Personal care brand Dove said a recent marketing campaign “missed the mark in representing women of color thoughtfully,” amid criticism that the advertisements were racially insensitive.
Dove — owned by Unilever in the U.S. and UK — tweeted that it regretted that anyone was offended by its latest Facebook campaign, which depicts women taking off their shirt to reveal a woman of a different race.
In one photo, a black woman seemingly transformed into a light-skinned woman. The ad no longer appears to be displayed on the Facebook page.
Tweet: An image we recently posted on Facebook missed the mark in representing women of color thoughtfully. We deeply regret the offense it caused.
Dove’s latest faux pas is not the only time it has been knocked on social media. In May, the brand promoted custom bottles that were intended to celebrate the diversity of body shapes, but became the butt of jokes on Twitter. And a 2011 Dove ad was also criticized as racist by some viewers.
That campaign showed a “before” and “after” skin close-up with dark-skinned women standing in front of the “before” picture, with light-skinned woman standing in front of the “after” picture.
Dove’s personal care line, which includes soap, body wash, shampoo and other toiletries, has used the slogan “real beauty” since 2004. Earlier this year, a Morning Consult poll found that consumers have an overwhelmingly positive view of Dove’s brand.
Shonda Rhimes, the creator of shows like “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Scandal,” recently signed on as a spokesperson for Dove. She told a blogger at The Lily this summer that her perspective as a woman of color has shaped her shows, in an interview that promoted her partnership with Dove.