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Is This ‘Racist’ Dove Ad Really Racist?!

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Last week, Dove released a 3-second video ad for their new body wash, but they had no clue what was in store. What was meant to be a celebration of diversity turned into racist allegations and an Internet riot!

The Facebook ad featured three women – one black, one white and one Middle Eastern, wearing nude t-shirts, changing into each other in this order: Black to White to Middle-Eastern. Of course, you saw it! But apparently, Dove didn’t see the potential problem with their own ad.

The Internet though was quick to respond and slam the beauty brand for their callous advertising. Most people on Twitter accused Dove of being grossly racist, and dug out their previous advertising indiscretions too, driving home the point that Dove should be boycotted.


Only a few seemed to understand what the ad was really about.


Without context, the ad seemed to say that their body wash could make a black woman white. Yes, horrific! We know. But turns out that wasn’t their intention at all. Dove’s ad was meant to portray that all skin deserves gentleness. Who would have thought?

In a recent article for The Guardian,  Lola Ogunyemi, the London-born Nigerian woman in the ad, wrote, “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. That is something that goes against everything I stand for.

However, the experience I had with the Dove team was positive. I had an amazing time on set. All of the women in the shoot understood the concept and overarching objective – to use our differences to highlight the fact that all skin deserves gentleness.”

Dove has since issued an apology on Twitter saying:

Whether the ad had racist intent or not, Dove should have definitely thought twice before uploading a clip on Facebook that could totally be taken out of context.

In a day and age when the world opines on everything – from what a celebrity should wear to more serious issues like sexism, brands have the heavy responsibility of not “missing the mark” in their advertising.

Besides, racism is not a trivial issue. It’s one that enslaved a whole people group for centuries. One that people gave their lives up for. And one that people around the world still face in the 21st century!

Did you find the Dove ad racist too? Leave us a comment and let us know.


Managing Editor at Hauterfly, Liz is your quintessential web junkie! Seriously obsessed with 'shopping deals', she can never get enough of jackets, great shoes and lots and lots of bling!

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