Anatomy of a PR crisis: Dove forced to defend allegedly ‘racist’ ad

The controversy over the ad began on Monday with a 54-word blog post. Today, newspapers and TV stations are covering the story, prompting Unilever-owned Dove to respond to allegations of racism.

Such is the case this week for Unilever-owned Dove brand.

On Monday, the blog Copyranter shared the ad (shown above) from Dove under the headline: “Dove body wash turns Black women into Latino women into White women.” The blog called the ad “stupid” and suggested it was a fake. It wasn’t.

Should Dove have responded to the blog immediately? There’s little need to ask that question because hours later a much larger website, Gawker, picked up the story, calling it “the most (unintentionally) racist skin care ad in about … 10 months.” One day later the blog Styleite asked the question: “Is Dove’s Newest Body Wash Ad Racist?”

Today, The Huffington Post, BNet, several newspapers and TV station websites, and countless blogs are asking the same question: Is this ad racist?

In just three days, a 54-word blog post has sparked a PR storm for Dove.

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