People Are P*ssed At Dove's "Pathetic" Apology For Racist Ad Campaign
Another day, another brand misunderstanding how to sensitively approach diversity in their advertising campaigns.
This time it's Dove who have been forced to both remove and apologise for an advert posted to Facebook after it was met with widespread condemnation for its racist connotations.
If you didn't see it, the ad showed a black woman stripping off her brown t-shirt to reveal a white woman 'underneath' her skin. The white woman then took off her t-shirt to reveal a woman of Asian origin.
Bearing in mind the advert was for bodywash, it has unsurprisingly been met with criticism with many questioning why Dove would choose to feature the dark-skinned woman seeming to 'turn white'.
— Habeeb Akande (@Habeeb_Akande) October 8, 2017
As one commenter remarked on Facebook: "The message conveyed to me was that the Black Woman is dirty and once you use Dove soap, you’ll be clean and White."
Dove have since apologised for any offense caused with the following statement:
An image we recently posted on Facebook missed the mark in representing women of color thoughtfully. We deeply regret the offense it caused.
— Dove (@Dove) October 7, 2017
Still, it does make you question how this and countless other racially insensitive ads made by various other major brands - and you only have to remember Kendall Jenner and that Pepsi fiasco earlier this year to see that it's happening again and again - are being approved by what you can only assume are large teams of people working on these advertising campaigns. Just how many people signed off on this ad and yet never even thought that perhaps it might just cause offense to PoC?
And while taking responsibility and apologising is something, is it really enough? Director Ava DuVernay isn't convinced and points out that brands need to be better informed. Posting on Twitter, she responded: "You can do better than 'missed the mark.' Flip + diminishing. Deepens your offense. You do good work. Have been for years. Do better here."
She's not the only one who feels this way either:
— Munroe Bergdorf (@MunroeBergdorf) October 8, 2017
I wanna know what it was SUPPOSED to do for women of color though. It was purely racist. There's no debate and this is a pathetic apology. https://t.co/iM7MOAEToi
— Lauren Jauregui (@LaurenJauregui) October 9, 2017
Interestingly, diversity and inclusivity are something that more and more brands are choosing to incorporate into their marketing, and while it is undoubtedly great to see the traditionally very white, thin, straight and privileged beauty ideals being challenged in the media, it's also important to recognise that these diverse identities shouldn't be used as mere trends.
Being black or plus size or LGBTQ+ isn't just something that should be used to push a product and if you aren't making a concerted effort to really understand the social and political issues affecting these identities, should you really be using them to further your brand image at all?
- Linds Foley
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