Dove offers apology for much-criticized body wash ad

Dove is apologizing for a small ad which many describe as racist.

The ad, for Dove body wash, shows a white model take off her shirt and become a black model. Then, the black model takes off her shirt and becomes a middle eastern model. Some saw the white woman becoming a black woman as racist, with many complaints directed towards Dove.

The ad featured the tagline “if your skin were a wash label, what would it say?

Dove PR (via parent company Unilever) offered this apology. 

“As a part of a campaign for Dove Body Wash, a 3-second video clip was posted to the U.S. Facebook page. This did not represent the diversity of real beauty which is something Dove is passionate about and is core to our beliefs, and it should not have happened. We have removed the post and have not published any other related content. We apologize deeply and sincerely for the offense that it has caused and do not condone any activity or imagery that insults any audience.”

It’s a sensitive issue, as many are seeing the now-deleted ad without its full context – that all women are beautiful. The third model featured in the ad isn’t discussed, as some appear to think it just features the white and black model. With the added context, the message is different. However, it’s undeniable how distasteful the ad looks when the third woman is cut out of it.

Race is a tricky subject to navigate, especially in advertising. Dove missed the mark on this ad – even if their intentions were positive.

[Ad Age]

About Liam McGuire

Social +Staff writer for The Comeback & Awful Announcing.