Dove is facing heat for a body wash ad showing a black woman taking off her shirt to reveal a white woman, with many social media users calling it racist.
Dove has removed the post from its Facebook page and posted comments on social media Saturday saying it “missed the mark in representing women of color thoughtfully.
The personal care brand Dove received widespread backlash this weekend over an ad posted on its Facebook page that shows a black woman pulling off her brown shirt and appearing to become a white woman in a white shirt. Next to the women is a bottle of Dove soap.
The ad quickly came under fire on social media, with many people immediately calling it “racist.”
Dove released a statement that they are “deeply sorry” for the offense caused by the ad, and said that the original post included three women, as opposed to the screenshots that went viral.
The original post included a video clip that also showed the white woman taking off her shirt to become a woman who appears to be of Asian decent.
“As part of a campaign for Dove Body Wash, a 3-second video clip was posted to our US Facebook page. It featured three women of different ethnicities, each removing a t-shirt in matching skin tones to reveal the next woman. The visual 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. We are deeply sorry,” the company said.
The statement continued: “We have removed the post and have not published any related content. We do not condone any activity or imagery that insults any audience. We are reevaluating our internal processes for creating and reviewing content.”
Dawn Mann, Owner and Chief Creative Officer at Break of Day Design AD & PR, LLC took to Facebook to highlight that the company needed more than the public boycotting them, they need education!
“Ultimately, Dove is responsible for their brand. It’s obvious they acknowledge diversity and see it’s importance, but the execution was insensitive. What is even worse, is the agency that executed got it wrong.”
“I’ve been in the industry for 25+ years and I know what it takes to execute a campaign… timeline, number of staff needed, presentations, meetings, concepts, etc. It’s hard for me to believe that NO ONE in this entire process had a concern. Not ONE person said, “this gives me pause” or a simple “wait, what?” from account service, creative department, video production, stylist, wardrobe… hell, not even an intern?”
“When you have agencies and support services who lack diversity in their own companies and/or departments, awareness isn’t enough. You can’t just plug a minority into an ad and say, “look we remembered to include you.” It has to be at the core of how you think to ensure it is not lost in translation or backfires through the process. If your brand is working with homogeneous agencies who are expected to think and execute heterogeneously, you won’t get it right.”
“Lastly, as industry professionals, it’s not enough to just make clients aware. It’s not enough to boycott. We have to educate. We need to push back on decisions that are not target, insensitive or just plain wrong. We have to consistently, carefully and respectfully expose the errors of this simplified view and help our industry see the beauty in being heterogeneous in action as a company, a nation and even in something as simple as a campaign.”