This Brand Was Forced To Apologise After Their Wildly Racist Ad Went Viral

9 October 2017, 11:30

Dove Ad
Nicky Idika

By Nicky Idika

This is exactly how NOT to do an ad in 2017.

Hello, and welcome to today's episode of 'How Are We Still Doing This In 2017?'. 

Dove, the ubiquitous personal care brand, is facing some serious backlash after uploading a poorly thought out image onto Facebook. The short advertisement features three women removing t-shirts to reveal a different woman underneath. 

It's all well and good until you realise the ad is for soap. 

The optics are less than ideal here, as the black woman pictured appears to "turn white" in the ad. 

People pointed out that the nature of the ad had a dark historical context.

Historically, brands used the promise of "lighter" and "brighter" skin to incentivise women of colour into using their products. The implication was that darker skin was something unclean to be washed away. This is, of course, a footnote in a wider conversation about colourism in communities of colour. 

Others even noted that this wasn't Dove's first foray into the world of racist ads.

After the backlash rose to insurmountable levels, Dove issued an apology for having "missed the mark"

But, not everyone was satisfied with the response.

Words and images mean things. The historical context of implying that darker skin can be cleaned or wiped away with soap is too hurtful to ignore.

Brands clearly need to start hiring people of colour to vet these ideas, because it's too late in the game to keep making these basic mistakes.