Saturday, March 3, 2007

When Darkie becomes Darlie (for obvious reasons)

Say hello to pearly white teeth "Black Man Tooth Paste". Very commonly seen here in Taiwan, this toothpaste is somewhat of a throwback along the lines of Aunt Jemima syrup.

Bought by Colgate in 1985, "Colgate's arch-rival Procter & Gamble learned about the sale and immediately went to work to use it to their advantage. Both companies were releasing a tartar-control formula that year, and P&G was happy to have the opportunity to portray its rival as racist. It hired a public relations firm to surreptitiously slip information to activists and newspapers about Colgate's disreputable Asian brand."

In response to the outrage in the English speaking world, Colgate "announced that it was changing the name to Darlie and making the man on the package an abstraction of indeterminent race."

Ironically, what went unnoticed was that the Chinese name remained the same, "" '黑人牙膏' (in English, "Black Man Toothpaste"), has not changed; a Chinese-language advertising campaign reassured customers that "Black Man Toothpaste is still Black Man Toothpaste"."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darlie


Not to be outdone another local brand has popped up with the label 'Whiteman Toothpaste' (I kid you not!). Perhaps some of you might be inspired to come up with a brand of toothpaste of your own: Mountain People Toothpaste? Sunburned Man Toothpaste? Intoxicated Man Toothpaste? Lily-White Girl Toothpaste? .... Come on! Chip in!
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