For the past few days, the personal care brand has been receiving flak online for posting a racist advertisement. According to mainstream media outlets, Dove posted the ad via their official social media account last Saturday. The ad was a GIF image showing a black woman taking off her nude-colored shirt to reveal a white woman. The white woman then does the same to reveal a third woman.
Immediately after its release, people were all over the allegedly racist Dove advertisement. Screenshots of the short video rapidly circulated online, drawing outrage and heavy criticism in various social media networks. Meanwhile, others remain baffled with Dove’s original intention behind their controversial ad.
With outrage erupting left and right, Dove quickly issued an apology via their official Twitter and Facebook accounts, stating that it “missed the mark” in representing women of color and apologizing for the offense that it has caused.
This was not the first time that Dove has been in hot water over an offensive ad. Back in 2011, the brand got in trouble for an ad showing three women who were lined up from darkest to lightest skinned, appearing under the words “before” and “after”. While Dove’s intention was to show skin dryness, the ad’s presentation made it easy to be misinterpreted as a racist remark.
But after issuing the apology last Sunday, people are still outraged over the ad that has since been put down. The backlash is so bad that a #BoycottDove campaign has been spreading on Twitter since yesterday.
The personal care brand issued a statement to Reuters on Monday, stating that they “got it wrong” and were unable to convey the message through the ad. “The short video was intended to to convey that Dove body wash is for every woman and be a celebration of diversity, but we got it wrong,” it wrote.
Everyone Deserves Gentleness
Lola Ogunyemi, the woman in the controversial Dove ad, has spoken about her side in an opinion article published by The Guardian. The model, who is of Nigerian descent, tells about how each of them who were involved in the project understood the concept and intention - which was to use their differences in skin tone and highlight that everyone deserves gentleness.
“If I had even the slightest inclination that I would be portrayed as inferior, or as the “before” in a before and after shot, I would have been the first to say an emphatic “no”. I would have (un)happily walked right off set and out of the door,” Ogunyemi wrote.
While she might have come to Dove’s defense in her article, she also believes that it was only right to issue a public apology for those who were offended by the advertisement. However, she thinks that Dove should have took the extra mile to explain and defend their creative vision.