Dove Offensive Ad: The Chaos , Unilever’s Atonement … but Who Dunnit?
Last month, it was Bell Pottinger gaffe, the industry had to contend with the PR agency’s highly offensive racist PR campaign in South Africa. This hardly laid to rest, Unilever’s Dove body wash on Friday in the US unveiled a Facebook advertisement described as a spite on coloured people. However, like the Kendal Jenner’s Pepsi ad flop recorded a couple of months back, tongues are wagging, who did the distasteful Dove online material?
The body wash ad showed a black woman, a Nigerian, Lola Ogunyemi taking off her shirt to reveal a white woman underneath. Suggesting whites skins are the preferred!
The backlash began Friday when makeup artist and online beauty products retailer, Naomi Leann Blake(@NaytheMua) posted images from the ad on her Facebook news feed.
By Saturday, amid growing social-media criticism, Dove issued its apology. In its statement on Twitter and Facebook, Dove said: “An image we recently posted on Facebook missed the mark in representing women of color thoughtfully. We deeply regret the offense it caused.”
However, the multinational’s apologies for the Facebook ad decried as racist in social-media backlash is described as an irritant with treats of boycotts on social media. “The brand’s apology has been met mostly with derision since it was issued Saturday, including threats of boycotts and questions about how the ad could have been approved in the first place”, reports Adage.
A statement for Dove from its PR shop Edelman says: “As a part of a campaign for Dove Body Wash, a 3-second video clip was posted to the U.S. Facebook page. This did not represent the diversity of real beauty which is something Dove is passionate about and is core to our beliefs, and it should not have happened. We have removed the post and have not published any other related content. We apologize deeply and sincerely for the offense that it has caused and do not condone any activity or imagery that insults any audience.”
Who Dunnit? Another in-house gaffe?
It’s unclear who created the ad. Ogilvy & Mather handles much of the brand’s creative work, but Unilever also has moved considerable work, particularly for quick-turnaround digital ads, in house to its U Studios.
It will be recalled that Pepsico ran into a similar challenge in July when the company’s in-house agency was said to have conceived and created the Kendal Jenner’s commercial that became a monumental challenge for the company to manage. It can only be hoped this is not another in-house conceited, self inflicted damage?
With additional reports from adage.com