Thai skin-whitening ad sparks outrage on social media

Fri Jan 8, 2016 11:35am EST
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By Amy Sawitta Lefevre and Jutarat Skulpichetrat

BANGKOK (Reuters) - An advertisement for a skin-whitening product in Thailand has drawn criticism on social media and sparked debate over beauty ideals and advertising standards by claiming you "need to be white to win".

A pale complexion is highly valued in Thailand, particularly by women, and is associated with a high social status. Darker, tanned skin is associated with lower class people who work outside in the fields.

The advertisement, for a skin-whitening pill called "Snowz", made by Thai brand Seoul Secret, and posted on video website YouTube, features one actress whose skin gets darker next to a rival with light skin.

"You just need to be white to win," runs the tagline.

Some members of Thai-language forum were dismayed and angry.

"I'm perfectly fine being dark-skinned and now you're saying I've lost? Hello? What?" said member 1575141.

"Suggesting people with dark skin are losers is definitely racist," said another user.

It is the latest in a series of advertisements deemed insensitive that have drawn criticism in Thailand.   Continued...