Colgate reviewing Chinese toothpaste brand Darlie amid debate on racial inequality

Published 06/18/2020, 09:18 AM
Updated 06/18/2020, 11:45 AM
© Reuters. The corporate logo of Colgate Palmolive is seen on a tank at the facilities of the company in Valencia

By Martinne Geller

LONDON (Reuters) - Colgate-Palmolive (N:CL) on Thursday said it was working to review and evolve its Chinese toothpaste brand, Darlie, the latest in a string of brand reassessments amid a U.S. debate on racial inequality.

Darlie is a popular Chinese brand owned by Colgate and its joint venture partner, Hawley & Hazel. Its package features a smiling man in a top hat. It used to be called Darkie and featured a man in blackface.

Its current Chinese name still translates to "black person toothpaste."

The move comes as Corporate America reacts to weeks of protests over racial injustice and police brutality sparked by the death in May of George Floyd, a black man, in Minneapolis after a white police officer knelt on his neck.

"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 Reuters in an email.

Colgate's statement to Reuters followed news on Wednesday that PepsiCo Inc (O:PEP) was dropping its Aunt Jemima logo, prompting peers to initiate reviews of other food brands featuring African American characters, including Uncle Ben's rice, Mrs. Butterworth's syrup and Cream of Wheat.

Darlie controls 17% of the toothpaste market in China, 21% in Singapore, 28% in Malaysia and 45% in Taiwan, according to Euromonitor International.

© Reuters. The corporate logo of Colgate Palmolive is seen on a tank at the facilities of the company in Valencia

Colgate paid $50 million in 1985 for 50 percent of Hong Kong-based Hawley & Hazel, the maker of Darkie. It announced changes to the logo and English name in 1989 following pressure from shareholders and other groups.

Latest comments

Risk Disclosure: Trading in financial instruments and/or cryptocurrencies involves high risks including the risk of losing some, or all, of your investment amount, and may not be suitable for all investors. Prices of cryptocurrencies are extremely volatile and may be affected by external factors such as financial, regulatory or political events. Trading on margin increases the financial risks.
Before deciding to trade in financial instrument or cryptocurrencies you should be fully informed of the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, carefully consider your investment objectives, level of experience, and risk appetite, and seek professional advice where needed.
Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. The data and prices on the website are not necessarily provided by any market or exchange, but may be provided by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual price at any given market, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Fusion Media and any provider of the data contained in this website will not accept liability for any loss or damage as a result of your trading, or your reliance on the information contained within this website.
It is prohibited to use, store, reproduce, display, modify, transmit or distribute the data contained in this website without the explicit prior written permission of Fusion Media and/or the data provider. All intellectual property rights are reserved by the providers and/or the exchange providing the data contained in this website.
Fusion Media may be compensated by the advertisers that appear on the website, based on your interaction with the advertisements or advertisers.
© 2007-2024 - Fusion Media Limited. All Rights Reserved.