If you were enjoying so much turkey, booze and family this Thanksgiving weekend that you didn't see Dove's racially insensitive ad - then good for you. You didn't have to be bothered, offended, or even hurt at an advertisement that would surely have affected millions. The ad dropped on Dove USA's Facebook page on October 8th at an attempt to advertise Dove Bodywash. The video itself was only seconds long, but even seconds can and did cause outrage.
The advert shows three women of differing skin tones, one black, one white and one asian. Each woman is wearing a t-shirt similar to their own skin tone which they remove, only to be revealed as the next woman. The advert began with the black woman and transitioned into the white woman, which caused immediate controversy.
The ad can be interpreted as a black woman using Dove body wash to become white, which connotes that being black is dirty or unclean. The ad didn't last long, as it was quickly pulled when a make-up artist, Naomi Leann Blake, screen-shotted the ad, shared it with her Facebook followers and shamed it for its racist message. The post quickly gained thousands of shares before going viral on all social medias, with many consumers voicing their opinions.
Got a new startup idea: You send us your ad, we'll tell you if it's racist before you run it. Think we have our first customer in Dove.— Vasu Kulkarni (@Vasu) October 9, 2017
Dove has since come forward with two apologies voicing their intent for the ad, though a great deal of consumers are set to boycott the brand, trending the hashtag #DoneWithDove.
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 isn't the first time Dove's published racist advertisements or racially insensitive messages. A Twitter user shared an image of this bottle, implying that lighter skin tones are more 'normal' than dark ones.
Some even attributed it to racist lightening soap ads from the beginning of the 1900's and attached photos.
TALK ABOUT DISGUSTING!!! Uhg. This is beyond disappointing what the fuck? pic.twitter.com/4MEFK8CNgd— jonalisa (@jonalisag) October 8, 2017
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Many pointed out that the scandal could have been avoided if people of colour were involved in the screening process of the ad or the creative execution. The fact that many execs approved the ad implies that people of colour were not involved in its execution.
Orange is the New Black star Danielle Brooks, who has modelled for Dove in the past, released this excerpt expressing her disappointment in the campaign:
"The sad fact is that no matter how much adults like my mom built us up and made us feel pride in who we were and what we looked like, there was always a sneaky, vicious monster out there, determined to knock us right back down. That same monster has been whispering in the ears of little brown and black children since before my great-grandmother's time, telling us that the color of our skin makes us dirty."
Now, more than ever, it's imperative that we stand together against racial messages such as this Dove ad. There is not an inch of room in the world left for intolerance or ignorance and you should not stand for it.