"Dear New Jersey, when people call you 'The Armpit of America,' take it as a compliment. Sincerely, Dove," read the billboards for the Englewood Cliffs, N.J.-based company.
Not everyone was amused.
"I was born and raised in NJ and will no longer be using your products. Take it as a compliment," one woman wrote on Dove's Facebook page.
"I have used Dove products for many, many, many years, but NEVER AGAIN," wrote another Facebook user. "How could you eve [sic] think that an ad like that would not offend the people of New Jersey?"
Though some Facebook users said they liked the joke, Dove caved to consumer pressure on Tuesday and to drop the billboards, writing in a response to several Facebook posts that the company would "not moving forward with publishing or displaying this ad."
The billboards were part of Dove's "Open Letter to the Armpit Campaign."
Matthew McCarthy, the senior marketing director of deodorants at Dove parent company Unilever, told The New York Times last week that he didn't think many people would find the ad offensive.
“I don’t expect that there will be a lot of people who misunderstand, but to the degree that they do, we’ll be open about what we’re really trying to say,” he said. “The message that we want to get out there is that the armpit is not a bad thing, and that we stand for caring for the armpit.”
[The New York Times, NJ.com]