Colgate to 'evolve' Darlie toothpaste brand

The company will reportedly "review and evolve" the brand, which was known as Darkie until 1989. Darlie remains popular, especially in mainland China, where its name translates as 'black person toothpaste'.

Colgate-Palmolive told Reuters Thursday that it plans to "review and evolve" its popular toothpaste brand Darlie, which was originally known as Darkie until it changed one letter and the shading of the man featured in its logo in 1989. The brand is popular across Asia and especially in China, where its name translates to 'Black person toothpaste'.

Colgate follows a number of other companies who have hastened to move away from branding based on racial stereotypes in recent weeks. Land O' Lakes butter removed a native American woman from its logo in April.

And this week, as Black Lives Matter protests continue to impact politics and culture, the trend has accelerated. Pepsico said it would drop Aunt Jemima from the Quaker Oats pancake syrup brand, while Mars announced that its Uncle Ben's rice would evolve its visual identity, which features an African-American man in waiter's clothing.

Colgate-Palmolive produces Darlie through a joint venture established in 1985 with Hawley & Hazel.

"For more than 35 years, we have been working together to evolve the brand, including substantial changes to the name, logo and packaging," a spokeperson said, according to the Reuters report. "We are currently working with our partner to review and further evolve all aspects of the brand, including the brand name."

Euromonitor International says Darlie enjoys 17% of the toothpaste market in China, 21% in Singapore, 28% in Malaysia and 45% in Taiwan. In Campaign Asia-Pacific's Asia's Top 1000 Brands report, the brand has fallen from as high as 15th in 2006 to 233 in 2019.

A version of this story first appeared on Campaign Asia-Pacific


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