Dove, a personal care brand owned by Unilever, has found itself at the epicenter of a racism-related scandal after its advertisement provoked an outcry in social media. The company has apologized and removed the controversial ad.
The advertisement decried by some users as racist was published on Dove’s Facebook page. The ad was a three-second GIF showing a black woman taking off her brown shirt to reveal a white woman who then took off her lighter-colored shirt to reveal the next woman in a darker shirt.
The ad drew the attention of make-up artist Naythemua who wrote a post that has been reposted over 10,000 times.
The ad sparked a backlash on social media, with many users wondering how the company could have allowed such a controversial ad to be published.
Some also noted that Dove uses the description “for normal to dark skin” for some of its products.
Others pointed out that soap advertising has a long history of race-related overtones.
For Dove, the problem is that this is not the company’s first misstep. It was engaged in a similar scandal several years ago. In 2011, Dove was criticized for another ad, showing three women of different skin colors standing in front of “before” and “after” images. At the time, the company also said its purpose was not to offend anyone and that the ad was not racist.