Some celebrities have become more socially conscious in the age of mass media — but some appear to have no qualms about shirking this for big bucks.
In the sub-continent, the insensitive marketing of fairness products – and the trend of their celebrity endorsement – has been met with a harsh backlash, yet the trend continues unabated.
The latest Bollywood star to endorse a fairness product is none other than theBang Bang actor, Hrithik Roshan, who has stepped in as the second celebrity brand ambassador of the Emami ‘Fair and Handsome’ face wash, reports Indian Express.
Previously, Shah Rukh Khan had endorsed the same product during a career-high, following the record-breaking success of Chennai Express in late 2013. As a reaction to his endorsement, actress Nandita Das, who is known to refuse roles that ask for the lightening of her skin, became the face of Women of Worth’s Dark Is Beautiful campaign, which has gained traction since.
At the time, the campaign asked the ad be retracted and called on Shah Rukh Khan to promote responsible advertising. Despite their efforts, Emami has succeeded in roping in yet another Bollywood star to endorse the same product.
Other celebrity endorsers of fairness products include John Abraham for Garnier’s men’s range of fairness creams, Shahid Kapoor for Vaseline’s fairness cream, among a host of actresses like Sonam Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra, Deepika Padukone and Katrina Kaif for L’oreal, Ponds, Neutrogena and Olay respectively.
Locally, A-lister Fawad Khan has been the face of more than a few skin lightening brands, notably a Fair and Lovely facewash for men.
That didn’t spark off the kind of controversy ignited by TV personality Zubaida Tariq, whose skin whitening soap, sold with the tagline ‘Ab gora hoga Pakistan’, provoked the ire of many, many people.
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In reaction to Hrithik’s endorsement, the Dark is Beautiful campaign asks its Facebook followers their views on the need for stricter regulation by the Advertising Standards Council of India: