Anti Racial Discrimination Wave Forces Colgate To Review China’s Darlie Brand

Spurred by the ongoing global debate about racism that originated in the United States following the death of a black man while being forced to the ground by a white policeman, companies have also been induced to reassess and review the aspect of stereotypes in their products, branding and advertisements.

This is currently being done for the Chinese toothpaste brand Darlie by Colgate-Palmolive.

The literal translation of the brand name of this popular Chinese brand is “black person toothpaste”. The owner of the brand is Colgate and its joint venture partner Hawley & Hazel and has a large customer base across multiple Asian countries.

In light of the racism demonstrations and debate in the US, a large number of global, reputed and high profile companies are also reviewing names and logos of brands.

A slew of pressure from shareholders and other groups back in 1989 had forced the company back then to change the name of the toothpaste brand to Darlie from the original name of Darkie.

“For more than 35 years, we have been working together to evolve the brand, including substantial changes to the name, logo and packaging. We are currently working with our partner to review and further evolve all aspects of the brand, including the brand name,” a Colgate spokesman told the BBC.

Colgate had struck a deal for a 50 per cent stake Hong Kong-based Hawley & Hazel, the maker of Darlie in 1985 for a value of $50 million. According to data firm Euromonitor International, about 17 per cent of the toothpaste market in China is controlled by the brand. It also enjoys 21 per cent, 28 per cent and 25 per cent of the market shares in Singapore, Malaysia and Taiwan respectively.

The impact of the current anti racial discrimination movement across the world forced he soft drinks giant PepsiCo to announce earlier this week that it would be changing its Aunt Jemima branding. A close review of brand name and logos is also being conducted by other food brands too that have African-American characters on them. For example, a close consideration of potential changes to its Uncle Ben’s rice, which entered the market in the 1940s is being conducted by Mars, the company said.

The death of African-American George Floyd while being detained by police in the US has brought the issue of racial injustice once against under the spotlight. There have been demonstrations against the death not only in eth United States but in many other countries around the world as well. The Black Lives Matter movement has been provided by a further impetus by these demonstrations against racism. .

The issue has also caught up large corporate in the US and some other countries and the demand for reviewing of corporate polices to reduce racial discrimination and fostering diversity in the workforce is also rising.

Many companies in the United Kingdom have also come under pressure on this issue. This includes the likes of brewer Greene King, Lloyd’s of London and banks RBS and Lloyds Banking Group that have admitted of previously having links to slave trading.

(Adapted from

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