PR disaster showed black woman turning white
LONDON - Reuters)
A social media outcry over an advertisement for Dove body wash which showed a black woman removing her top to reveal a white woman has escalated into a public relations disaster for the Unilever brand.
The 3-second video clip, posted on Dove’s U.S. Facebook page on Oct. 6, reminded some social media users of racist soap adverts from the 19th century or early 20th century that showed black people scrubbing their skin to become white.
Dove removed the clip and apologized, saying on Twitter that the post had “missed the mark in representing women of color thoughtfully.”
But the apology failed to stem a torrent of online criticism, with some social media users calling for a boycott of Dove products, while conventional media outlets in the United States and Europe were also seizing on the story.
On Twitter, posts including the hashtag #BoycottDove, which started over the weekend among U.S. users, were appearing in multiple European languages.
In the full clip, the black woman removed her t-shirt to reveal the white woman, who then lifted her own top to reveal an Asian woman.
“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,” Dove said in a statement.
Dove declined to say how the ad was produced and approved. It said it was “re-evaluating our internal processes for creating and approving content.”