In an exclusive interview with Brand Equity, Priya Nair, vice president – beauty and personal care, Unilever South Asia, says world-changing events like BLM actually give brands an impetus to change faster; and not change in a reactive fashion, she implies. “We’ve been working on evolving the brand to reflect changing expectations and aspirations of Indian women, over the past few years,” says Nair. “We can’t create all this work overnight. It would be great if we could, but for a brand of this size and scale we have to do a lot of homework.”
The brand began slowly morphing in 2015 with campaigns like ‘Equal Equal’ that celebrated a woman’s individuality. But these fragments of communication spotlighting a progressive view of Indian women and beauty weren’t enough to shield the brand from the backlash that barreled toward it this year. In early 2019, “we moved the brand away from ‘fair’ to ‘glow’. We were already on this journey,” says Nair. And the events surrounding the BLM movement just “accelerated what was happening in the background.”
HUL is now putting its marketing might behind the new brand and its ‘Mere Glow Ko Na Roko’ ad campaign with TV, print, and digital legs, kicking off with a music video. In the video, hip-hop artist Dee MC. a.k.a Deepa Unnikrishnan raps about her journey, undeterred by convention and naysayers, in a male-dominated field. The campaign hinges on the idea of women having the freedom to choose and define their own identity or ‘pehchan’. Insights driving this campaign were unearthed from the brand’s ‘Identity Survey’ which will continue to propel the campaign forward. The brand plans to rope in popular personalities to amplify ‘Glow ko na roko’ and will activate #IChooseMyGlow with an ‘Identity Mirror’ that prompts women to think about what or who defines their identity. It will link back to Glow & Lovely’s narrative of celebrating inclusivity and individuality.
For the new BB cream range the company has roped in actor Poulomi Das as the brand’s new face. Nair tells us the new brand identity also gives them the license “to increase our rate of innovation.” “We are seeing women in India evolve and change,” says Nair. “Over the last decade, fairness as a percentage of the face care market has been reducing. As we ask ourselves what will take our brand forward, we believe it is critical to create a more positive and inclusive vision of beauty and that’s the reason we took this really strong progressive step. And we can actually create the next few decades of growth for our brand. It is way more than just the name change.”