If I am not mistaken, the first Glutamax ‘Kutis Mayaman’ ad featuring local actress Gretchen Barretto was released sometime in 2010. It became controversial because the tagline allegedly discriminates Filipinos with brown color, and that rich people have fair skin. Tons of complaints surfaced, but we must blame hypocrisy.
Back in May 2011, GMA News reporter Cesar Apolinario tweeted, “Glutamax billboard along SLEX says, “Kutis Mayaman”…Ang galing naman!!! So ano ang kutis mahirap??????” However, you might wonder why the said tweet was retweeted 11 times only, despite him being an influential broadcast journalist.
Credit: Cesar Apolinario Twitter
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Through the years, some notable bloggers have criticized the same ad, along with netizens who posted their outrage on Facebook and comments on YouTube videos of the ad. However, the issue was overpowered by the controversial Bayo “What’s your mix?” ad in 2012, which was dubbed by many Filipinos as racist, and was later pulled out.
For the Glutamax ‘Kutis Mayaman’ ad, many Filipinos complain that it somehow tells the public that if you will use Glutamax whitening products, your skin will be same as as skin of rich people. Although it did not mention being white, common sense tells us that Gretchen Barretto has fairer skin than the traditional Filipino women.
Now, is the Glutamax ad saying that Filipinos with brown skin are poor? No, it did not. Well, the advertising agency was smart enough to make a controversial ad and tickle our emotions. That’s their job, and whether we like it or not, they did well it in this particular ad. I must admit, I felt offended by this ad, and I think it is really so wrong.
But it is now 2015, and the ad can still be seen in major highways in Metro Manila and nearby provinces despite the tons of complaints. In fact, last April, Gretchen Barretto had renewed her contract as product endorser of Glutamax whitening products. Therefore, the tagline “Kutis Mayaman” is active again, receiving the same criticisms.
In that case, is Healthwell Nutraceuticals, Inc. (owner of the Glutamax brand) really ignoring the earlier complaints? Do we need to file a petition at Change.org so they would change their offensive tagline? Should we encourage thousands of women who want to have a white skin not to use their products? Do you think they will follow us?
Let’s not be hypocrite. We have to accept the sad reality that many Filipinos still think that having a whiter skin is more beautiful than having a brown skin. We should also accept the fact that we think rich people are mestizos. Well, of course, the Binay family is the best example that this theory is not true at all.
Therefore, if we really feel offended with this Glutamax ad, we should start convincing ourselves that we don’t need to have a white skin to look rich. We should also stop bullying the Binay family and any Filipino with darker skin. Our actresses should also stop endorsing these whitening products, and not using them at all.
Whether we accept it or not, the tagline of Glutamax ad played a very important part in increasing their sales. This is because they know this century-old culture of Filipinos. So instead of blaming Glutamax, let’s blame first the hypocrisy among ourselves. If we are offended with the ad, then let’s all be proud of being ‘kayumanggi.’