NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – Dove has decided to scrap a controversial billboard after New Jersey residents complained that the idea stunk.
Dove had planned to post billboards in New Jersey starting in July telling residents to embrace being called “The Armpit of America.”
Unilever, the brand’s parent company, said the billboard featuring the well-known dig at the Garden State will not run this summer after all.
The news of the billboard sparked complaints after the New York Times published a story about it last week. The article included an image of the billboard, which featured a woman in a white tank top raising an arm behind her head to expose an armpit.
The text read, “Dear New Jersey, When people call you ‘The Armpit of America,’ take it as a compliment. Sincerely, Dove.”
The ad was to promote a new line of Dove deodorants.
“We take feedback from our community very seriously and have decided that we will not be running this billboard advertisement,” Unilever said in an emailed statement Tuesday. “We did not wish to cause any misunderstanding and apologize for any offense.”
The statement said the intention was to call attention “to the fact that armpits can and should be considered beautiful.” It said women should accept that as “something that is okay.”
The company said it will instead donate the space on the billboard to a charity. A representative for Unilever said the company would work with its foundation to identify a charity.
Unilever’s U.S. headquarters are based in Englewood Cliffs, N.J.
Last week, angry Garden Staters told CBS 2 they didn’t like the tenor of the ad.
“C’mon, give us a break,” Secaucus resident Shirley Grenz said.
“It’s insulting. That we stink? We don’t stink. We’re a great state. In fact, everyone wants to live in this state,” longtime resident Joan Gazello said.
“Pick on someone else, leave us New Jersey girls alone,” one woman said.
“Leave us alone, leave Jersey alone,” Michelle Dilluccio added.
The ad campaign was also to run in print.
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