A beauty company has pulled their ad for a skin-lightening product after backlash on social media. In the advertisement that features a skin-lightening product, the slogan “you just need to be white to win” is stated plainly in the ad. Many social media users claim that the ad promoted racism and was depicting dark-skinned individuals as “losers.” Following the criticism, the company pulled the ad and apologized noting that they did not “intend” for the commercial to be viewed as racist, but rather they were hoping to convey that “self-improvement in terms of personality, appearance, skills, and professionality is crucial” for success.
The Daily Mail reports that Thai beauty company Seoul Secret is under fire for a recent advertisement that featured Thai actress Cris Horwang. The advertisement was for a skin-lightening product called Snowz that the actress attributes for her trademark pale complexion. The product itself was not criticized; however, the message within the advertisement was deemed racist and discriminatory by a host of social media users.
— ST Foreign Desk (@STForeignDesk) January 8, 2016
The company’s ad featured the tagline, “you just need to be white to win” noting that Horwang would not be as successful without her trademark pale skin. The ad claims that Horwang uses Snowz as a means to maintain her white complexion with the Snowz product, and that if she stopped maintaining her whiteness, everything she has invested would be gone.
“If I stopped taking care of my body and white complexion, all that I have invested will be gone.”
The controversial ad featured the actress exclaiming that without her white skin, a newcomer would replace her and take her fame. The ad then showed the white actress standing next to a version of Horwang painted black. The black-faced Horwang looks withdrawn as the white woman offers her a pack of skin-lightening pills. The woman then smiles and looks happy as her black paint is removed and her pale skin is revealed.
The message in the ad is that lighter skin is more desirable which is consistent with Thai culture which views lighter skin as a symbol of higher status. However, not everyone agrees and says that the numerous skin-lightening ads are taking their advertisements too far by deeming dark-skinned people as “losers” or uglier than white people.
“This ad is so obviously racist and another attempt to brainwash Thai women. They’re saying that being dark is ugly. It’s a narrow-minded and disgusting attitude.”
Following the backlash the advertisement was removed and the company issued a statement regarding the allegations of racism.
“What we intended to convey was that self-improvement in terms of personality, appearance, skills, and professionality is crucial.”
However, marketing strategists say that the company likely knew that the commercial would receive critical blacklash and used it as a marketing move. Prior to the removal of the video, the ad was viewed over 100,000 times with many people taking to the company’s Facebook page for more information on how to order the product.
Thai cosmetics company Seoul Secret’s promo also said “you just need to be white to win.” https://t.co/XBM8O9lvdg
— rm (@RashidWMuhammad) January 8, 2016
“They haven’t been living on the moon, I’m certain they knew it would be controversial. It was most likely a calculated strategy, which in my view makes it even more objectionable.”
Do you think the Seoul Secret advertisement was racist?
[Image via YouTube/Seoul Secret]