09/10/2017 11:44 SAST | Updated 09/10/2017 11:55 SAST

Marketing Experts Explain Why The Dove Ad Is So Wrong

"Black consumers are really offended."


DNA Brand Architects founder and chief architect Sylvester Chauke says Dove might have given the idea that its controversial, racist advert is a reflection of its brand.

The American advertising campaign shows a series of photographs in which a black woman pulls off her T-shirt to reveal a white woman underneath.

Another image shows the white woman undressing to reveal an Asian woman.

"Black consumers are really offended by this ad and speaks to the core of what should change about advertising and the reflection of what beauty is," he said.

"This is also so jarring because Dove does claim to fight not to conform to stereotypes of beauty, so I can imagine their challenge right now," he added.

He said the brand could suffer in the short term and that the boycott South African consumers are calling for could "affect their sales and operations".

The company's only redemption could be how they handle this situation.

Chauke also highlights the general portrayal of black people in advertisements.

"There is a systematic issue at play here in terms of how black people are portrayed in advertising," he said.

Although the matter will soon "normalise", Unilever has to ensure that incidents like this do not happen in the future, he said.

"I do hope there is an additional layer of internal review in place to ensure that this huge misjudgment does not happen again."

Marketing guru Groovin Nchabeleng says the controversial Dove advert is "pushing the creative envelope too high".

Nchabeleng places emphasis on the current discourse around race in South Africa as the explanation behind the outrage it has caused, saying "this is a very sensitive stage for the country".

"People are proud of their skin and who they are... they [Dove] are saying this race is better than another" he added.

He does, however, say this will blow over.

"There have been controversial Nando's adverts, but people still go there."

The pictures surfaced on social media when American make-up artist Naythemua highlighted how the advert could be problematic.

In a series of posts, she dissected what message this advertisement is sending to black Americans.

"What does America tell black people... that we are judged by the color of our skin and that includes what is considered beautiful in this country... they believe lighter representations should be at the forefront... and that the darker you are the less beautiful."

"This ad is troubling for little black girls and colorism," she said.


Dove has since published a statement apologising for the advertisement.

"An image we recently posted on Facebook missed the mark in representing women of colour thoughtfully. We deeply regret the offence it caused.

"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 has removed the post and has not published any other related content.