We're used to absentmindedly scrolling past video ads in our Facebook feed, but last week, one particular advertisement stopped users in their tracks. Posted by Unilever beauty brand Dove, the bodywash ad depicted three women removing their T-shirts to reveal they'd transformed into another person. The issue? The GIF showed a black woman turning into a white woman, and the internet was in an uproar. The controversial ad went viral on social media when makeup artist and model Naomi Leann Blake shared a screenshot and expressed her shock, The New York Times reports.
"So I'm scrolling through Facebook and this is the #dove ad that comes up.... ok so what am I looking at?" she wrote.
By Sunday, the advertisement had been removed from Facebook, and Dove issued a statement: "An image we recently posted on Facebook missed the mark in representing women of color thoughtfully. We deeply regret the offense it caused." Facebook user Ariel Macklin expressed in a comment what many were thinking: "What was the mark? I mean anyone with eyes can see how offensive this is. Not one person on your staff objected to this?" The comment was liked more than 1100 times.
This isn't the first time a Dove ad has been criticised. In 2011, the company came under fire because of an ad that depicted an African-American woman under the sign "before" and a white woman under the sign "after." Many social media users said that Dove's ad continued a long history of racist beauty messaging, where white skin is seen as "pure."
How did you react to Dove's bodywash advertisement?