An advertisement was recently released by Dove for a new body wash on their Facebook page. A huge backlash followed the ad, which seemed to infer that the company’s product had transformed a Black Woman into a White Woman. Many complained about what they consider to be racist overtones in Dove’s message. The company has since released an apology for the advert on Twitter and Facebook, but the backlash continues as people try to understand what their message was supposed to be.

Body wash changes a woman’s skin color?

The advert, which has since been deleted, featured four images arranged in a square.

The top two images featured a black woman, about to remove the brown shirt she is wearing. Beneath those images are two other images. One shows the black woman lifting up the shirt, while the second reveals a smiling white woman, seemingly implying the body wash had changed the model’s skin color.

Many social media users expressed their ire over what they deemed a racist ad. Dove initially headed to Twitter to say they had obviously “missed the mark” while representing women of color in a thoughtful manner. They added that they deeply regret any offense the ad caused.

One Twitter user by the name of Whitney responded, sharing an image of the ad and asking Dove to explain their reasoning for it.

As noted by the Kansas City Star, Dove released a second statement, apologizing for the offending advert on Facebook. This time they went into a little more detail, explaining that the company is committed to representing “the beauty of diversity.” They again went on to state they had “missed the mark,” adding they deeply regret the offense their ad has caused.

Dove went on to add that the feedback they have received is important to them and will be used to guide their actions in the future.

Despite two apologies, it seems the level of the company’s offense and their brief apology is not enough, as Dove hasn’t explained what the intention of the advert was supposed to be. Twitter user rosechocglam took the ad at what she believed to be face value.

She wrote quite simply that “White = Clean” and “Black = Dirty,” adding this is the world according to Dove.

Twitter users suggest Dove needs a new marketing team

The Athena Project took it even further on Twitter, saying it might be time for Dove to recruit a new marketing team – “hopefully from this century” – going on to say the “sub-textual racism” bears too many parallels. Sanjee Perera went on to say the historical context makes it so much worse

According to a report by the New York Daily News, Dove has been in trouble before for a skin lotion that was advertised as being for “normal to dark skin.” One user responded on Twitter to ask Dove who had told them her dark skin wasn’t normal.

Meanwhile, Dove has always prided itself on its diversity, often featuring women of varying body types and backgrounds in what they term their “Real Beauty” campaign. From the feedback they received for their recent advert, it looks like they’ll have to try harder.