Culture Jam Assignment

Original Ad:

This ad by Pond’s for their “white beauty” face wash consists of a pale-skinned hand using the face wash to knock over a black chess piece and the text “dark out” and “white in” in large capital letters. The product itself is advertised in more detail on the company website as a face wash that contains a potent skin lightening agent that lightens the skin and reveals the fairness within by washing away dark, dead skin cells and fading dark spots. The core concept of this product as well as the advertisement itself sends a very clear message to consumers that having dark skin is something undesirable and needs to be corrected and rectified. 

The visuals of the advertisement play a large role in conveying the intended message. The viewer of the ad will understand the black king chess piece being knocked over as a metaphorical and symbolic way of conveying that in a battle between black and white, white is the winner and therefore is superior. The lighting and placement of the objects in the ad also reinforce the underlying message. The face wash is brightly lit up and almost has a glow to it, making the black chess piece look dull in comparison. The brightness of the face wash glorifies the product and attracts the audience’s gaze to it. Instead of placing both the chess piece and the face wash in the center of the advertisement, the image is centered on the face wash and the chess piece is pushed to the side. This gives the overall feeling that the chess piece is not as important and does not need to be under the spotlight. If all this is not clear enough already, the ad also openly states the message they want to convey to consumers. They want dark out and white in.

The problem I will be addressing with my jammed ad is forcing of white beauty standards on women of colour and the blatant racism and white supremacist views bombarding the global beauty market today.

Jammed Ad:

In my jammed ad, my philosophy was to make the racist message of the ad clear and show the audience what they views they may consciously or unconsciously be supporting through the purchase of products such like this. This was accomplished by changing the text from “dark out, white in” to “diversity out, white supremacy in”, as well as modifying the smaller text on the face wash that originally said “white beauty” to “only white is beautiful”. Although this is quite blunt and straightfoward compared to the original ad, this is indeed the message that Pond’s is indirectly pushing at the consumer.

It is shocking and absurd how such a discriminating message is accepted and allowed to be so widespread in the beauty market. If this product was instead a darkening face wash, it would be considered racist without a doubt. So why is it ok to have a whitening face wash if a darkening one would be so frowned upon? What is even more difficult to believe is that these products are not only marketed towards countries where light skin is predominant, in some cases it is even more heavily marketed towards countries where dark skin is more prevalent. A good example is in Southeast Asia, where having darker skin is commonly associated with poverty and having to work in the fields, whereas lighter skin is associated with wealth and a higher social status. These misconceptions fuel the demand for whitening products and cause people to worship white beauty standards and believe that only white equates to beauty. According to Zion Market Research, the global skin whitening market is set to reach 8.9 billion USD by 2024, with Asia dominating the market. Society is constant pushing its white supremacist ideals onto women of colour and pressuring them to feel like they need to look a certain way to be considered beautiful. However, everyone is different, and it should be wrong to hold the same beauty standard to everyone, yet this is exactly what is happening. It is by all means everyone’s freedom to look however they want, but when beauty ideals are created by a white-supremacist society, people become socially conditioned to believe that white is the most beautiful.



Research, Zion Market. “Global Skin Lightening Products Market Will Reach USD 8,895 Million By 2024: Zion Market Research.” GlobeNewswire News Room, “GlobeNewswire”, 10 Jan. 2019,