Dove racism row: The most ill-judged commercials of all time

Dove racism row: The most ill-judged commercials of all time

Dove has been criticised for its advertising campaign

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

From a Dove point of view, the best you can say is that any publicity is better than no publicity.

But, if you're being critical, its latest campaign has to go down as one of the most ill-judged adverts of all time.

Dove created an ad campaign using a Gif on Facebook where a black woman takes off her clothes to unveil a white woman underneath, this was supposed to promote body wash, but all it has done is ignite a racism storm. 

Apologists have pointed out the white woman then takes off her top to reveal an Asian woman, but this hasn't saved Dove from a blizzard of criticism and scorn.

The beauty company has now removed the advert and apologised for the blunder. Which is a bit like David Cameron turning round and telling Britain's Remainers that a referendum on the EU might have been a teeny bit rash.

But is this the most ill-judged ad of all time? Well, as many people will tell you, there's plenty of competition. Check out some of the other candidates and decide for yourself.

Pepsi's protest culture exploitation 

This advert was released earlier this year, at the same time as many Black Lives Matter protests were taking place - leading many to naturally conclude that the commercial was supposed to represent these marches.

Model Kendall Jenner breaks a tense stand-off between police and protesters by offering one of the officers a can of Pepsi. Inevitably, critics suggested that the drinks compnay was exploiting the protest culture for commercial gain and have actually helped their rival, Coca-Cola, by producing such a crass and ham-fisted advert.

Beckham, Totti and some proper village idiocy

The Kendall Jenner ad isn't the face time Pepsi has faced a firestorm over its advertising.

In 2001 the company created an ad in which soccer superstars David Beckham, Francesco Totti and Roberto Carlos saved a village's supply of Pepsi. An evil army had invaded the village and captured all the Pepsi cans, for some reason, but the footballers saved the day by, er, kicking a ball at a cage full of cans and setting them free.

Beckham was the most famous footballer in the world at the time, and Totti and Carlos weren't far behind. So surely nothing could go wrong with this one.

Well plenty of people liked the ad, and it generated nothing like the controversy engendered by Kendall Jenner's one-woman peace mission. But a number of people thought it was pretty silly, and, in hindsight, they have a point.

Booking's sweary faux pas might be forgiven for empathising with Pepsi, after an advert they ran in 2015 unleashed a flood of criticism.

The ad, which substituted a swearword for the Booking brandname, was viewed as controversial particularly because it had been shown alongside children's programmes, which people said encouraged children to use bad language.

Oven Pride's gender war

Kitchen cleaner Oven Pride also came under fire for its advert in 2010. The voiceover said using the cleaner was "so easy even a man can do it."

It even ended with the line "no men were harmed in the making of this commercial," causing both men and women to accuse the brand of gender stereotyping.


Rimmel's Union Jack divides opinion

Model Kate Moss has also been caught up in advertising controversy as she fronted a Rimmel make up campaign.

The adverts heavily featured Union Jacks, with the model even wearing the flag herself. Yet given most of the company's products are made in China, Spain and Italy, the ad was dogged by suggestions of false advertising.


Love it or hate it? Most people seem to choose the latter

Then there's the Marmite ads from 2010, which turned the brand's 'love-it-or-hate-it' motif into a mock political campaign.

Marmite's marketing team ran two ads, one from the "hate campaign" - the people who hate the spread - and one from the "love campaign."

The hate campaign claimed it wanted to introduce "Marmite-eating" zones in the UK, whilst the love campaign said it wanted to help society, for example introducing Marmite-flavoured pencils in schools to increase attendance.

It received many complaints relating to its political nature as well as being accused of racism and denigration.