Personal care brand Dove has been forced to apologise after releasing a series of "racist" images that appeared to show a black woman turning white after using the soap. The "deeply ignorant" campaign sees a black woman peeling off her T-shirt to reveal a white woman underneath her skin. A further image shows the white woman undressing to reveal an Asian woman. Dove, owned by consumer goods giant Unilever wrote on Twitter: "An image we recently posted on Facebook missed the mark in representing women of colour thoughtfully. We deeply regret the offence it caused."
It was unclear which market was targeted with the adverts, but makeup artist Naythemua, who first posted the images on Facebook, said the campaign was "tone deaf" and indicative of the messaging black people in the US receive about the colour of their skin.
It is not the first time the brand has found itself in hot water over its marketing messages. In 2011, a Dove campaign provoked widespread criticism after appearing to show women becoming cleaner as their skin tone lightened. The brand said in a statement at the time: "All three women are intended to demonstrate the "after" product benefit. We do not condone any activity or imagery that intentionally insults any audience."