The new app, which targets consumers in India, allows users to upload photos of themselves to visualize the end results of using Vaseline Men’s UV Whitening Body Lotion. The product promises to reduce dark spots and make skin “visibly fairer.”
It’s not very difficult to see why this new application is evoking tons of negative press. Skin lightening has been a point of contention for centuries in countries around the world. Many mainstream journalists are accusing Vaseline of pushing Westernized ideations of beauty onto the Indian culture.
The company has since released a statement that notes: “Much like self-tanning products in North America and Europe, skin lightening products are culturally relevant in India.”
Much like self-tanning products? Not really, but nice try.
With Internet marketing, it’s important for brands to consider the broader cultural implications. Before the advent of the Web, a brand could release a product in one country and never have to worry about it reaching another. Things have changed.
What does this marketing mishap mean for Vaseline? Only time will tell, but preliminary feedback indicates this marketing ploy was a marketing flop.