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Case study - Mirror Morror on the wall

Words : 3000

Assignment Title: - “Mirror, Mirror, on the wall...”

Background Reading.

We live in a society obsessed with fairness. Fairness has become synonymous to beautiful.

The fairness creams market in India is estimated to be steadily growing at 10-15%. Even

when most of us know that skin colour is genetic and fairness creams cannot change a

person’s natural skin colour, how come we are seeing a phenomenal growth for such

products? Advertisers are successful in making us believe that the impossible is possible

and the wonder creams do make you a ‘Snow White’.

According to the fairness cream ads you have to be fair in order to be happy, successful,

and confident, attract men/women and even get your dream job. Many people are seen to be

using these fairness creams for years without any result. Skin color is genetic. Sometimes

due to environmental factors one’s skin color may change. These environmental factors can

be taken care of by using sunscreens or anti tanning creams and also there are simple home

remedies which can be done; but if you were born with a dark complexion you can’t become

‘a white fairy’ by applying these fairness creams. Every day you just witness the opposite in

If you notice in all the fairness cream ads, Fairness is linked to confidence. The girl has a

total personality change after using the fairness creams. These ads give off the impression

that one is less attractive and desirable if they have a dark complexion. It has been proven

over period of time that fair creams do not make one fair. They might control tanning and

they might prevent your skin from getting darker by preventing melanin secretion. Most

fairness creams contain bleaching agents and they might do more harm than good.

Advertisers make false claims that their products do not contain bleaching agents and it’s

safe to use and skin friendly too.

Almost all the fairness creams claim that they have ‘special scientific ingredients’. This is

nothing but a marketing technique. By putting ‘sounds-good-but–confusing’ words like

“unique fairness vitamins”, “enriched with triple sunscreen”, “locks in fairness ingredients”, on

the product cover they purposefully confuse consumers. They make tall claims like “it

contains revolutionary Tri-fair vitamin complex”. Whatever could this revolution of ‘tri- fair

vitamin complex’ be?

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A survey was conducted in 2010 to explore the potential product performance and effects of

television advertisements for fairness creams in Pakistan. The survey found that fairness

creams’ television ads overstate the product benefits and cause substantial side effects.

Dr. Ikram Ullah, Head of Dermatology Department, Pims, explained: “Skin whitening creams

usually contain skin bleaching chemicals such as steroids, mercury salts etc.

Products that use substantial chemicals, it is ethically incumbent upon advertisers not to

make false or misleading claims and also to mention all possible side effects. But given that

most manufacturers of such products are simply in the business to make money, such full

disclosure cannot be expected without strict law enforcement by the government.

Awareness is the key to fight this problem. While regulation of such misleading

advertisements is ideal, the consumers themselves should investigate the authenticity of the

product before exposing themselves to such strong chemicals.

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Advertisements for fairness creams have over the years been accused of being

discriminatory, sexist, racist, but rarely do we realize that they are guilty of something that is

far more serious, misleading and completely false propaganda. Dermatologists will tell you

that no cream has the magic to alter the natural colour of your skin. And yet, there are far too

many creams to choose from, often recommended by friends, family, even casual


"Not all the so-called branded 'fairness creams' are dangerous," says Dr. KoushikLahiri,

editor of the Indian Journal of Dermatology and a consulting dermato-surgeon based in

"In most of the cases they are harmless and without any effect. The problem arises when the

cream contains a powerful steroid. Steroid is a chemical which when used judicially (for skin

diseases like psoriasis) can yield excellent results. But that has to be done strictly under the

supervision of a dermatologist.

It all boils down to a simple question we must ask ourselves: Is white skin really worth the

fuss and the heartache? Perhaps the time has come for us to purge ourselves of prejudices.

And remember, always approach a dermatologist to resolve any skin problems. Never self-
medicate, because a little knowledge can truly be a dangerous thing!

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The Assignment

Assignment Title: - “Mirror, Mirror, on the wall...”

In Sri Lanka, we too have our locally produced ‘Fairness’ applications. The local companies

too have established their brands and equally captured their markets for these products.

With Sri Lanka’s historical Ayurveda recipes and valuable local herbal resources, Sri Lankan

personal care products have established a loyal customer base.

Tasks to be carried out for the assignment

Given the above background, and your own awareness of these products, you are expected

to take as examples, two (02) Sri Lankan brands of (locally manufactured) Fairness

Research and study their organizations, products, distribution, branding and pricing

strategies. You may also need to carry out a survey on consumer awareness, pricing and

preferences to provide your findings and conclusions to the following:

Task 1. Driving Brands for Results – DBR

Brand Equity

Aker’s Brand Equity Ten, Associations, Awareness, Elements, Equity, Identity, Image,

Knowledge, Loyalty, Meaning, Brand Resonance Pyramid Model, Resonance, Response,


Measuring Brand Equity with specific focus on Brand Strength (brand association in the

customer mind)

You will need to clearly understand and show:

Using Aker’s Model of measuring Brand Equity provides your findings for one of the

You will need to effectively evaluate the brand equity of awareness measures, loyalty

measures, perceived quality, and Associations/differentiation measures. You are NOT

expected to find out or discuss ‘Market behavior measures’. Please provide

recommendations and suggestions where necessary, to support your observations.

Task 2.Synergysing Marketing Communications - SMC

Key Words: Deceptive, Puffery, Substantiation, Ethics and Advertising, Social Responsibility,

Unsafe Products, Offensive Advertisements, Brand Infringement.

By studying the current communications strategies and understanding the target

audiencesof these products;

Recommend an effective Positioning Strategy that in your view could be followed to

positively affect consumer-perception of the product.

Show the Perceptual maps for both products along with your analysis and interpretations.

Recommend and comment suitable Pull – Push Profile to be followed.

Finally, briefly discuss how the concepts of ethics, morals and social responsibility

apply to these products, given the background and current thinking. You may also want to

build this into your research / survey.

All your recommendations and comments need to be fully justified and backed by

evidence of research or other analytical studies done into understanding how the

communications strategy for these products is done.

Task 3 . Finance for Effective Marketing - FEM

Study and understand how pricing is done for these products.

Key words: Price sensitivity, Price Perception, Quality, Intermediaries, Competitors,

Suppliers, Inflation, Uniqueness, Incomes, Product Range, inelastic demand, elastic

demand, very elastic demand, price sensitivity, Ethics and substitute products.

Pricing Decisions:

Identify and comment on the various factors that could be affecting the pricing policy of these

Show the product life cycle of these products and relate how the current pricing is done

according to the PLC.

Identify and show:

The price elasticity of demand for these products.

Show if current pricing is set correctly and;

Show if you agree with it (and why) – If you do not agree with the current pricing, discuss

your views and decision on how pricing should be set accordingly–Your views on this should

be made with justifiable reasoning.

Task 4. Managing Sales & Distribution - MSD

Key words: Strategy formulation, strategy development and execution, sales management

activity, clear mission statement, sales people, sales managers, corporate mission

statements, simple, communicated, complete.

Visit the websites of both companies you are studying, check customer reviews, vision &

mission statements and comment on following with recommendations;

Corporate strategy and the sales function

Corporate mission:

Discuss the Corporate Missions of the organizations – do they provide direction for strategy

development and execution throughout the organization? Do you feel this has a direct effect

on sales management of the companies? Are they simple, complete and communicated to

salespeople? Express company’s values succinctly and easy to understand and adopt by


Business Strategy and the sales function

Based on Porter’s generic business strategies as a model, which strategy do you feel

these companies are following? (Low cost, differentiation or niche?)

Depending on what strategy you identify, show the competitive advantages that you see

them enjoying and the effects this could have on the organizations.

Organizational Structure:

Choose one organization out of the two you have studied and show what their current

organizational structure is. Identify the type of Organizational Structure that is being used -

(Geographic, Product Sales, Market Sales, and Functional Sales Organizations).

Give your observations, views and any recommendations you may make to either modify

the structure (if necessary) with Justifiable reasons.

48-72 Hours
Just 4-10 Days
11+ days

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