Experential Campaign : Shadeism In India


The ask: Develop an on-ground experience to solve a cultural problem and showcase it in the form of a video case study.

The problem: India has an unfair obsession with lighter skin. Social pressure passed on from one generation to the next perpetuates this idea that being fair means being superior in every aspect of life.

For decades, the skin whitening industry has been piggybacking off this deep-rooted insecurity among Indian men, women and children by launching fairness creams in the market.

90% of Indian women have used fairness creams at least once. In 2010, Indians consumed 233 tonnes of skin-whitening products, spending more money on them than on Coca-Cola.

The opportunity: There are minority groups of Indians starting to stand up to this institution of shadeism and call the skin whitening industry out.

Bollywood celebrities like Abhay Deol and Nandita Das, and fashion and beauty bloggers are taking a stand online and calling each other out for whitening cream endorsements.

Though a vast majority of Indians look up to bollywood stars, the conversation has yet to gain traction among a broader spectrum of Indian population offline too.

We saw a unique opportunity to get Indians from all walks of life, to talk publicly about this issue like never before.

Cultural truths:

  1. Shadeism starts at home: It begins right when numerous home remedies are applied to a one month old kid so their complexion remains fair and continues into their adolescence when they’re asked not to stay outdoors in the sun or they would tan.
  2. Indians are an extremely proud people: Indians are proud of their lineage and which part of the country they come from, which often leads to discrimination against other Indians who’re from other parts of the country (for e..g people from the North discriminating against those from the South and vice-versa). We are aggressively outspoken when it comes to racist preconceptions and stereotypes about us abroad. But when it comes to racism within our own borders, we suffer from a huge blind spot.
  3. Color is an integral and sacred part of Indian culture: Color plays an important role in our culture broadly, right from home traditions, to weddings and national festivals

Concept: #LetsTalkFair

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Team: Eddie Bennett (Strategist), Hunter Kelly (Strategist)

Sachee Malhotra