for fairness. As if asking Indian women to be fair to be beautiful wasn't atrocious, they took it up a step further and are asking men to be fair to be handsome. And who better than our 'I am here for every kind of ad' SRK to promote this nonsense. Probably to cash in on the urban men, they even have a website. I seriously have no clue what it is for! There is none to blame for this phenomenon but the Indian consumer. Ethics and emotions apart, it is an interesting Brand segment to study.

Late back in 2004, HLL(then as it was called) realised 20% of the users of its product Fair and lovely were men, which as per Fair and Lovely's total sale of Rs. 500 Crore amounted to Rs. 100 Crore. That was too lucrative a market not to pay heed to! The phenomenon was observed by other companies like Cavin Kare and Emami too, but it took time to come up with brands and when they came out, they all flooded the market at about the same time.

HLL started thorough market scrutiny for Men's fairness cream market in 2005, which can be found in this report. Finally, in 2005, Emami came up with Fair and Handsome and Kaya Skin Clinic was one of the pioneers in getting men into the fairness circle. Fortunately or unfortunately, my geographical orientations aside, Southern states were the first and biggest markets for these products. Today Fair and Lovely, Fair One included, almost every Indian brand has ventured into Men's Fairness care segment.

Male Vanity hasn't ended at that place, though! Players like Nivea have entered this sector with specialised 5-action fairness cream, and is cashing in on male grooming as a whole. Other players like Garnier and Set Wet are raking in the moolah using the mantra of Male Grooming. Grooming though isn't as pathetic as fairness.

The good and bad aside, one great thing about this phenomenon is that this is the best brand finding I have seen in the recent times. The nascent need of the customer, however justified or unjustified, was always there and the companies realised and are riding high on the boom and setting their cash boxes on an overloading jitter. Now, ethics, emotions and other things aside, this sure is an awesome case of what great Marketing is all about!

For all those men, fair and unfair, out there, watch out... Its your turn to be pampered now!

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At November 27, 2007 7:49 AM, Blogger a blue eyed girl said...
hey buddy u have an award waiting for u. :)

At November 27, 2007 2:33 PM, Blogger Sangeetha said...

hey.....u were being a little too mean on SRK! c'mon....even AB does it :P

this is indeed a marketing innovation! a great one after a long time...wont be surprised if there is a HBS case study on it 3-4 yrs down the line

At November 27, 2007 7:36 PM, Blogger shikha said...

ohh i find dat "fair n handsome" the most ridiculous ad of the century...

the whole thing about "fair" gurls , "fair " guys is soooo soooo stupid!!!
i mean its not funny how ppl fall for such thing..and i really wonder , when ll ppl actually know wats "beautiful" and wats not...

and any guy who s using any of dese products is advised to stay farrrrrr awy from me,...!!makes me crazy!!

At November 28, 2007 9:38 AM, Blogger desh said...

dont blame srk, even rajni did it in sivaji, remember the sequence whr shreya denies and then he tries so many thngs to change his complexion...

thngs like this work in india, sometime sad to know but at the end of the day it works...

abt metrosexual thng, guys moving beyond tht now, did u see ranbeer kapoor's ultra-thin towel dance, TOI said tht he the new gay icon...

sometimes i think it shud better stop at being metrosexual...:)

At December 13, 2007 12:30 PM, Blogger Prasoon said...

I am here for every kind of ad - not just SRK but even Amitabh is on that if you notice. Just that hez playing his age and not getting into fairness creams but otherwise, what was that Boroplus ad n Amitabh as the ambassador. too much!

At December 17, 2007 6:36 PM, Blogger arpana said...

hmm, the fact is, the media and the companies have falsified the entire meaning of the words "personality" and "grooming"; and if all these fairness creams worked, you would not have the word "wheatish complexion" in the lexicon at all :)

good read though.


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