A skin whitening brand received universal backlash from the public after telling women in the Philippines with dark skin to fight discrimination by using their products.
Glutamax, which sells a variety of products that whiten the skin, released its ill-conceived promotional campaign on Saturday that many have found to be very offensive.
Glutamax’ “Your Fair Advantage” campaign ad is a more insulting play on the common marketing message of similar products in the Philippines which suggest that women with whiter skin are considered to be more attractive.
First, the ad highlighted the supposed unfair treatment a person with darker skin receives with the phrase “Just because she has whiter skin, she was given a bus seat.”
Next, it cited an obscure survey that claimed: “3 out 5 Filipinos believe that people with fairer skin receive better treatment than others.”
The ad then urges its audience to not get angry with such unfair treatment, and instead use GlutaMax.
Its blatant promotion of colorism irked many netizens, generating thousands of angry comments on multiple social media platforms.
Many called out Glutamax for actively perpetuating a culture of discrimination, inequality, and shaming on the basis of skin color.
Following the backlash, some of the ads have since been removed from the brand’s social media accounts and have been replaced with a couple of official statements.
The first statement, which doubles down on the notion that using whitening products to subject oneself to colonial beauty standards is somehow empowering for women, only shows how the brand has completely missed the point of their critics.
When the statement received criticisms of its own, the brand then posted another statement with an apology included.
“ASC stands for responsible communications and abides by a strict code of ethics,” the statement read.
“In connection with the recent GLUTAMAX skin care digital and outdoor ads, the materials posted and displayed were not approved by ASC.
“GlutaMAX’s advertisment violated ASC’s code of ethics, specifically Article IV Section 1 Item A:
Article IV Section 1 Item A. of the ASC Code of Ethics on DISPARAGEMENT states that: “Advertisements shall not directly or indirectly disparage, ridicule, criticize, or attack any natural or juridical person, groups of persons, or any sector of society, especially on the basis of gender, social or economic class, religion, ethnicity, race, or nationality.
“The posting of a disapproved material is in violation of the ASC Manual of Procedures. The matter will be dealt with in accordance with the rules and regulations as stated in said Manual,” it added.