In Sri Lanka, the lotions category is dominated by the skin-whitening lotions. The false ideals of beauty perpetuated by skin-whitening creams are unhealthy. Hemas wanted to change this status-quo. Hemas’s Velvet body lotion was launched to provide skincare for Sri Lankan skin. It proudly celebrated the natural beauty of Sri Lankan skin.
Yet a strong bias persists towards white skin in Sri Lanka. The bias threated our ‘designed for Sri Lankan skin’ campaign.
The bias stems from the two major languages, Sinhala and Tamil, where any conversation about skin is limited to two colours. Kalu and Sudu, with black often spoken in a negative light.
We decided to change the conversation with the “LankanBeauty” campaign. We started with a teaser campaign that questioned our prejudice. On International Women’s Day, we launched a new set of words that poetically described the beauty of Sri Lankan skin in the local languages. For this, we enlisted the help of popular Sinhala linguist Samantha Ahubudu and Tamil linguist Mayuran. Our campaign encouraged men and women to use the new words that described skin as soft, healthy and glowing, without limiting their opinion to a colour. Thousands of women used the Velvet Lotion app to praise their friends using the new vocabulary. The resulting conversations on Facebook saw a departure from discussing white skin to healthy glowing Sri Lankan skin.