Company Insists Ad Is Not A Put-Down, But Residents Aren't Buying It

SECAUCUS, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A new billboard that will be popping up in the Garden State already has some people doing a double take.

At first glance it’s seemingly harmless advertisement for Dove, with a woman showing her underarm. But then you notice snarky punch line:

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“Dear New Jersey, when people call you the ‘Armpit of America,’ take it as a compliment, sincerely, Dove.”

Joan Gazello has put up with New Jersey put-downs for 81 years, and she says she’s not seeing the humor in this.

“It’s insulting. That we stink? We don’t stink. We’re a great state. In fact, everyone wants to live in this state,” Gazello told CBS 2’s Dick Brennan.

The Dove armpit ads actually started a few months ago on television, but the snotty New Jersey comment is reserved for a billboard that will soon hit the state. Dove insists it’s not a put-down.

“Pick on someone else, leave us New Jersey girls alone,” one woman said.

“Leave us alone, leave Jersey alone,” Michelle Dilluccio added.

The ad-maker actually said they are trying to rehabilitate the image of the word “armpit” and use it instead of the more upscale “underarm.”

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But how does it work as a compliment for New Jersey?

“I think people in New Jersey have a lot of personality, and I think they keep coming back to us. I think they are jealous they don’t live here,” said Marie Patrisso of North Bergen.

A lot of people in Jersey are in kind of post-Super Bowl glow, so having an ad like this, at a time like this, makes them even more angry.

“We even had the Super Bowl and we didn’t get credit for it really,” Mel Colon said.

The billboard will debut in July, but the reviews are already in.

“C’mon, give us a break,” Secaucus resident Shirley Grenz said.

The ad from Dove will also be appearing in print, Brennan reported.

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