What were they thinking? Dove ad branded ‘racist’ is causing outrage online

And it's not the first time the brand has been embroiled in this sort of controversy.
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Beauty and skincare brand Dove, found itself in pipping hot water over the weekend when it released a supposedly ‘racist‘ three-second ad promoting body wash on social media.

The BBC reports, anger erupted online over the clip which showed a black woman, presumably in a bathroom, peeling off her T-shirt (or ‘skin’) to reveal a smiling white woman underneath. A third image shows the white woman undressing to reveal an Asian woman.

A bottle of Dove body wash was present in the corner of the screen during the ad.

The offending three-second video clip was released on Saturday on the Dove US Facebook page and we’re left wondering: what was Dove thinking? How does such a misstep like this make its way out of a whiteboard brainstorming session and onto social media? Surely someone put their hand up in a creative meeting and questioned: “could this be deemed offensive?”

The brand posted a brief apology to Twitter:

“An image we recently posted on Facebook missed the mark in representing women of colour thoughtfully. We deeply regret the offense it caused,” the statement read.

The Facebook campaign has been removed, but offended social media users were quick to snap a screen shot of the ad.

“Thought that Dove ad was fake until the apology happened. People actually sat at a table and said ‘Yeah post that picture’?” wrote one befuddled user.

While some accused the brand of racism and whitewashing, others were plainly flummoxed by the ad, questioning what the intended message actually was.

“I think they meant it’s for all skin types… it went from black to white to another race,” said one Facebook user.

“The third woman is definitely not white but this was a bad deliverance of the message that all can use the soap,” posted another.

Incredibly, this isn’t the fist time Dove has been forced to apologise for insensitive material. In 2015, Dove was accused of racism after it released a summer glow cream for use on “normal to dark skin.”

While back in 2011, the brand was criticised for using a before and after image that appeared to place three women in a colour gradient of dark to light with the lightest woman suggested as the positive end result.

In response to further online criticism, Dove released another, slightly longer statement than the original two-line tweet.

“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,” it said.

“We have removed the post and have not published any other related content. We apologise deeply and sincerely for the offence that it has caused.”

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