Clearasil is coming under fire for a new commercial that portrays a flamboyant teen as a blemish that must be erased before the prom.
The 30-second ad, “Pimples Makes Terrible Prom Dates,” shows two teenage girls in a high school bathroom discussing the upcoming dance. When one notices she has a zit forming on her forehead, she declares “if this turns into a pimple, I will literally die.”
The camera then zooms into her pores, where we see an annoying teen in head-to-toe pink asking, “Who wouldn’t want to go to prom with this?” before being eradicated by Clearasil’s Daily Clean Wash.
Cut to the young girl at the dance with a handsome date.
Some are criticizing the spot, which is airing on TV and Clearasil’s YouTube channel: On social media, viewers say the annoying suitor is meant to be gay, and accuse Clearasil of using homophobic stereotypes to sell product.
“Imagine the marketing department brainstorming this Clearasil commercial,” tweeted Savage Garden singer Darren Hayes. “Let’s make the pimple an extremely, gay guy in a pink suit, and then we’ll kill it so the girls can go to the prom!'”
Imagine the marketing department brainstorming this @Clearasil commercial. 'Let's make the pimple an extremely gay guy in a pink suit and then we'll kill it so the girls can go to the prom!' hahaha. https://t.co/HBMQg3YrzJ
— Darren Hayes (@darrenhayes) April 10, 2018
One Youtube commenter called the commercial “such a terrible anti-gay message using a typical stereotype.”
Others say Clearasil should’ve gone with a different approach.
Dont know how i feel about that ad. I think clearasil couldve gone about that a much better way
— Dave Barker (@dbarker0) April 10, 2018
Interesting how the annoying, irritating pimple in the new @clearasil commercial is portrayed as an effeminate gay man who no one wants to take to the prom. Is it funny or homophobic? Food for thought. #LGBTQ https://t.co/d2K6wiwX9V
— Darren Stewart-Jones (@D_S_J_) April 13, 2018
#SpottySkinTip: Don't use offensive gay stereotypes to sell beauty products to girls, @clearasil, because #LETSBECLEAR – their GBF's will have them switching to @Neutrogena or @Clinique and the next thing you'll be selling is your @ss on the street. https://t.co/ai0cS4yBfh pic.twitter.com/e6HInODguh
— Michael Williams (@MyLifeInPlastic) April 13, 2018
On Facebook, one user asked “if people would object if they cast an African American man dressed in a black suit to play the role of a blackhead,” before urging his followers to call Clearasil. He also indicated he sent the clip to GLAAD.