Convincing Women in China They're Too Hairy

Reckitt harnesses marketing’s power to conquer a hairless land
Women at a training camp for beauty pageants in Beijing Photograph by Keith Bedford/Bloomberg

When Reckitt Benckiser Group brought its Veet hair-removal cream to China in 2005, sales were sluggish. Its prices were considered too high and its product sizes too large. But the biggest problem: Most Chinese women don’t have much body hair, and those who do didn’t worry about it. So the company embraced a new marketing plan. Reckitt Benckiser rolled out ads equating hair-free skin with health, confidence, and “shining glory.” In the process, the company has helped make many Chinese women more conscious of every stray follicle. “It’s not how much hair you have, it’s how much you think you have,” says Aditya Sehgal, the company’s China chief. “If your concern level is high enough, even one hair is too much.”

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