Personal care and beauty brand Dove found itself in the midst of a social media storm yesterday after it released a series of images that showed a black woman turning white after using its soap.
The Facebook campaign showed a series of three images, in which a black woman takes off her T-shirt to reveal a white woman underneath. In the last image the woman is revealed to be Asian.
Dove has since apologised for the series of “racist” images and removed it from Facebook.
“An image we recently posted missed the mark in representing women of colour thoughtfully,” the brand tweeted. “We deeply regret the offence it caused.”
The campaign from Dove, who has built its brand around being the “the home of real beauty”, provoked anger all over the world, including among South Africans.
Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa retweeted the advert and wrote, “We strongly condemn this racist campaign by Dove and note with concern that this is not the first time they’ve been called out for racism.”
“And there is Dove with their racist ad. I now believe brands aim to offend for attention. Can’t believe nobody at Dove saw the racism in this,” blogger Phil Mphela wrote on Twitter.
Radio personality Eusebius McKaiser wrote, “Dove: with one quarter moisturising cream ... can’t clean racism.”
Dove runs a “self-esteem project”, which aims to help young people form healthy friendships, overcome body image issues and be their best selves.