When one thinks of the brand Dove, it isn’t uncommon for images of women in all sizes and ethnicities to come to mind. After all, this is one company who has been acknowledged for celebrating diversity over the years. Dove’s local branch in particular has been pushing for this direction–featuring Filipina women of all ages (some of whom might even be familiar faces!) in their viral ads rather than simply going for models.
Recently, however, the beauty brand was in the hot seat for a body-wash ad where it showed a black woman taking off her brown shirt to reveal a white woman. As expected, many netizens considered this as a form of racism.
Okay, Dove…— Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) October 8, 2017
One racist ad makes you suspect.
Two racist ads makes you kinda guilty. pic.twitter.com/hAwNCN84h2
Dove has then removed the ad from its Facebook page and apologized last Saturday for committing a blunder on representing women of all color. They didn’t intend for it to come out as racist; what was intended was to convey Dove Body Wash was for every woman to celebrate diversity.
“As part of a campaign for Dove body wash, a 3-second video clip was posted to our US Facebook page. It featured three women of different ethnicities, each removing a t-shirt in matching skin tones to reveal the next woman. The visual 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. We are deeply sorry,” a representative for Dove wrote in an e-mailed statement to Refinery29.
The representative also mentioned that Dove is re-evaluating their internal processes for creating and reviewing content.
While what the ad portrayed clearly was open to misinterpretation, some netizens went as far as threatening not to buy any of the brand’s products again:
“Welp, looks like I’ve purchased my last pack of @Dove soap,” read a tweet by Tiffany Graves (@tiffmgraves)
Another tweet by Jonica Booth (@Blu1x) read, “Really @Dove ?? Now I can’t patronize you anymore.”
The brand does seem genuinely sorry for their mistake and took immediate action upon realizing it. However, how willing are some netizens to forgive them?
For a brand that already has gone far in touching women of all colors and sizes, we hope they learn from this stumble to avoid committing the same mistake again.