Dove, which specializes in skin-care products, may not have realized New Jersey had such thin skin when it came to its reputation as the stinkiest state in the union.
Dove is killing an advertising campaign for antiperspirant deodorant that refers to New Jersey as "the Armpit of America."
The ad aimed at New Jersey audiences intended to undermine the insult that is often lobbed in the state's direction. It features a pretty blond woman in a white tank top showing off her armpit, with the message: "Dear New Jersey, when people call you 'the Armpit of America,' take it as a compliment. Sincerely, Dove."
But many New Jersey residents took offense. Add in media coverage, and Dove was soon apologizing.
Matthew McCarthy, senior marketing director of antiperspirants and deodorants at Unilever, the New Jersey-based parent company of Dove, also said in a statement that the company had since "decided that we will not be running this billboard advertisement."
The statement added: "We did not wish to cause any misunderstanding and apologize for any offense. Our intent with the 'Dear New Jersey' billboard, which was one of many ads for our campaign, was to call attention to the fact that armpits can and should be considered beautiful and ask women everywhere to accept this as something that is OK."
It needs to be pointed out that Dove's response is not just PR speak. Dove is the brand behind a years-long series of groundbreaking advertising campaigns encouraging women of all sizes, shapes and ethnicities to see the beauty within, instead of comparing themselves to overly air-brushed models. (Yes, we know the advertising campaign is also about selling skin-care products. But still. Try to watch this without tearing up. Oprah counts herself among the campaign's legion of fans.)
The company said it would donate the billboard space to a charitable organization.
I'm from New Jersey and I thought the ad was funny. What did you think? Tweet me @renelynch