Dove has often been lauded for its unconventional beauty marketing techniques, such as launching the innovative Real Beauty campaign, designed to represent women of various shapes, sizes, and ethnicities.
However, the beauty brand is facing major criticism this week for its latest ad for body wash. Three women are depicted in a manner which some say suggests that dark skin and hair is a problem, and that light skin and hair is an optimal result.
The ad, for your viewing pleasure.
Female-driven online sites such as Styleite and Jezebel call the ad "cringeworthy" and downright "racist," harboring angry discussions from countless women who agree in their forums. Others, like Maggie, from The Online Dish, calls it "a stupid ad" in a viral video.
However, Dove defends its ad, reporting to Gawker, "The ad is intended to illustrate the benefits of using Dove VisibleCare Body Wash, by making skin visibly more beautiful in just one week. All three women are intended to demonstrate the "after" product benefit. We do not condone any activity or imagery that intentionally insults any audience."
Regardless of whether or not the ad is blatantly racist, one thing is true: Dove is getting a lot of publicity.
It seems hard to believe that such a large company, with an undoubtedly large marketing team, failed to see anything wrong with this ad before thrusting it upon the world. Companies are known for pulling this same strategy -- while the offensive message may be "unintentional," it is always mobilizing. "Any press is good press," right?
Controversial ad campaigns such as these tend to bring hoards of both positive and negative consumers to the table.
But in Dove’s case, can this type of attention yield any positive feedback? Or in this case, is some press bad press?
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