Dove, known for their body wash products, released a Facebook ad in GIF form depicting a black woman removing her shirt and revealing a white woman underneath.
Social media users came out and criticized the ad for racism and the past theme in soap advertisements: a “dirty” black person being cleansed into whiteness. Other companies have been criticized for previous advertisements involving racial prejudice including Intel in 2007, Popchips in 2012 and Nivea just this past April.
Dove apologized in a statement reading, “Dove is committed to representing the beauty of diversity… (The latest ad) did not represent the diversity of Real Beauty, which is something Dove is passionate about and is core to our beliefs.”
Marissa Solan, a spokesperson for Dove, said that the GIF “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.”
She added that Dove has removed the post and was “re-evaluating our internal processes for creating and reviewing content.” She declined to say how many people reviewed the ad or whether any of them were African-American.
“There were better ways that the ad could have been produced and created, without enforcing racial stereotypes,” Nicky Geisser, a freshman studying animal sciences, said.
“I don’t know how this ad could have gone through multiple stages of review and been seen by numerous employees of Dove, and not been stopped or criticized for the potentially offensive nature of the ad,” Skylar Dockter, a freshman studying political science, said.
This is the second time Dove has been accused of enforcing racial prejudice.
Back in 2011, Dove released an ad showing three women standing side by side, each with lighter skin than the woman next to her. Behind the women were signs reading “before” and “after.” The “before” sign, positioned behind an African-American woman, showed cracked skin, while the “after” sign, behind a white woman, showed smooth skin.
The “image we recently posted on Facebook missed the mark in representing women of color thoughtfully,” Dove said. “We deeply regret the offense it caused.”