Vaseline “Be Prepared” Campaign for India – Social Media By Example

Social Media Campaign Stat Box

: Products and services


: Facebook

: Men in India

: Emotional

: July, 2010

: Ongoing

For the first time EVER, Moh’d -a dear friend and co-worker- ended up choosing the same topic for our upcoming post! Apparently, the topic was “hot enough” to simultaneously grab our attention and controversial enough to get us writing before we even realized that we were, more or less, tackling the issue from the same angle!

Therefore, I chose to add Mohd’s introduction to my post since, frankly, I like it better ;)

While white people in Europe and North America are swarming to tanning salons and picking up overpriced tanning creams to gain a lovely bronze shade, people in South East Asia have a completely contrary appreciation to skin tones; they are obsessed with lighter skin. The whitening creams’ industry has been booming in the past decade and is not limited to face creams only, they are even marketing creams for “pink nipples”!

Shahid Kapoor - Star for Vaseline's Ad for India

Sadly, it seems that the people there associate whiter and lighter skin with a higher class, beauty and success. Some even seriously consider skin tone when choosing a partner! For centuries, women have been using various concoctions to achieve the whitest of white skins and nowadays a growing number of men are starting to groom and use creams to whiten their skins as well!

The competition in the multi-billion dollar cosmetic industry is fierce and their marketing teams are doing everything they can and more so that potential customers think of their product when they are shopping. Recently, these brands started utilizing social media to reach their customer base.

Idea & Objectives:

The “Be Prepared” Campaign was created by Vaseline in efforts to utilize social media, especially its tools, images and applications, in order to promote their skin whitening cream line for Vaseline men.

Furthermore, they crated a Facebook app that allows men – and ostensibly women – to lighten their photos and see the difference for themselves. Vaseline hopes that once people start getting positive reactions to their “lighter” photos on Facebook and other dating sites, it will encourage them to pick up the product and try it out. The application promises to “transform your face“!

Skin Whitening Campaign

Buzz Generated:

The application currently has a rapidly increasing number of 8,950 monthly active users.

Be Prepared- The Application

Furthermore, and due to the application’s simplicity and user-friendly interface, its reviews are positive and its Facebook page is live and interactive!

From the campaign's Facebook page

Opinion & Lessons Learned:

Although some bloggers considered this campaign and its application to be very insulting, I think the idea itself is smart and well planned: Vaseline did not create a need, rather it fulfilled one! Moreover, if this campaign truly did upset Indians, how come there all all those active users on its application and this many conversation on its page?

So, what could we learn from this campaign?

  • Successful campaigns always depend on the needs of your target audience. Sometimes creating a need is needed. At other times, knowing the need and producing a product or service to fulfill it is the right way to go!
  • Applications add more fun to campaigns! When you are using Facebook to promote your campaign, it is advised that you develop an application alongside with that campaign, something fun and easy to learn.

To wrap up, what do you think of this campaign and its application: Do you think its offensive? And how do you think it could have been managed better through Vaseline’s website? Maybe even a Twitter account?

Looking forward to reading your feedback and insights down below :)

: 4/5
: 4/5
: 3/5
: Yes
: 5/5

Comments and Reactions

  • Amer Kawar

    Hmm, insulting or well-thought out?

    I guess its a bit of both. If you are a person that notices race and racial targeting everywhere you look, it might be insulting. From a business perspective, if Vaseline's sales figures represents a spike, then it's brilliant and indeed fulfils a market need. How can we get these figures though?

  • Beiruta

    I'll see if there's an update or followup since the application is still up and running :)

  • Andy Nattan

    Sounds like a good campaign, even if the product is slightly “iffy”.

  • M.Bamieh

    The thing is that the majority of people outside of the culture (states and europe) find the act repulsive and the campaign insulting while people from those countries are wondering why are they reacting that way.
    This split creates conflict between the two group which translated into PR gold for the brand … thats marketing for ya

  • Tanning Lotions

    Excellent! Great article, I already saved it to my favourite,

  • Beiruta

    Thanks… Appreciated!

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