I bet Dove wishes they could wash their latest ad right out of their hair. A new ad for their "Visible Care" body wash is facing criticism for what is being seen as "visibly" racist undertones. It depicts three women of different skin tones and some say implies that the lighter woman was the ideal result.
An advertising blog first posted the ad under the title, "Dove body wash turns Black Women into Latino Women into White Women." Not long after, The Huffington Post and Jezebel posted the "unintentionally racist" ad, with Jezebel writing: "Bye-bye black skin, hello white skin! (Scrub hard!)"
Clutch magazine stuck up for Dove in a report:
"The advertisement comes quite out of character for the brand, which is widely seen as an industry leader for its "Real Women, Real Beauty" campaign. For years, Dove has purposely sought to include non-traditional models in its advertising, featuring (faux gasp) women who didn't fit into sample sizes. Given the brand's history of celebrating women of all shapes and shades, it's hard to believe that it would put together this 'dark to light' ad with ill intent."
Dove also defended its ad issuing the following statement to Gawker:
"We believe that real beauty comes in many shapes, sizes, colors and ages and are committed to featuring realistic and attainable images of beauty in all our advertising. We are also dedicated to educating and encouraging all women and girls to build a positive relationship with beauty, to help raise self-esteem and to enable them to realize their full potential.
The ad is intended to illustrate the benefits of using Dove VisibleCare Body Wash, by making skin visibly more beautiful in just one week. All three women are intended to demonstrate the "after" product benefit. We do not condone any activity or imagery that intentionally insults any audience."
This is not the first time Dove's advertising practices have come into question.
Last summer, someone affiliated with Dove put up a casting notice for its "Real Beauty" campaign saying Dove was "looking for naturally fit, not too curvy and not too athletic women."
Dove quickly told Style List the casting notice "was not approved by the brand or agency team and did not reflect the spirit of the brand team's vision....We believe our images demonstrate that real beauty comes in many shapes, sizes, colors and ages and we remain committed to featuring realistic and attainable images of beauty in all our advertising."
What do you think of the ad?
Viewers served up their thoughts on the Facebook fan page:
Stephanie writes: clearly it is not . People are looking for anything they can to gripe about! Those folks need to get a life!
Krystal writes: No I don't think it was racist at all and actually the black woman in the add was of a lighter complexion anyway... not everything has to be about race but i think dove will think twice about how their products are represented...some people are just really sensitive.
Natalie writes: I don't think it's intentionally racist. This shoud've seen a few sets of eyes before going final, since the order of the models and the "before" and "after" placement is awkward. Other than that, it's a typical Dove ad.
Kim writes: Really people??? REALLY?? Give us a damn break. If the positioning of the women was reversed, would this have even come up?? This just goes to show that there are folks out there who read WAY too much in to every damn thing that involves more than one ethnicity of people.
Teri writes: Not racist, not everything has to have the race card played.
Tony writes: I agree with you Maggie. Stupid ad, but I don't see racism. Anybody who thinks that washing with Dove soap will change the pigmentation in their skin would have to be extremely naive. I don't think that was their intent at all. The ad just doesn't make sense, so it clearly doesn't accomplish the purpose it was intended for.
Viewers tweeted their thoughts too:
DJCBS25: @maggiesworld HAHA that is semi racist.. She got a fro and everything! Wow
the_gman: @maggiesworld hmmm seems a bit racy to me.
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And that's today's helping of Online Dish.