This story is inspired by a feature from Bloomberg Business Week. Obviously, it’s as it sounds – a publication that deals with all things business – for those not familiar with it (can’t say it’s in my top reads to be honest).
Anyhoo.. there’s a feature on Veet owned by Reckitt Benckiser entitled “Convincing Women In China They are Too Hairy,” that pretty much outlines how the business model, in order to sell more hair removal product, was to sow the seeds of doubt in Chinese womens’ minds that *any* body hair was too much. Chinese women aren’t naturally very hairy, and in the past body hair has been a non-issue. Them not minding about a tiny bit of fine body hair meant that hair removal creams didn’t have a very big market.
So along comes Veet deciding, here’s an issue that nobody minds about. Let’s really make them feel bad about a bit of natural body hair – so bad in fact that the brand is now the fastest growing personal care brand in China. Well done, Veet.
Veet’s crafty way of convincing Chinese women that body hair is a blot on their body landscapes that must be eradicated is to convince them through advertising and marketing that skin that is hair free has a health aspect, boosts confidence and makes their skin their ‘shining glory’. As if that’s not enough, a new packaging push positions Veet as a product for women ‘for whom grooming is part of how she gets a promotion, a good husband and a raise’. I’m not even joking here.
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In the matter of making Chinese women self-conscious and ashamed of body hair Veet takes top marks. The company’s China chief even says, “If your concern level is high enough, even one hair is too much,” and something along the line of it not being how much hair you have, but how much you think you have. The remit of the campaign is obviously to raise those concern levels as high as they possibly can to sell as much product as they possibly can.
As a business model, it’s exceptional. As an irresponsible, unpleasant and utterly confidence draining campaign, it’s also exceptional. I haven’t come across anything like this since Dove convinced women of the world they had ugly armpits that needed a special deodorant to make them more beautiful. Because Bloomberg is a business publication, it’s all told in congratulatory terms.. yep, congratulations Veet for giving millions of women a problem they never knew they had. Congratulations Veet for adding to the daily chore of finding one more thing for women to beat themselves up about. Congratulations Veet for making women feel self conscious about a very scant amount of body hair that most western women would get down on their knees and pray for – and extra congratulations for making them feel that little amount is far too much and ugly to boot. Congratulations Veet on insinuating that with less body hair Chinese women will miraculously get their man, get more money and be more employable.
I’m so ashamed on Veet’s behalf.
If you’d like to read the full article, it’s HERE.
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