Company pulls haircare ad after receiving complaints from the public. 

Advertising in Japan can be a bit of a mixed bag. On one end of the scale you have awesome, innovative, inspiring commercials and at the other end you have campaigns that miss the mark completely, receiving criticism for whitewashing and sexualisation of minors.

The latest ad to court controversy in Japan is one from a company called Armada, which specialises in hair and skincare products for professional salons. The ad, which was spotted in a shop window, was being used to promote the company’s Armada Style brand of haircare products, pictured at the bottom of the image.

A gorgeous black model with a gorgeous head of hair is being used to promote the products, which would be fine if the products were more in line with her hairstyle. However, these products are designed to create smooth hair, and the message written in bold on the poster says “I want my hair to become shiny and smooth”.

▼ On top of the hair-smoothening products are the words “It can happen”.

The Twitter user above, who brought the ad to everyone’s attention, shared the image with the message “This poster ad, I think it’s bad.” Other people online chimed in in agreement, with one person saying:

“This would be like a Western company using an Asian model in an ad that says “I want cosmetic surgery to get small, slanted eyes with single-fold eyelids.’ It’s terrible that Japanese companies think there are only Japanese people in Japan, even though diversity is growing by the day.”

Some people wondered if the model gave consent for her image to be used in an ad like this, but seeing as the photo used for the poster was purchased from Getty images, it’s likely the model would’ve signed a release form, leaving her without a say in how the photo could be used.

Other Twitter users were quick to give everyone an education on the issue of discrimination, sharing photos like this one online.

It wasn’t long before people complained directly to the company behind the ad, and to their credit, they took the poster down and released a formal apology in response to the incident (translation follows).

“Thank you very much for your valuable feedback on our poster advertising.
There was no discriminatory intent, but we are sorry that our wrong and inappropriate language made people feel uncomfortable.
Please accept our heartfelt apology.
The advertising materials will be collected immediately.”

With so many people standing up to protest against the poster and its message, here’s hoping we see less ignorance like this in future marketing campaigns.

And maybe schools can stop forcing their students to dye their naturally brown hair black too.

Source: Jin
Top image: Twitter/@realqsan
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