What the hell?
The above jaw-dropping ad for Dove soap debuted to so much outrage and controversy that it was almost immediately taken off the web. Dove apologized by the ad had “missed the mark.” WHAT mark? What could an ad that shows a black woman transforming herself into a white woman under the influence of Dove soap have been intended to convey?
That Dove is so amazing that it turns a black woman into a white one (actually a gorgeous black woman into a sort of cute white one)?
That inside every black woman is a white women trying to get out?
That race is only skin deep?
That white and black women are essentially interchangeable, given the right soap?
That black women are like caterpillars, and eventually emerge from their shell as white women?
This is a level of incompetence that one seldom sees, even in Washington, D.C. Nobody in the chain of command as this ad was created and launched, from the ad agency to the company’s executives, had sufficient cultural awareness to say, indeed to scream, “Wait, are you kidding? We can’t use an ad like that! Don’t be ridiculous!” How can that be?
I am perplexed.
UPDATE: I am only somewhat less perplexed. Here is the original ad in its entirety: all I could find last night was the screen shots.
Thanks to texagg04 for passing on a link to the actual video. Contrary to the arguments of some, it doesn’t change the dead ethics alarms diagnosis. It’s an add for soap. The implication that enough soap can turn a black girl white is obviously going to be offensive, whatever happens afterwards.
By the way, I wasn’t offended by the ad; I was offended by the incompetence of anyone in business and who lives in the US, especially post-Obama’s racialized 8 years, not immediately seeing how the ad was running over land mines. Now I must presume that the commenters who shrug it off aren’t ad executives and don’t make soap. They have an excuse. Dove doesn’t.