The latest advert for Dove soap makes the rather bold claim that actress Keira Knightley used to be Mr. T. before using the company’s product.
The advert shows Mr. T’s character B.A. Baracus, shooting at bad guys (and missing them of course), refusing to board a plane and pumping weights at the gym before taking a shower to reveal Keira Knightley dressed in a bath robe enjoying a pedicure – supposedly after using Dove body lotion.
Dove’s Head of Insensitive Ad Campaigns Mr. Ray Cism said, “What we’re trying to let our customers know is that Dove is bloody good soap. I mean there’s clean and then there’s Dove clean. We had Mr. T. use our soap over a whole series of filming for The A-Team and by the time the series ended it was more like being on the set of Pride and Prejudice – no pun intended. There wasn’t a single person of colour at the wrap party apart from the staff waiting tables. If that isn’t the definition of real beauty then I really don’t know what is.”
The brand has been accused of racism over the online advertising campaign and it later conceded that it is scientifically impossible to turn a well-muscled black, male TV star from the 1980s into Keira Knightley because Ms. Knightley wasn’t born when The A-Team was first broadcast.
This isn’t the first time the company has been accused of racism. In 2011 Dove’s before and after advert charted the transition of a black woman into a white woman after using its body wash and despite trying a different version of the ad which ran in reverse, it was ultimately felt that the reverse transformation would be completely unconvincing to consumers.
“Of course Keira Knightley has never at any point in her life been Mr. T. but we’re trying to suggest that if you use our product, you’re more likely to end up looking like Keira Knightley than Mr. T. I mean, come on – who would you rather have your daughter bring around for dinner?” Mr. Cism added.