A new Dove ad, released in New Jersey earlier this week, has been removed after it was criticized for being offensive to New Jersey residents.
Apparently, New Jersey has been referred to as the "Armpit of America" for some time now, and Dove took the opportunity to use this pun in their ad. "Dear New Jersey, when people call you 'The Armpit of America,' take it as a compliment. Sincerely, Dove," the ads, which appeared on billboards, read.
Some found the ads to be amusing, while other residents found them completely offensive, and took to Dove's official Facebook page to voice their outrage.
"Dear Dove, I was born and raised in NJ and will no longer be using your products. Take it as a compliment," Katherine Elizabeth posted on Dove's page. "Simply because NJ is constantly portrayed in a negative light... The Sopranos made it look like we are all mobsters, Jersey Shore made us all out to drunken fools.... NJ has been referred to as an armpit before, and it certainly is not. It is a hub of culture and music," she later commented. "It boasts some of the most beautiful parks and historic places. Shame on Dove for perpetuating an unfortunate stereo type."
Dove's parent company is Unilever, and Matthew McCarthy is the senior marketing director of deodorants there. He told the New York Times that he never thought the ad would be considered offensive.
“I don’t expect that there will be a lot of people who misunderstand, but to the degree that they do, we’ll be open about what we’re really trying to say,” he said. “The message that we want to get out there is that the armpit is not a bad thing, and that we stand for caring for the armpit.”
The billboards were advertising a new line of deodorant called Dove Advanced Care, that was created to help beautify women's underarms. “Women don’t really see the skin of their underarms like the skin on the rest of their body,” McCarthy said. “When they think about their underarms, they think mostly about odor and wetness.” The mission of the ads were to get women to feel beautiful about their bodies, even their armpits.
Below is one of the commercials for Dove's armpit ads:
Image via NDN