Ad Claims 'You Just Need to Be White to Win'
Company says it was to promote self-improvement, not racism
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 8, 2016 8:36 AM CST

(Newser) – A beauty company in Thailand has apologized over an ad that informed viewers: "You just need to be white to win." The ad for Seoul Secret's skin-whitening pills, called Snowz, features actress Cris Horwang. In a voiceover, the 35-year-old star explains how she uses the product to maintain her "whiteness" and keep from becoming a "dusky star" as younger actresses try to "steal the scene," per the Bangkok Post. A smiling, younger woman then enters the frame. Without Snowz, "the whiteness I have invested in will just vanish," Horwang says as her skin turns black. Now in blackface, Horwang looks with envy toward the paler model. Snowz "will help you not to return to being dark," she says, per CNN. "Eternally white, I am confident."

A sociology professor says light skin has been seen as a sign of privilege in the country for "centuries," but "I couldn't believe this kind of ad is still coming out in Thailand." Outrage was also found across social media. It's "a very outdated value," writes Miss Thailand World 2014, Mae Nonthawan, on Facebook. "Black skin can win." The South China Morning Post reports the ad was viewed more than 100,000 times on YouTube before it was removed Friday. "Seoul Secret would like to apologize for the mistake, and claim full responsibility for this incident," it said. "Our company did not have any intention to convey discriminatory or racist messages."