Unilever’s personal care brand Dove has gone into damage control after its Facebook ad campaign was called out for being racist.
The stills ad appears to show a black woman turning white after using its liquid soap. It’s unclear exactly which territory posted the campaign, however, it was immediately pulled by the FMCG giant after being called out for its “deeply ignorant” racist overtones.
A spokesperson for the company took to Twitter to apologise: “An image we recently posted on Facebook missed the mark in representing women of colour thoughtfully. We deeply regret the offence it caused.”
However, it was all too late for some with many calling the ad out for its racist themes. “What is Dove even trying to convey besides blatant racism?” wrote one on social media. While another added: “To know that colorism is a problem in the world, that includes bleaching the skin, and they would put this ad out without a thought … the tone deafness in these companies makes no sense.”
Another called for a boycott of the brand: “I mean that’s what I use today but no more Dove for me racism will never end.”
Many also said the ad harped back to a godawful 2016 Chinese laundry ad that showed a black man being washed white. Check out that hideousness below:
It’s not the first time the usually progressive brand has courted controversy. In 2011, a Dove campaign copped widespread flak after appearing to show women becoming cleaner as their skin tone lightened.
The brand said in a statement at the time: “All three women are intended to demonstrate the ‘after’ product benefit. We do not condone any activity or imagery that intentionally insults any audience.”