If your job is to sell soap to the public, your job description is pretty simple: tell people about the soap.
Beauty entrepreneur Naomi Blake, aka Naythemua first noticed the ad in question. The ad begins with the line “Ready for a shower?” and shows a black woman who taking off a t-shirt to reveal a white woman underneath. That woman then removes her shirt to reveal a third woman, but it was the first switch that Blake took issue with.
The ad quickly made the rounds across social media. People’s reactions were varied, ranging from “What were they thinking?!” to “No, seriously, what the hell were they thinking?!?!”
— Megha Mohan (@meghamohan) October 8, 2017
WAIT WAIT WAIT!!! HOW DID THIS LEAVE THE WHITEBOARD?!?! pic.twitter.com/3JaPKoMOPZ
— ✨Odion 🗣🎙 (@bodaciousbobo) October 8, 2017
“Alright Dove team, we need an ad that’ll get everyone’s attention!”
Brad: “I got an idea…”
*two weeks later* pic.twitter.com/vDSKUK3rot
— Spooky X (@XLNB) October 8, 2017
Dove marketing execs approving that racist ad pic.twitter.com/JNu0zvha9w
— Laura Dowrich (@ldowrich) October 8, 2017
Lol did this even look right to y’all? I mean your whole team sat down and cleared this bullshit right here? How? pic.twitter.com/WzsZfpkxAr
— Musimbwa (@UNcubeOthungayo) October 7, 2017
— Arianna Models (@AriannaModels) October 7, 2017
Now then, before you decide to jump to Dove’s defense, (btw, thanks for being such a hero!), know that soap advertising has an awful history of racism, using the same trope found in this Dove ad! Like this ad for Pears Soap from the 1800’s, which depicts soap literally washing away a kid’s complexion.
— Gennette Cordova (@GNCordova) October 8, 2017
(Side note: when your ad from 2017 is similar to ANYTHING from 1800’s, that means you screwed up.)
While we’re at it, here’s a bunch more racist soap ads from the good ol’ days.
the racist dove ad is a continuation of a long history of racist soap advertising pic.twitter.com/nO7iDT7dxH
— /kaw·reɪdʒ/ (@kawrage) October 8, 2017
So yeah, not only did Dove screw up with THIS ad, they apparently have no knowledge of the history of their own product and the way it’s been advertised. Might be a good idea to brush up on that, Dove!
News of people’s reactions eventually made its way back to Dove, and the company went into “Cover Your Ass” mode. Anyone who’s familiar with the non-apology apology can pretty much guess what Dove said:
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
So in other words, they put about as much thought and effort into the apology as they put into the ad itself.
People on socia media weren’t having the apology, either.
You can do better than “missed the mark.” Flip + diminishing. Deepens your offense. You do good work. Have been for years. Do better here.
— Ava DuVernay (@ava) October 8, 2017
Black Women spend nearly 8 BILLION dollars in the beauty industry.
— Brittany Packnett (@MsPackyetti) October 8, 2017
I guess the one silver lining to all this is, if you’re like me and you use a body wash made by Axe Body Spray, you no longer use the most offensive body wash?
But before I go, I just want to say, in case one or two of you STILL want to leave a Facebook comment defending Dove. just remember that you are 100% allowed to not do that! In fact, you don’t have to EVER post a comment on Facebook, about anything! It’s true! Facebook isn’t going to delete your account unless you comment. You can absolutely enjoy the full Facebook experience without ever commenting once.
Facebook is really cool that way.
h/t: Pizza Bottle