Friday, November 10, 2017

Dove Ad controversy

    Beauty brand Dove deleted a "three-second video clip" from its Facebook page and admitted Saturday that it had "missed the mark in thoughtfully representing women of color" in an ad for body wash. Consumers had reacted angrily to images of a black woman removing a brown shirt and appearing to transform into a white woman removing a similar shirt (Held). People were more outraged at the fact that the advertisement had that representation of black woman to the white women compiled into a static collage by a social media user evoked a long-running racist trope in soap advertising: a “dirty” black person cleansed into whiteness. An example, was an ad by the N.K Fairbank Company, which was in business from 1875 to 1921, that featured a white child asking a black child, “Why doesn’t your mamma wash you with Fairy soap?"(Astor). 

     People and business' around the world that buy Dove's products are the people who are affected by this controversy. the brand had actually made important progress in stakeholder engagement as the foundation of its Campaign for Real Beauty, through a survey and study in which it probed consumers perceptions of beauty. Stakeholder engagement in a company is very hard for some companies. It tells a hard truth that is sometimes hard to take in and accept. What Dove did was reach out in what felt like a real and honest dialog with consumers and concluded that it needed to address perceptions of beauty straight on. In doing so, they released a controversial ad on social media which could potentially hurt there 13 year campaign for real beauty. Hence, the stakeholders that view this and think to themselves how did this get pas through the board of review also turns heads on if consumers of Dove going to be as loyal as they where before this controversy. Which hurts business for Dove when they are viewed as a racist company. 

    Individualism is that business actions should maximize profits for the owners of a business, but do so within the law (Salazar). Dove made a huge mistake when publishing this ad to the public, due to the negative backlash. The decisions that Dove makes put their brand in jeopardy of being viewed as an unethical brand. For now, this can hurt business and profits due to the image that is being portrayed by this ad. Also, this is not the first time Dove has done something like this. Dove has to begin to turn their image around so they can show to the public that they do not stand for racism.

     Utilitarianism is that business actions should aim to maximize the happiness in the long run for all conscious beings that are affected by the business actions (Salazar). In this case, not everyone was happy with this ad that was published to social media. A lot of people said that they found the ad racist and that the ad perceives the color "Black" to be dirty and transforming into a white women represents her being "Clean". This outraged many minorities, because people did not blame the companies intent, people where more outraged on their approval process. 

     Unlike Utilitarianism, Kantianism is always acting in ways that respect and honor individuals and their choices. Don't lie, cheat, manipulate or harm others to get your way. rather, use informed and rational consent from all parties (Salazar). The people responding to this controversy were more outraged about the approval process of this ad. Again I don't believe that Dove intent was to portray a racist ad. The approval team did not take into consideration rational decision-making, autonomy of individuals, and finally honesty and freedom. Dove acknowledged their fault via Twitter and Facebook, saying it "missed the mark in thoughtfully representing women of color and we deeply regret the offense that it has caused. The feedback that has been shared is important to us and we'll use it to guide us in the future (Held). 

Virtue theory: 
    The Virtue theory is to act so as to embody a variety of virtuous or good character traits and so as to avoid vicious or bad character traits (Salazar). Dove did not promote wellness or flourishing of individuals within a society. Instead, Dove released an ad which angered people of all backgrounds and ethic backgrounds. Dove did the opposite of what the Virtue theory stands for which hurts business as a whole. Dove should focus on the good character traits and to avoid in this case racist or bad vicious character traits.


  1. Cdenap, your topic is a very interesting case where unethical business behavior is definitely clear. Dove putting out an add where they portray being a person of color as "dirty" and being white as "clean" was a terrible move by Dove's marketing/advertising team. This was a really big mistake and a lot of people that viewed this ad are not going to forgive anytime soon. Dove really put themselves in a position where they can not control their future. The message has been received by the world and now the company is paying the consequences. As far as the blog goes, the first thing that stuck out was that there were no photos on your blog. Besides the photos, I would just say to possibly go more in depth in your utilitarianism and virtue theory paragraphs. Other than that the blog contained some really good points and I enjoyed reading about this scandal.

    1. Cdenap, I agree with Brendan, your blog post is definitely lacking on the visual side. This is unfortunate because not only is it a requirement, but photos could have really benefitted your blog, considering you wrote about an advertising scandal. Additionally, I think all of your areas lacked content and support. There really wasn't a lot to read. I would challenge you in the next few weeks to really dive deep into your research and elaborate a bit more on each section. On a positive note, I do think you chose a very interesting topic. It is a shame the marketers didn't realize this massive mistake before they released it to the public.