Dove has pulled an advert and apologised after their latest campaign showed a black woman removing her top to reveal a white woman underneath – causing a huge backlash.
The advert for one of their body lotion products was criticised as ‘racist’ and has since been removed from Facebook, with the company admitting they ‘missed the mark’.
Before the advert was removed it was shared by make-up artist Naomi Blake.
So I’m scrolling through Facebook and this is the #dove ad that comes up … ok so what am I looking at…
She also said Dove’s marketing team should have ‘known better’.
The tone deafness in these companies makes no sense.
One racist ad makes you suspect.
Two racist ads makes you kinda guilty. pic.twitter.com/hAwNCN84h2
— Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) October 8, 2017
Dove, which is owned by the company Unilever, tweeted:
An image we recently posted on Facebook missed the mark in representing women of colour thoughtfully.
We deeply regret the offence it caused.
An image we recently posted on Facebook missed the mark in representing women of color thoughtfully. We deeply regret the offense it caused.
— Dove (@Dove) October 7, 2017
This is not the first time Dove has been accused of being racially insensitive.
People have been quick to point out one of their lotions is sold as ‘for normal to dark skin’, and another of their adverts showed a ‘before and after’ with a black woman stood under ‘before’ and a white woman stood under ‘after’.
There has been much debate on social media with some accusing the brand of ‘racism’ and ‘whitewashing’.
You have done it in the past.? pic.twitter.com/qaGG10bePw
— Nonhlanhla Mabhena (@N0n0zA) October 7, 2017
According to Dove being black is dirty gotta wash the color off gotta be the dumbest ad ever created ??♂️
— Rashaun Will (@RashaunWill) October 8, 2017
I cannot conceive of how anyone at Dove thought this ad was acceptable. This is literally how Victorian soap was advertised by Unilever… pic.twitter.com/m9HH7BVXts
— Hannah Rose Woods (@hannahrosewoods) October 8, 2017
Let's be clear, Dove knew exactly what they were doing with their racist ad. Soap companies used to do this racist theme all the time pic.twitter.com/EzvAiExNcP
— Tariq Nasheed (@tariqnasheed) October 8, 2017
— Sable Sabella Solis (@sable_solis) October 8, 2017
I will no longer be buying dove soap.
— Wop (@IAMSU) October 8, 2017
Transgender model Munroe Bergdorf, who was controversially sacked by L’Oreal has been on ITV’s Good Morning Britain questioning if the campaign was deliberately attempting to cause outrage.
Presenters Susanna Reid and Piers Morgan also questioned if Dove had done it all for publicity.
Munroe told Good Morning Britain:
This harks back to nineteenth century feelings, to adverts where children are depicted as black, scrubbing off their blackness and turning white.
It makes you wonder if the crew is as diverse as the cast. There is a precedent in the beauty industry that white is pure and light and fresh and black isn’t.
They had a bottle that said from normal to dark skin – so what is normal? Why are they getting it wrong so many times? It makes you think, are they doing it on purpose?
I thought what on Earth was going through the minds of Dove…the imagery was just so stark and so obviously liable to cause offence. It does make you a bit cynical and wonder if Dove are doing this to get publicity.
Susanna then added:
This is so ironic because Dove try to project this image that they’re about embracing difference, this has been part of their marketing strategy and in doing so they are stumbling at every block.
The model was also on BBC‘s Victoria Derbyshire show, talking about the campaign:
— Victoria Derbyshire (@VictoriaLIVE) October 9, 2017
And she later told Sky:
All people deserve to see themselves in aspirational imagery and it can be done correctly as long as the consultants behind the scenes are diverse.
If you want to shift a product to everybody you need to make sure that your company is diverse otherwise you are going into no man’s land and you don’t know what you are doing.