9 Shockingly Tone-Deaf Ads That Should Have Never Happened

Prepare to cringe.

Dove found itself in hot water on Saturday when the company posted an insensitive video on their Facebook page.

The ad promoting the skin-care brand’s soap shows a black woman taking off her shirt to reveal a white woman. (The second actress also takes off her shirt to reveal another woman.) Many social media users felt the images were reminiscent of racist ads of the past that depict black people as dirty, until they use a soap that transforms them into a clean white person.

The brand removed the video and released a statement saying the ad “missed the mark in representing women of color thoughtfully.”

The ad is offensive, but unfortunately, it’s not the first of its kind. Other brands, including Pepsi, Sony, Tory Burch and Gap, have created insensitive advertisements that they could’ve kept to themselves.

Feel free to roll your eyes at these nine ads:

Pepsi's Kendall Jenner protest ad
The brand came under fire in April after releasing a nearly 3-minute ad starring Kendall Jenner. In the video, Jenner stops mid-photo shoot and throws off her blond wig (into the hands of a black woman) to join a protest and save the day by giving a police officer a soda. Pepsi apologized and pulled the campaign shortly after the backlash.
Tory Burch's "Juju On That Beat" ad
In March, the fashion company premiered an ad starring white models dancing to "Juju On That Beat," a song and dance created and popularized by young black people. Not only was the video painful to watch, but it featured no black models at all. They managed to give a monkey-shaped purse some camera time, though.
Nivea's "White is Purity" ad
The German skin care company recently released a deodorant ad featuring a long-haired white woman wearing all white with the slogan "White is purity." After being slammed as racist, the company pulled the ad.
Chinese brand Qiaobi's racist laundry ad
In the 2016 video, which sparked widespread outrage, a Chinese woman pushes a black man into a washing machine to "cleanse" him of his color. He then emerges from the machines as a Chinese man.
Dove's lotion ad
Dove's most recent ad isn't the first time the brand has been accused of making a racist statement in its marketing. In 2011, the brand came under fire for placing three women in a color gradient from most to least melanin for a lotion ad. A black woman stood in front of the side with cracked, dry skin labeled "before" while a white woman stood before the moisturized "after" side.
Gap Kids' complicated ballet ad
The clothing company came under fire last year when its campaign, meant to empower girls, featured a black girl being used as an "armrest" for a taller white girl. Many people pointed out that while the white children were striking powerful poses, the black girl appeared as a passive token.
Thai company's appalling skin-whitening ad
Cosmetic company Seoul Secret, based in Thailand, released a 2016 ad featuring a model discussing the value of having fair skin. “If I stop taking care of myself, everything I have worked for, the whiteness I have invested in, may be lost,” she says in the video. As she speaks on the career misfortunes that would happen if she stopped her skin-lightening regimen, her skin begins to darken as a second model remains with fair skin. “White makes you win,” she says, adding that the advertised product “helps you not return to black.”
Nivea's offensive "Re-Civilize Yourself" campaign
In 2011, Nivea released a magazine ad featuring a clean-shaven black man preparing to throw a black mask that sported an afro and beard. The ad read, “Look like you give a damn ... Re-civilize yourself.” The skin care company eventually apologized after receiving backlash.
Sony's blatantly racist PSP billboard
The tech company pulled its 2006 Dutch campaign ad depicting a stern white woman grabbing a black woman by the face after it drew criticism in the United States. The ad, which read "white is coming," was meant to promote the new white PlayStation Portable console, but it really looked like it was promoting modern-day slavery.

Before You Go


Fighting Racism And Discrimination Everyday

Popular in the Community


What's Hot