Checkers remove TRESemmé products from shelves following ad uproar

Retail giant Checkers is removing all TRESemmé products from its shelves in response to the racist advertising campaign published by fellow retailer Clicks, as outcry continues over the ad's suggestion that black hair is "damaged and frizzy" while white hair is "fine and normal". 

Clicks, TRESemmé and Unilever – who were responsible for the disbursement of the controversial campaign – have all apologised for the offensive ad, but this has not quelled fury from the South African public, and most notably the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF). 

TRESemmé products removed from Checkers shelves

Clicks announced on Tuesday 8 September that they would remove TRESemmé products from their shelves and begin engaging with local haircare manufacturers who they hope will fill the gap, and now Checkers have followed suit. 

According to eNCA, Checkers distributed an internal memo that informed management that all TRESemmé products would be delisted from their inventories. 

The statement is understood to state that the retailer does not wish to make public this decision, but that they feel it is in the best interests of the company to follow the lead of Clicks and disassociate from the now infamous brand. 

Minister for Small Business Development Khumbudzo Ntshavheni also called for TRESemmé to be removed from the shelves of South African retailers, saying that issuing an apology is not enough to undo the damage they have caused.

"Clicks must remove the TRESemmé product from its shelves as an expression of their disassociation with suppliers who promote racist and insensitive marketing," she said.

Apology not enough to prevent boycott 

TRESemmé issued an apology on 4 September for the campaign, saying that they "got it wrong".

"We are very sorry that images used in a TRESemmé South Africa marketing campaign on the Clicks website promote racist stereotypes about hair," a statement read. 

"The campaign set out to celebrate the beauty of all hair types and the range of solutions that TRESemmé offers, but we got it wrong."

They said that they would work to ensure that the same mistakes never happen again, and also apologised to Clicks for the trouble their campaign had caused. 

"The images are not in line with the values of our brand, or of Clicks. TRESemmé South Africa apologises for the offence these images have caused. We also apologise to the Clicks group."

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