How A History With Racial Insensitivity Lead To A Temporary Downfall For Dove

04 May, 2021 (Tuesday)

2017 wasn't the best year for Dove when they ran a particular promotion campaign for one of their lotions. 

The brand was accused of racism over the online advertising campaign and it later admitted it had “missed the mark” with an image posted on Facebook.

The campaign showed a dark-skinned woman turning into a caucasian woman through the use of their lotion. The first frame shows a dark-skinned woman in what appears to be a bathroom, a bottle of Dove body wash in the lower right-hand corner of the frame. In subsequent frames, the woman reaches down and lifts up her shirt (and apparently the rest of her skin/costume) to reveal a smiling white woman.

The campaign was removed from social media after Dove came on the receiving end of social media furor. 

Dove had initially responded with a tweet apologizing for the mess, but viewers couldn't understand what Dove was apologizing for.

Soon after, they followed up with a longer message clarifying that their message 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.

 

However, this wasn't the first time Dove found itself in hot waters with their racial insensitivity.

In a 2011 commercial, three fair/caucasian women stood in towels under two boards labeled “Before” and “After”, implying transitioning to lighter skin was the luminous beauty promise of Dove.

The lacerations of Dove, which is liberally salted with its background blind ad, are cleanliness and devotion, white and maternal competence. It strikes unwittingly at the resistance and resilience of aboriginal families who have fought against division and repressive management by state administrators across centuries. Its myopic implied beauty characterization as a product of blackness is mystifying.