The “Armpit of America” ad planned to be posted by Unilever, the maker of Dove products, in New Jersey will not make it on to a billboard. New Jersey residents have spoken loud and clear. They do not find the armpit of America jokes that funny. In fact, they think the jokes stink.
The controversy started when the New York Times reported that Dove was launching a campaign to promote their new line of deodorant. Unilever, whose headquarters are in Englewood Cliffs, N.J., thought the ad would be taken as Jersey residents poking fun at their well known nickname. The idea was to try and say that being an armpit does not have to be such a bad thing. The billboard was going to read: “Dear New Jersey, when people call you ‘the Armpit of America,’ take it as a compliment. Sincerely, Dove.”
— 99 Dollar Social (@99dollarsocial) March 5, 2014
Apparently, someone at Dove thought that New Jersey residents would get the joke. “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,” said Matthew McCarthy, the senior marketing director of antiperspirants and deodorants at Unilever. He was wrong.
Once the news began to spread about the plans for the ad campaign across New Jersey, residents spoke up. Joan Gazzillo, an 81 year-old resident of Secaucus, New Jersey told CBS 2, “We don’t stink. In fact we’re a great state. Everyone wants to live here.” She was not alone. People took to Facebook, Twitter, and the comment sections to let Dove know they were not pleased. Oddly enough, the state is unofficially known by many residents as the “armpit of America”.
Dove probably thought they were being cute by saying that New Jersey needed a little love, just like they are trying to do for women’s armpits everywhere. In another advertisement, one woman writes an “open letter” to her armpit. The point is to try and help women see that the body part does not have to be disgusting, almost a dirty word. Instead, it can be a beautiful part of the female anatomy.
Regardless of their intentions and the fact that they themselves are located in New Jersey, it was probably not the smartest move by Unilever. They officially retracted the billboard plans this week and released a statement about the “armpit of America” ad.
“Our intent with the ‘Dear New Jersey’ ad was to call attention to the fact that armpits can and should be considered beautiful and ask women everywhere to accept this as something that is O.K. We did not wish to cause any misunderstanding or offense. We take feedback from our community very seriously and will not be running this billboard advertisement.”
Do you think the “armpit of America” ad was in bad taste or was it a clever idea?
[Image via The Filipino Lifestyle]