Clicks And Unilever Taken To Court Over Controversial Advert

The Clicks and Unilever brands have been reportedly taken to court over an alleged controversial advert which caused public outcry in 2019. The Clicks advertisement had made a comparison which appeared to be discriminant of natural hair.


The Lawyer representing the 18 women who are taking the clicks and Unilever brand to court, Thato Thobakgale said, his clients acknowledged the apology which the Clicks group had made when the advert first came out. But, they feel more needs to be done as the advert appeared to be racist. 

The Clicks advertisement compared two photos of black women’s hair with two photos of white women’s hair, labelling the black women’s hair as dry and damaged and frizzy and dull, while the white women’s hair labelled was fine and flat and normal, Thobakgale said. 

The advertisement was not only about hair, but it is an attack and it make us feel that we are not valued which affect our self-esteem. 

Thobakgale said his clients felt that there was unfair discrimination, and the advertisement was racist. 

According to Equality Act, the unfair discriminatory practices are clarified as an offence and there has to be penalties, said Thobakgale.

The Clicks advert has breached Section 7 and Section 12 of the Equality Act, where Section 7 deals with propagation of discrimination on the grounds of race, and Section 12 provides that no person may advertise or publish any content which might have an effect in the unfair discrimination of another by race, said Thobakgale.  

Thobakgale indicated that hair has a personal impact on how an individual feels, and black hair is the pride of black women. 

The advertisement was psychologically hurtful and made black women feel judged for wearing their natural hair, the Lawyer said. 

Thobakgale said his clients wants the court to condemn the advert as demeaning to black females and also declare that it is in contravention of Section 7 & 12 of the Equality Act. 

Clicks and Unilever should be made to pay 10% of their annual net profit for the next ten years to women organisations and the development of black women, Thobakgale said.

This will send a strong message to advertising agencies to use their marketing material in a responsible manner, added Thobakgale.  

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