After a successful and award-winning run with its “Real Beauty” campaign, Dove created controversy with a new body wash ad posted on their Facebook page. The three-second Dove ad featured a clip of three women removing their shirt to reveal the next model. Yet one transition featured a black woman removing her shirt to reveal a white woman, sparking debate about what racial message that sends to consumers about skin color and “cleanliness.”
Dove issued a statement of apology on Facebook, but a single three-second clip greatly threatened the brand value Dove built surrounding pro-women advocacy. In a comment to Born2Invest, Vivaldi CEO and Founder Erich Joachimsthaler said that “due to the error, Dove just unraveled the entire premise of its campaign saying that the ad undermines the very brand value that it stands for.” The backlash Dove received shows how delicate brand perception truly is and the potential for it to come crashing down with one mistake. Dove will have its work cut out in regaining consumer trust and reestablishing its image as a brand built for and around women.