A controversial Dove ad which was perceived as racist by many has been raising a lot of dust on social media.
The advert which ruffled more than a few feathers depicted a clip of a black woman pulling a dark brown t-shirt over her head. However, when the shirt went over her head, she had turned into a white woman. Also featuring in the ad is a bottle of the body wash that was being advertised by the brand.
Consequently, the Dove ad was lambasted on social media with many users suggesting a boycott of their beauty products. The intense backlash led to the removal of the controversial ad for which the company tendered a public apology.
Responses to Dove’s racially insensitive ad which shows a black woman appearing to shed her body for a “cleaner” white version sold the idea that the ad industry is still very much divided.
In the wake of the uproar, the Commission for Gender Equality has labelled the Dove cosmetics advert “reckless.”
Commission spokesperson Javu Baloyi said that the advert was ill-conceived especially for the South African audience where racial tension is the order of the day.
“We have seen it and it was reckless and unfortunate for Dove to do such a thing. Especially in a country where simmering tensions over race and class are prevalent‚” he said.
While Baloyi insists that the company needed to extend an unequivocal apology to South African citizens, he asserted that the act must not go unpunished.
“What they did was perpetuate the imbalances in terms of race and class in this country. These big multinational companies should not think that they are above being punished. We hope that someone pursues this matter with the Human Rights Commission,” Baloyi added.
Admittedly, the ad seems to carry a wrong message.
Thus, taking back to Dove SA’s Facebook page, the brand owned by Unilever company said that the advertising campaign had “missed the mark“.
“This 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,” the company said in a statement Sunday.
“We apologize deeply and sincerely for the offence that it has caused and do not condone any activity or imagery that insults any audience. Our richness lies in our diversity. Our beauty comes in different shapes‚ sizes‚ hair textures and skin tones. We believe beauty is diverse and diversity is beautiful,” it read.
The notice went on to announce that the Dove ad has been pulled down.