Dove is a people’s brand and enjoys a majoritarian favourable image. However, of late Dove has been messing up its advertising game and has managed to tarnish its public image. First it was the bottles shaped like the female body that backfired and now an latest ad which is literal whitewashing. The Dove advert is basically a GIF showing a black woman taking off her brown shirt before a bath and transitioning into a white woman – who then takes off her light-coloured skin to reveal a woman of colour in a shirt which is darker in shade. This created a furore on social media.
Over the weekend Dove’s parent company apologized, writing on Facebook and Twitter:
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
But the storm did not subside and Marissa Solan, a spokeswoman for Dove, went on to clarify that the GIF
Was intended to convey that Dove Body Wash is for every woman and be a celebration of diversity, but we got it wrong and, as a result, offended many people.
She added that Dove had removed the post and was “re-evaluating our internal processes for creating and reviewing content.” The critics on social media remained unimpressed by the company’s apology and bashed the company
Lol did this even look right to y’all? I mean your whole team sat down and cleared this bullshit right here? How? pic.twitter.com/WzsZfpkxAr
— Musimbwa (@UNcubeOthungayo) October 7, 2017
I’m never buying Dove again.
Y’all think my brown skin symbolises dirt.
— Tshwanelo Fokazi (@TshwaneloFokazi) October 8, 2017
And someone pointed out the soap manufacturing company’s tendencies to use such advertising that pertained to a very racist ideology:
Again. There is a history of racism in cleansing products. No way anyone didn’t notice that in the dove ad pic.twitter.com/rXNd6144V3
— George M Johnson (@IamGMJohnson) October 8, 2017
Previously in a 2011 ad, Dove had advertised two women of colour, a white woman standing in front of “before” and “after” signs was also criticised.
You have done it in the past. pic.twitter.com/qaGG10bePw
— Nonhlanhla Mabhena (@N0n0zA) October 7, 2017
You can do better than “missed the mark.” Flip + diminishing. Deepens your offense. You do good work. Have been for years. Do better here.
— Ava DuVernay (@ava) October 8, 2017
WAIT WAIT WAIT!!! HOW DID THIS LEAVE THE WHITEBOARD?!?! pic.twitter.com/3JaPKoMOPZ
— Odion (@bodaciousbobo) October 8, 2017
And this one user decided to take matters in her hand:
While Twitter was busy shaming Dove, some wondered if there was lack of diversity at Dove. But if you look at most cosmetics, fairness has always been equated with purity by default. So we don’t really know who is to blame for this gross discrimination.
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