Cogate's Distasteful Toothpaste

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Colgate=s Distasteful Toothpaste

Colgate is a very well known company in the United States remembered for its toothpaste. It not only specializes in personal care but in household care as well. The New York based company also included Ajax, Fab, and Hill pet foods. Even though Colgate is one of the largest toothpaste brands in United States, they still have to be careful about the decisions they make overseas. Colgate is well known in other countries such as Australia, Latin America, Canada, France, and Germany, but the its partnership with Hawley and Hazel in Asia was almost its downfall. The partnership was doing very well at first as they had double-digit millions in annual sales, but that was only the beginning. Hawley and Hazel=s key product was ADarkie@ toothpaste. The maker of this product came up with this name by traveling to the United States and falling in love with a very well known black-faced entertainer (a white person with black makeup on his face), named Al Jolson. The founder decided to take this back to Asia, recreating the character=s big smile and white teeth. He decided to copyright the name ADarkie to go along with his logo. At first the toothpaste featuring a black man with a big white smile was a perfect advertising scheme and it was sold in Asia for over 60 years.

Shortly after the signing of the partnership with Colgate and Hawley Hazel the name ADarkie@ finally reached the United States and immediately criticized. The name ADarkie@ was considered to be a very racist and distasteful brand name. When the name was brought to the attention of the ICCR, the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, in a package they received from Thailand, they started a fight against Colgate. The ICCR wrote a letter to Colgate asking them to change the name and logo of this distasteful product. Colgate=s director of corporate development, R. G. S. Anderson , replied that there will be no change in the product because it was not sold in the...
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