Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Degree Granting Department

Mass Communications

Major Professor

Roxanne Watson, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Travis Bell, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Kelly Werder, Ph.D.


Black Buying Power, Representation, Skin lightening


Insensitivity to racial issues has long been one of the main causes of controversy in the marketing field. Among many brands to have caused outrage across social media, is the notable brand, Dove. The criticism that the veteran brand received has shown that even experienced marketers can still find themselves being accused of insensitivity or even racism (Ma, 2018). The gaffe of an advertisement released by Dove in 2017, serves as the impetus for the need for diversity in brands. Given today’s complex society, the purpose of this study is to identify themes that emerged in Black Twitter’s responses to Dove’s 2017 Facebook advertisement. Further, the study provides marketers with practical recommendations on how to avoid representational issues in future ads. This research is a thematic analysis of popular tweets, which identified emerging themes in Black Twitter’s reactions to Dove’s ad. The author has chosen to add to the existing literature by examining the problematic issues with Dove’s 2017 ad. To address the racial issues found in the ad, the following three themes have been identified as themes on Black Twitter: 1. Black buying power, 2. skin lightening and 3. representation.