Dove Soap is under fire for what many are calling a racist ad on the company's Facebook page. Many followers of the company and celebrities have taken to social media to express their outrage over the 3-second, looping advertisement. Dove has since apologized, but even their apology has attracted criticism by people wondering how the mistake was made for a second time in recent years, with many pledging to stop buying Dove products all together.
Viewers said that there were racial implications of the soap advertisement that shows a black woman transforming into a white woman, with some critics accusing it of suggesting that black skin is "dirty" and pointing out the historical legacy of racism in soap commercials. Dove quickly removed the advertisement and issued an apology. The apology reads.
"An image we recently posted on Facebook missed the mark in representing women of color thoughtfully. We deeply regret the offense it caused."
Dove has tried over the years to make a socially conscious stance on beauty by including women of all races, sizes, and age. But, the apology was also quickly taken down after many insinuated that the apology implied that viewers took the advertisement out of context.
The issue would be fine if this was the first time that this has happened to Dove. In 2011, an ad for dry skin was also targeted for coming off as racist. The ad, that was also quickly pulled from publication, portrayed a black woman on one side that said "before" over her head, a fair skinned woman in the middle, and then a white woman that said "after" above her head. Many thought that the ad was racist because it was portraying the black woman in a negative light and changing into the white woman to be good, much like the new ad.
Dove released a second statement that said, "the short video was intended to convey that Dove body wash is for every woman and be a celebration of diversity, but we got it wrong." The black-to-white transition was reminiscent in the eyes of some viewers of infamous soap ads from history, some of which were posted on social media. In one example from the 1880s, a black child is pictured bathing in a tub while a white child offers him a bar of soap. After using the soap, the black child looks delighted to see that his skin has turned white.
Dove has declined to say how the ad was produced and later approved, especially after the ad from 2011 caught so much negative attention. However, Dove did say that they are looking into the situation and seeking another way for creating and approving their ad material. Regardless of whatever Dove decides to do behind the scenes, people are still very angry. Check out the controversial ad in question courtesy of Now This' Twitter account below along with some angry tweets directed at Dove and their PR team.