Allegations of Racism in Latest Dove Ad (Screenshots)

Racist ad from Dove bodywash

There’s a very weird collage of what appear to be stills from a Dove commercial going around on social media.

Racist ad from Dove bodywash

It takes a few seconds to make sense of it… At first, one may question oneself as to one’s perception of it. “This cannot be what I think this is. This cannot be real.” But it is.

And the official Twitter account of the Dove brand apologized for it being posted on the Facebook page of Dove USA, albeit not enough. Because how in the world and in this day and age can a company explain how that ad got approved??

The video GIF has been taken down but here are more screen captures that viewers were able to save. It depicts a dark-skinned woman wearing a chocolate-colored shirt… Apparently she uses Dove’s bodywash… And then when it appears she is taking off her shirt… The result? A Caucasian woman wearing a light-colored shirt.

Dove ad

racist Dove ad

racist Dove ad

White woman in Dove ad

Dove had been accused back in 2011 for something similar — that time in a print ad. One could argue that the ad below really isn’t that bad at all because many people would first process that the “before” refers to the dry cracked skin, while the “after” is the smoother skin that’s the expected result of using the product being advertised.

Before and after racist Dove ad

It is arguably a coincidence that the darkest-skinned model is on the left under the “before” letters. Furthermore, this particular ad came out six years ago when ad agencies existed in a society less attuned to such considerations.

There’s no way to view the latest ad as coincidental placement. And you’d think that ad agencies today can surmise beforehand the range of reactions their ads can elicit. In this particular instance, almost everyone who’s seen the screenshots is aghast.

Racist ad from Dove bodywash

How do you think did this ad make it through the approval process?

UPDATE: There are people who saw the commercial who’ve now informed us it’s not as bad as the screenshots make it out to be. It seems the ad was taking inspiration from the last part of Michael Jackson’s Black or White music video. Further, it was not just two women in the entire clip. There was a third woman — when the second woman takes off her shirt, there’s a third woman of a sort of “middle” skin tone. And the ad goes so fast that your brain really cannot process much in terms of interpreting what it could possibly mean. They’re basically just three random women.

It’s sort of a shame that Dove quickly took down the video GIF, causing many to think the worst of it because of the incomplete information. Just being told that there were three women instead of two affects one’s opinion enormously. And of course, whoever decided to just show two women but not the third in the group of screencaps being circulated really did people a disservice.

Dove ad skin color
Found and added, Oct. 8

Maybe the Dove team will sleep on it and decide it’s better to resurrect the video GIF and let us decide for ourselves. It did create quite a buzz of outrage.