October 10th, 2017 – Soap brand Dove, owned by parent company Unilever, got into hot water this past weekend for releasing an ad on their Facebook page where a black woman appears to be transforming into a white woman by using Dove Bodywash. The photo ad of 4 panels shows the black woman in the top two photos removing a tee shirt revealing the white woman in the 2 panels beneath.
The ad has been deleted but not before it left an impression on consumers who let their feelings be known on social media. Dove apologized on Twitter and then turned their apologies to Facebook.
“Dove is committed to representing the beauty of diversity. In an image we posted this week, we missed the mark in thoughtfully representing women of color and we deeply regret the offense that it has caused. The feedback that has been shared is important to us and we’ll use it to guide us in the future.”
“As a part of a campaign for Dove body wash, a 3-second video clip was posted to the US Facebook page which featured three women of different ethnicities, each removing a t-shirt to reveal the next woman. The short video was intended to convey that Dove body wash is for every woman and be a celebration of diversity, but we got it wrong. It did not represent the diversity of real beauty which is something Dove is passionate about and is core to our beliefs, and it should not have happened. We have removed the post and have not published any other related content. This should not have happened and we are re-evaluating our internal processes for creating and approving content to prevent us making this type of mistake in the future. We apologize deeply and sincerely for the offense that it has caused and do not condone any activity or imagery that insults any audience.”
Some compared the ad to early advertising that purposely stereotyped and disparaged African Americans and others even called for a boycott of Dove.
This is not the first time Dove has been criticized for their advertisements. An ad for Bodywash in 2011, showed a photo of three women in skin tone ranges from black to white and the words “Before and After.”