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Mirror, Mirror on the Wall..Who’s the fairest baby of them all?

In some parts of the world where people work tirelessly at acquiring that coveted beachy bronze glow, “fair” might not always be paired with “lovely”. Look over at South Asia however, and the exact opposite seems to be happening:

Our research using Google AdWords reveals that searches for “baby skin whitening cream” is going up by 110% in the last 12 months. Interestingly, we found that the search query on the Unilever skincare brand “Fair & Lovely” was a rapidly rising entry in relation to “fair baby”, at a rate of 250% over the last 5 years.

From the inside out

Curious about what else people in India wanted to know about baby whitening, we ran keyword searches on using the Hindi phrase “gora bacha”, which roughly equates to “fair child” in English.

Reviewing search trends that include this term, rather concerning results were revealed. In relation to other searches related to “gora bacha”, searches related to expecting parents trying to find ways to whiten their unborn babies had drastically high search volumes. Top searches included “How does the Quran say we can make a white baby?” and “How do I make my baby white during pregnancy?”.

Looking at Google AdWords in India over the past 5 years, the top searches related to “fair baby” and “Fair & Lovely” included the five in the pie chart below:

Beauty begins… belly-deep?

And as if the keyword searches weren’t baffling enough, searching “gora bacha” on YouTube leads us to a corner of the Internet that we’re not sure we want to be in. Videos like the one below provide diet plans for expecting mothers to ensure that their kids are not “black and sick”. Such videos were uploaded as recently as 2 months ago (at the time of publishing) and garner as many as 2.8 million views.

Like grass, skin complexion too is greener (fairer/ darker) on the other side. Or more tanned, depending on which part of the world you’re from.

Email anurag@quilt.ai to find out more about what we can do.

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